Most video games entice players with exciting stories, mind-bending puzzles, or intense combat. Not so with Desert Bus, possibly the most boring game of all time, where all you do is drive a bus with twitchy steering at a plodding 45 miles per hour across the desert in real time. No explosions. No aliens or monsters. And no pauses for bathroom breaks. Now you can experience all that glory in virtual reality.
Desert Bus began as a minigame in Penn & Teller’s Smoke & Mirrors, a video game collection for Sega CD that wound up never being released, and grew into something of a subcultural touchstone. In fact, there’s now a charity event where stalwart players sit through the entire thing and people donate while watching their suffering.
If this sounds like your idea of fun, there is now a listing for a VR edition on video game platform Steam for PC. It can be played on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. It also has partial support for motion controllers and gamepads, or you can play the plain ol’ digital game if you don’t own any VR tech. This version adds multiplayer into the mix, and players can also honk the bus’ horn or tune into the radio for programming featuring Penn Jillette himself. Dinosaur Games developed Desert Bus VR, and the game is being published by Gearbox Software. It’s out now and it’s free, so you can see for yourself what all the fuss (or lack thereof) is about.
Disclaimer: Randy Pitchford is CEO and President of Gearbox Software and owner of GeniiOnline.
Desert Bus for Hope 2017 is currently three full days into its marathon of the world’s most boring video game ever made, and based on the current influx of donations, it shows no signs of stopping.
For those who don’t know, Desert Bus is a game featured within a cancelled Sega CD compilation known as Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, which contains a handful of fake, broken, or otherwise frustrating games that you could use to mess with your friends. One of those games is called ‘Desert Bus’, which simulates an eight-hour road trip from Tuscson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV—in real time. The bus cannot go above 45 miles per hour, and you have to pay attention to your steering because the bus constantly veers to the right and will crash if you’re not careful. Complete the journey and the game awards you one point and sends you right back in the other direction.
The Sega CD compilation would end up canceled, but a prototype of a handful of the included games, including Desert Bus, made its way out onto the internet. It was picked up by Vancouver, BC comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun in 2007, who then decided to stream themselves playing the game non-stop for charity. The group has been streaming the game every year since, raising over $3.8 million for charity to date.
Donations made to Desert Bus for Hope contribute to a threshold that, when cleared, adds another hour to the required playtime for the marathon. The team has been playing for three full days, and currently has 143 hours left to go, which should put their finish date at Friday, November 24—if they don’t get any more donations, that is.
Money contributed during the marathon will go to Child’s Play, a charity that purchases and donates video games, consoles, and toys to children’s hospitals and domestic violence shelters all over the world. For more information, including donation info, auction prizes, as well as a link to the video feed, check out the official site.