Have you heard the tale of the Desert Bus?
Once upon a time, Penn and Teller (yes, as in the magicians) decided to make a video game.
“We’ll call it Smoke and Mirrors!” they said. “Its shining feature will be the Desert Bus. In this game, you’ll drive from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada… in real time. If you crash the bus (which randomly attempts to veer off the road.) the game is over. Oh, and you can’t pause.”
The game, originally slated for release on the Sega CD sometime in 1995, never shipped. Why? Some nonsense about kids not wanting to drive through the desert for eight hours, or whatever.
As whacky things from the 90s are wont to do, however, the game re-emerged a few years ago and quickly found its cult fandom.
Each year, a group of gamers plays the game for days on end to raise money for Child’s Play, live streaming the entire thing. The first year, they raised around $23,000; last year, they raised over $520,000.
This year’s stream has just begun. An hour in, they’ve already raised nearly $15,000.
Timed and released in support of the fundraising campaign, the guys at mobile game development house ShinyShoe have released Desert Bus VR. As the name might suggest, it’s Desert Bus… in VR.
It’s 3d! You can open the door! When you crash the bus, you can look behind you to watch the tow truck pull you away! Best of all, it’s just as totally pointless as the original!
It’s said to be a bit buggy, and it’s only available for Windows — but if you’re down for some absurdity, you can find it here.
Meanwhile, you can find more information on the Desert Bus For Hope campaign to raise money for Child’s Play right here. It’s for a good cause — and sometimes they do this: