Powerfully boring ‘Desert Bus’ gets VR remake

‘Desert Bus VR’ includes the original’s horn and dead fly. — Picture courtesy of Dinosaur Games / Gearbox Software
‘Desert Bus VR’ includes the original’s horn and dead fly. — Picture courtesy of Dinosaur Games / Gearbox Software

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 29 — Excruciatingly and purposefully dull driving game Desert Bus has received the virtual reality treatment, so that the charity fundraiser can be experienced at a new level of immersion.

Conceived of as part of a cancelled 1995 game collection, Desert Bus did not emerge into the wild until 2005.

The spoof simulates an eventless eight-hour commute between Tuscon, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Despite the game’s unwaveringly straight road, players must continually correct the bus’s gradual steering drift, while tolerating its 45mph top speed and the wilderness’s almost complete lack of defining features.

Should they complete the journey, the player is awarded a single point. Fail, and the bus is towed back to Tuscon in real-time for another attempt.

Since 2007 the game has become the focal point of an annual charity fundraiser, Desert Bus for Hope, and now another company with an affinity for buses has gotten on board with a VR remaster.

But where Gearbox Software’s 2011 hit Borderlands began on a bus before exploding into action, Desert Bus VR aims for the stoic inactivity of its ancestor.

Playable with or without a virtual reality headset, the PC game adds a “groundbreaking new multiplayer mode” in which additional passengers can sit, wave or throw wadded paper at the driver.

Developed by Dinosaur Games and published by Gearbox, Desert Bus VR released November 27 through Steam as a free download for Windows PCs.

The remake also includes 15 secret gameplay-related achievements and an on-board radio, which contains an interview with Penn Jillette, one of the two magicians who designed the game in the first place.

Initial feedback has been positive, with one player crediting the update’s inadequacies as being true to the Desert Bus experience. — AFP-Relaxnews