Amongst gamers Desert Bus is a household name. The game was originally planned to be part of the mid-1990s computer game series Smoke and Mirror by Penn and Teller and enjoys cult status thanks to a recent reboot. The original series consisted of prank games of any kind. Some games, for instance, were programmed in a way which would only allow Player 1 to win. Others made the player believe that the TV monitor just broke due to overheating. There’s no such gimmick hidden in Desert Bus, though: The fascination with the game results purely from its claim to be one of the most boring computer games of all time.
The game is set in the USA and all the player has to do in Desert Bus is to drive a coach from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. There are no passengers on board and no other vehicles will cross your way. The scenery consists of a single straight road and nothing happens apart from an insect crashing against the windshield about five hours into the game. Since Desert Bus is a real-time adventure, the bus ride will take eight hours and cannot be paused. Despite the game’s lack of obstacles, the player still needs to be concentrated at all times since the bus veers slightly to the right. Should the bus be driven off the road, it will be towed off and taken back to Tucson – in real-time as well, obviously. Should the player be successful, however, he will be awarded one point and has the chance to continue playing the game by taking the bus all the way back to the bus stop in Tucson.
Despite the apparent lack of entertainment and excitement, Desert Bus has numerous fans worldwide with some of them even having managed to reach the maximum score of 99 – a feat which demands a total gaming time of 33 days. In 2011, the game was relaunched and made available for iOS and Android. Instead of simply playing for fun, however, gamers could now go on the eight-hour endeavour for a good cause as money for charity was collected during online gaming marathons. The game’s developers teased that the cult game might soon also be available for Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR with the current working title being “Desert Bus 1.0003”.