Sunday, July 14, 2013

I don't want to cause no fuss ....

....but can I drive your magic desert bus?

People, meet "Desert Bus", designed by Penn & Teller and widely considered the worst video game ever made.

How so, you ask?

The drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, takes approximately eight hours when travelling in a vehicle whose top speed is forty-five miles per hour. In Desert Bus, an unreleased video game from 1995 conceived by the American illusionists and entertainers Penn Jillette and Teller, players must complete that journey in real time. Finishing a single leg of the trip requires considerable stamina and concentration in the face of arch boredom: the vehicle constantly lists to the right, so players cannot take their hands off the virtual wheel; swerving from the road will cause the bus’s engine to stall, forcing the player to be towed back to the beginning. The game cannot be paused. The bus carries no virtual passengers to add human interest, and there is no traffic to negotiate. The only scenery is the odd sand-pocked rock or road sign. Players earn a single point for each eight-hour trip completed between the two cities, making a Desert Bus high score perhaps the most costly in gaming.

 The game was never released (somehow the company that owned it went bankrupt), but it is available today, and is used as the basis of a "desert bus for hope" charity that has raised over $400,000  by taking pledges from people for playing the game a certain length of time. 

If you want to play this game, you can.

I personally live a version of this game multiple times each year. The drive from Norman OK to Santa Fe NM is 8 hours (at around 80 mph) on a flat boring road. My 2003 Honda Element doesn't pull to the right, but the only way I can fend off the frequent spousal demands for bathroom breaks is to let her play the same cuts off a Jim Gaffigan CD. Over......and over.......and over............


Thomas W said...

Evaluating how far off the road the player tends, this should work as an alternative to the current standard computerized ADD test. It's basically a boredom test, will your mind wander while doing something mindless.

Anonymous said...

Worst video game ever made?

You're not even in the same galaxy as correct, my brother.

Lemme help you out and show you the Truth (Mildly NSFW).