Back in 1995, Penn & Teller devised an idea for a video game they were going to call Smoke and Mirrors. This would be a collection of virtual tricks and scam minigames, designed as payback for those gamers who would “who come over to your house, eat your food, drink your soda, play your games and always beat you.”
Due to publisher Absolute Entertainment going out of business before the game could be released, Smoke and Mirrors has instead earned itself a place in gaming folklore. Many of the games are effectively lost to the ages, but one game has made it into our hearts – and now into the App Store. That game is Desert Bus.It is, perhaps, the most notorious video game ever made – a real-time simulation of the drive from Tucson to Las Vegas. That’s real-time as in it takes 8 hours to complete one leg, not an adaptation where it just takes “a long time”. As you’re driving, you may see the occasional rock, sign-post or bug splatter – and once you get to the end, you can turn around and do it all over again.
Now all the fun of the drive can fit right in your pocket, with Desert Bus being released on the App Store and Android Marketplace for less than $1, and all proceeds go to charity. Specifically: Child’s Play, which provides video games to hospitals to make things a little better for sick kids.
In case the name and that stunning artwork is ringing a bell for you, there’s one place you’ve probably heard of Desert Bus before. Each year for the past five, LoadingReadyRun has organised the Desert Bus for Hope event, where members of the comedy troupe subject themselves to the game for as long as humanly possible, selling themselves to the highest bidder and sending all the money to charity.
Right now, they’ve raised nearly $160,000 and will be driving for a total of 137 hours. The event kicked off on November 18th. Why not grab the app and challenge them yourself!