From the pixelated Ferrari of the Sega classic Outrun, to the seamless high-definition reality of Gran Turismo, car racing games have come a long way over the last couple of decades.

Now though, a new release is bucking the trend, not only in its reduced graphical quality, but also in its reduced entertainment.

Meet Desert Bus, a game with the strapline: ““One man. One Bus. Three hundred and sixty miles of simulated post-apocalyptic desert and the endless struggle between man and nature personified.”

Sounds rather epic, doesn’t it? Players sucked in by the marketing puff will be disappointed to find that the game simply involves keeping a mildly wayward bus out of the sand and on the blacktop.

With no save function, the game takes an agonising eight hours to reach the end, and if you veer off the road just once you have to start again from the beginning.

Worst of all, it’s not simply a case of occasionally steering the bus back on course. It requires constant attention, which at a maximum speed of 45mph is a test of even the greatest boredom thresholds.

Desert Bus was first developed in 1995 for the Sega Genesis and has now been launched for smartphone platforms. The brainchild of US illusionists Penn and Teller, the game is a counter argument to lobbyists at the time, who suggested that computer games were damaging young minds.

The pair decided to develop the mind-numbing simulator to highlight just how pointless a truly life-like game is.

Discussing the game on his daily podcast, creater Penn said: “Desert Bus was a game we thought would really appeal to people who didn’t like unrealistic games and didn’t like violence in their games. It was just like real, loving life.”

Ever played anything more boring than Desert Bus? Tell us about it below.

Daljinder Nagra


July 15, 2013