Desert Bus is arguably one of the most excruciating gaming experiences of all time. Created by magicians Penn and Teller for their unreleased 1995 video game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, the minigame has players drive a bus in real time from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. You can't pause the game, you can't exceed the 45 mph speed limit, and the whole drive takes eight hours. Now, it seems Desert Bus is coming to virtual reality.
Penn Jillette disclosed details about the project during a recent episode of his podcast, Penn's Sunday School (he starts talking about virtual reality around 1 hour, 25 minutes in). "I'm working on a game," he says. "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."
"It'll probably be for the [Oculus] Rift and the PlayStation VR."
Jillette says he is working with games developer (and former professional magician) Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software to create the game. "It'll be a period piece," says Jillette. "It'll be set in 1992 like the original Desert Bus. It's high fidelity [...] It'll be one of a bundle of games. And we're talking to a bunch of people and it'll probably be agnostic in terms of platform. It'll probably be for the [Oculus] Rift and the PlayStation VR."
Most importantly, Desert Bus 2.0 (or Desert Bus 1.0003, as Jillette calls it), will be "just for charity so charities can use it to raise money." This is a reference to the fact that the original Desert Bus features in an annual charity gaming marathon, Desert Bus for Hope, which last year raised $677,188 for Child's Play — a charity that donates toys and games to children's hospitals.
We've reached out to Gearbox Software to confirm that the game is definitely in the making (and find out any further details), and will update this story when we know more.