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‘Tall Bike Joust’ – A Strange Game Based on a Strange Sport

779590According to my city dwelling friends, my suburban lifestyle filled with SUV’s and chain restaurants often leaves me woefully unaware of things that take place outside of Costco– I admit, this is one of those situations. Tall Bike Joust [App Store], a game which apparently has been in development for five years, was released this evening and brings the sport of tall bike jousting to the iPhone and iPod touch.

When I first saw this game I thought it was yet another ragdoll punishment game with a crazy premise, but after some research (and some help from forum moderator and bike expert VeganTnT) I’ve come to realize it is anything but. Modern tall bikes are usually home made and built from spare parts by taking two (or more) bike frames and welding them together. After some other modifications to move the seat, handlebars, and drive train around you’ve got yourself a tall bike.


Bikers couldn’t just stop there though. Somewhere along the way the Black Label Bike Club came up with the idea of instead of just simply riding these tall bikes, why not arm two cyclists with lances and send them barreling towards each other in attempt to score points by knocking the other rider off? And with that, tall bike jousting was born.

The sport translates as well as I imagine it possibly could to the iPhone– With each joust you and your opponent start at opposite ends of the arena, you peddle as fast as you can by dragging your right and left side of the thumbs down the sides of the screen in an alternating motion. Tilting the phone aims your lance, and as you get within striking distance tapping the screen causes your rider to strike.

After winning matches you earn attribute points to make your cyclist more powerful, and you’re even awarded different items you can equip for stat boosts as well as different components that you can combine in to upgrades for your bike. Jousts take place in six different post-apolcalyptic locations, each with different environmental hazards to deal with.

For such a strange game based on such an odd sport, an awful lot of effort went in to the development process. Ryan Doyle, who holds the title of “official tall bike jousting champion of the world" did some of the illustration for the game as well as all the motion capture for the movements of the cyclists. They even use real music, featuring tracks from Matt and Kim, Japanther, and Altaer, and there’s even a behind the scenes video.

Tall Bike Joust is a game that will likely have massive appeal amongst avid cyclists and people who are interested in custom bike fabrication. If you fall outside of those groups, the game might not do much for you aside from make you aware of the existence of tall bike jousting– Knowledge that could lead to spending entirely too much time watching people knock each other off tall bikes on YouTube if you’re anything like me.

App Store Link: Tall Bike Joust, $2.99