Steam New Release: Desert Bus VR

The VR remake of Desert Bus from Penn & Teller has been released today on Steam for free! The VR simulation title supports both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift natively, but can also be played on a monitor without VR. A PSVR version is also announced. Check out the press release.

This VR game is developed by Gearbox Software, and serves as the VR remake of the original “Desert Bus“. Desert Bus was originally going to be one of the “mini”-games for the larger game collection “Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors” for the short-lived Sega CD. Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, along with Desert Bus by proxy, was planned for release in 1995, but in the end it got canned and unreleased.

Desert Bus is back and better than ever! The 1998 Penn and Teller cult hit mini-game is coming to virtual reality, so you can fully immerse yourself in the thrilling eight-hour trip from Arizona to Nevada. It’s almost like you’re driving the “wheel” thing!

The title follows the same premise as the original; you have to ride a commercial passenger bus across the desert road from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. The whole journey plays out in real time, and it takes 8 hours to reach the destination. When you reached Nevada, you can choose to return to Arizona again, letting you to travel back and forth between the 2 places until your stamina runs out.

The title also features a radio, in case you feels bored. In addition, unlike the original, Desert Bus VR now features multiplayer element of up to 5 VR users. While one is driving the bus, the other 4 passengers can board it, sit, wave, and even throw wads of paper at the driver.

The game serves more like an endurance challenge rather than being fun, but nevertheless, the title ended up spawning “Desert Bus for Hope”, one of the oldest video game charity marathons.

Desert Bus VR was made in-part to support Desert Bus for Hope, a volunteer organization that holds the eponymous annual event to raise money for game industry charity Child’s Play. Participants play Desert Bus in a telethon-style stream, with others pledging donations in exchange for incentives that can include everything from prizes to increasing the length of the Desert Bus play time.