My Desert Bus Odyssey

Posted by JerryTerrifying On Wednesday, July 7, 2010 2 comments

nAs you may well be aware of I'm a fan of something called video games.  What you might not be able to tell is that I'm a fan of the hilariously genius comedy magic duo Penn and Teller.  So when I found out about their Sega CD game Smoke and Mirrors I had to know more and I had to play it.  The game was never actually released but there were review copies sent out to gaming publications of the time.  It's from these review copies that the game was leaked to the internet.

Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of mini games for the Sega CD.  There's a side scrolling adventure game, a verticle scrolling shooter, a psychic Gorilla named Mofo and what is perhaps the single greatest driving game of all time.  The mini games exist for the sole purpose of fooling your friends and pulling practical jokes.  The game Desert Bus however was made in response to something idiotic Janet Reno had said about video games.  At the time violent video games were very controversial and Janet Reno thought it would be a good idea to make a realistic video game that could teach real life skills.  So in response the world got Desert Bus.  The purpose of the game is to drive from Tucson Arizona to Las Vegas Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour.  The road you're traveling on is perfectly straight, there's no scenery except the occasional bus stop and rock on the side of the road and you can't pause the game.  The bus veers to the right and if you drive on the side of the road to long you get stuck and the bus stalls which magically summons a tow truck that you never see that will take you back to Tucson.

To get to Las Vegas it takes eight real life hours to make the trip.  You have to be there to steer the bus or else you'll get stuck on the side of the road.  If you stop the bus on the road to go take a leak it'll stall after about 10 seconds and the tow truck will come and get you.  There's no way around it.  You have to play the game for 8 hours to score 1 point.  Upon arrival you get the oppurtunity to drive back to Tucson which takes another 8 hours to earn your second point.  You can keep making the trip back and fourth racking up a max score of 99 points a project that would take about 41 days.  The game is made to be boring, real boring, just like an actual drive through the desert.  This game is extremely realistic in that regard. 

While poking around for information about Desert Bus I came across the comedy group LoadingReadRun's Desert Bus for Hope.  They've been running an annual charity for the past 3 years that's rasied $233,678.47 for the Child's Play charity.  That's where I stole the idea for the Desert Bus challenge.  To accomplish two things...bring in some new subs for my youtube channel and it also promote the Desert Bus charity I would drive 1 mile in the game for every 1 subscriber I got on youtube from January 5 to January 31st 2010.  I figure it's ok to blatantly steal their idea as long as I admit it and also promote their charity, which I've actually donated to myself.

I made a video explaining the stunt and asked all of my youtube friends and subscribers to post videos of their own promoting the stunt and spreading the word far and wide.  In just under a month I had 300 new subscribers and 300 miles to drive through the desert.  I was just a few miles short of a full 8 hour run that would earn me one point in the game.  So I decided why the hell not just go for it.  How many people have earned one whol point in the game Desert Bus?  I wanted to be among the elite Desert Bus point earners.  I had previously reviewed the game for my youtube channel but decided I needed to record the 8 hour run.  I couldn't record it all non stop so I've got several two hour bits of video.  I skipped recording a few miles as I use a DVDr to record my game footage and had to swap discs mid drive.

Before the drive I prepared a few sandwiches, some grapes and bananas in a little cooler and got myself a gallon jug of water.  Nearby of course was a cup to take a leak in.  Eight hours is a long time to go without taking a leak after all!  And I was set.  The only regret I had at the time was I couldn't live stream the event.  I tried setting up a blog TV account and streaming it through my webcam.  Problem was my web browser would implode every time I tried to activate the web cam.  So I made a video and invited people to join me in an AIM chat room I had set up...after about an hour of driving.  Very half assed and un prepared. 

The drive wasn't bad at all.  The chat room made the time fly by and before I knew it I had earned 1 whole point in Desert Bus.  After my drive my legs were stiff from sitting down longer than I've ever sat down before.  I made my challenge and I followed through.  It was a fun little publicity stunt for the youtube channel.  I also hope that I brought a little more awareness to the charity. 

Desert Bus 4 starts November 19, 2010.  I hope you'll check it out this year and if at all possible donate what ever you can. 

So far I've only uploaded 2 hours of my own Desert Bus oddyssey.  You can check that out here.  Perhaps someday I'll upload some more of my Desert Bus trip.


Semaj said...

Congratulations, I probably couldn’t get through the first tens minutes.

Anonymous said...

Desert Bus is a tough ass game!

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