The infamous Desert Bus minigame — a small portion of the unreleased 1995 Sega CD video game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors — will reportedly see a sequel of sorts release for virtual reality. That’s according to Penn Jillette, as in the “Penn” half of “Penn and Teller.”
Jillette dropped the news during a recent episode of the Penn’s Sunday School podcast. "I'm working on a game," he says about an hour and 28 minutes into the show. "I’m working with Randy Pitchford. This is not announced publicly, so people listening, don't spread this around. And we are going to do, and this is a big, big deal, we're going to do a new Desert Bus."
Randy Pitchford, of course, being the current CEO of video game developer Gearbox Software of Borderlands fame. Jillette goes on to say that the new Desert Bus — apparently called "Desert Bus 2.0" by Pitchford and "Desert Bus 1.0003" by Jillette — will be "just for charities, so charities can use it to raise money." This is a fairly obvious reference to the annual Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser where folks play the original Desert Bus minigame for as long as people donate.
The basic premise of the original Desert Bus tasks players with driving from Tucson, Ariz., to Las Vegas, Nev. In real-time, with no way of skipping anything or speeding it up. The maximum speed that the bus can go? 45 mph. So, it takes eight hours to make the journey — and then the game has the player drive back. Repeat ad nauseum.
It’s unclear exactly how close the virtual reality version will remain to the classic minigame. Alhough Jillette refers to it as being a "period piece" in the podcast, one would imagine that producing the exact same set of rules and gameplay with updated graphics would be the best way to go about it. Maybe there will even be a 360-degree angle on the bug hitting the windshield.
In the fundraising round that ended Nov. 21, the Desert Bus for Hope group raised $676,883.57 and has a lifetime fundraising total of $3,112,329.72. Proceeds go to Child's Play, which donates toys to hospitals and domestic violence shelters.
Source: Penn's Sunday School