Desert Bus is on the trail again… and Penn Jillette comments

image This is something that I never thought I’d actually hear about again. 

Way back in the day, (1995ish) Penn & Teller had a video game made called “Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors”.  It was never actually released because the game developer went out of business before it hit the streets.  The game has become something of legend.  It was a a collection of just mini games that were intentionally designed specifically to fool your friends.  One game – the game that put Smoke and Mirror’s on the map, was called Desert Bus.  How they came up with this idea, I’ll never know.

To quote Wikipedia:

The objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph, a feat that would take the player 8 hours of continuous play to complete, as the game cannot be paused.

image The bus contains no passengers, and there is no scenery or other cars on the road. The bus veers to the right slightly; as a result, it is impossible to tape down a button to go do something else and have the game end properly. If the bus veers off the road it will stall and be towed back to Tucson, also in real time. If the player makes it to Las Vegas, they will score exactly one point. The player then gets the option to make the return trip to Tucson—for another point (a decision they must make in a few seconds or the game ends). Players may continue to make trips and score points as long as their endurance holds out. Some players who have completed the trip have also noted that, although the scenery never changes, a bug splats on the windscreen about five hours through the first trip, and on the return trip the light does fade, with differences at dusk, and later a pitch black road where the player is guided only with headlights.

What made this game LEGENDARY is that it takes 4 days and 12 hours to actually complete the journey in REAL TIME and some group of yahoos from LoadingReadyRun actually completed the journey for real and did it for charity.  They called it “Desert Bus for Hope” and they even got donations for Penn & Teller themselves.

imageWell, guess what?  It’s ON AGAIN:  Desert Bus 2:  Bus Harder

It’s going on RIGHT NOW and I’m absolutely beside myself.  I can’t believe that they’re doing it again… and I’ve made my donation.  This is really really insane but I have to absolutely give serious props to these guys.  It’s a great cause and shows serious dedication. 

What’s more – they’ve been driving for 5 days now and they’ve raised almost $70,000 dollars.  Can you believe that?  Their original goal was just a lousy $10,000 and they’ve gotten more than 6x that amount.

They’ve got a live feed going of the actual effort and they’re doing things like singing songs to keep everyone going.  They just got through singing the theme of Gilligan’s Island.  And they’re also streaming a live feed of the actual stream of the game screen in real time.  And it’s every bit as boring as you can imagine.  But there’s lots of people in that room.


My favorite quotes:
”Yay!  We tripled last year’s donations!  We’ll never get to go home!”
”In celebration, I’m going to bed.”

Dear God.  They’re singing the lyrics to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now.  This is actually good Internet viewing.  Good for you, you guys.

Oh.  And Penn Jillette has chimed in on his podcast:

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