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On the opposite end of the spectrum where my Top 10 Summer Video Games sit on one end, the mid-90s gem Desert Bus sits on the other. 

Desert Bus

Simon Parkin of the New Yorker recently wrote an article on just how boring Desert Bus is and I thought to myself, "really? Can it be that bad?"

Well 99 cents and fifteen minutes later… yes, yes it can.


The object is to drive a bus for eight hours. Not a video game equivalent of eight hours, but for an actual, real time, no really we mean it, eight hours.

What madman would come up with such a stupid idea for a game? The answer might surprise you as it is none other than Penn Jillette and Teller, the magic/illusionist duo. They made the game back in 1995 when outrage over supposed video game violence causing real life violence was at a fever pitch.

The game sat for years until it was brought to the public through the iPhone and Android stores. Since then, countless people have done the same exact thing I did. Download the game, figure out how to get the bus going, last about five minutes until you realize nothing else is going to happen, and then quit.

While Desert Bus is mind-numbingly boring, it has found a niche market and that small group of fans have come together each year to raise money for the charity Child’s Play through a group called Desert Bus for Hope. 

It’s nice to see that something that was meant to show the non-relation between video game violence and real-life violence could be turned into something even greater.

However, I will take issue with Penn and Teller’s assertion that their game helps the violence argument. While no humans were involved, by the time I’d been dragged back to the start of the eight hour trek for running off the road, there was a lot of verbal abuse and even some physical harm done to my poor iPhone. 

So, if you aren’t planning on playing for charity, and you have a life that you enjoy, go ahead and save your 99 cents and pass on Desert Bus. Trust me on this one.