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Desert bus is being remade for VR by Penn Jillette and Randy Pitchford

by Eric Frederiksen | January 15, 2016January 15, 2016 6:30 pm PDT


Desert Bus is a weird game with a weird history. It was originally part of a Sega CD game called Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, which never ended up coming out. The Desert Bus minigame snuck out, though, and immediately took on a legendary status. Now, its original creator is remaking it for a new audience.

Desert Bus is best known for the charity attached to it – Desert Bus for Hope.  The charity marathons the game based on donations from viewers, bringing in guest speakers and the like to keep things entertaining.

In case you’re not familiar with Desert Bus, here’s how it works: You’re a bus driver, tasked with driving a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada, in real time, with no pause option. Your maximum speed is 45 MPH. There are no passengers, and there isn’t any traffic or scenery. Oh, and the alignment’s a bit off, so the bus  pulls to the right. And you thought Dark Souls was brutal.

That brings us to the present: Penn Jillette is working with Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford to remake the game for virtual reality:

“I’m working on a game. I’m working with Randy Pitchford, and we’re going to do – and this is a big, big deal – we’re going to do a new Desert Bus and it’s going to be just for charities, so charities can use it to raise money,” Jillette said on his podcast this week. Jillette said the game will be part of a VR bundle, and that it’ll probably be on both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

There’s no word yet on the potential medical effects of driving from virtual Tucson to virtual Las Vegas for 8 hours straight.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...