DescriptionDesert Bus is a bus simulation game where the player drives a desert bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph. The game takes eight hours of continuous gameplay to reach the destination, so it is largely an exercise in persistence. Controls consist only of acceleration, steering and a horn. The bus always veers slightly to the right, so constant readjustment of the steering is required. When the destination is reached, the player receives one point and can opt to drive back. This cycle can repeated up to 99 points. It has a day and night cycle and there are small events, such as a bug splat on the window after a certain amount of time and the ability to close and open doors at a bus stop. When veering off the road, the bus will break down and is towed back to Tuckson, also in real time.
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OriginDesert Bus was originally a mini-game of the unreleased title Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors for the SEGA CD, PC and 3DO by Imagineering. Imagineering, a division of the game's publisher Absolute Entertainment, went out of business before completion and that way it was never released. The game starred the comedy-magician duo Penn & Teller. It was one of the six mini-games include in the game. Penn Jillette later explained in his radio show that the game, dubbed a Verisimulator, was created in response to Janet Reno's comments in support of the moral panic about violent video games at the time.
The game resurfaced in September 2005 when Frank Cifaldi, a freelance American journalist and founder of the Lost Levels website, dedicated to the preservation of rare and obscure video games, received the game in the mail from one of the people who was able to review the game prior to the release. The game was posted online and this led to the rediscovery of Desert Bus.
PopularizationThe game was popularized through the Canadian sketch group LoadingReadyRun who launched the charity event Desert Bus for Hope in November 2007 when they took turns playing the game continuously with four players, with more hours added as more donations were made. The game was eventually remade from scratch for a variety of platforms.
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