Recently, Penn Jillette (a comedic genius who does illusionist trickery with his silent partner Teller) illuminated the motivation behind the infamous Desert Bus minigame in the unreleased — but bootlegged — Sega CD title Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors. The purpose of Desert Bus was to recreate the drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada — the point being that it took a hell of a long time and nothing interesting happens along the way. In short, it was a joke, like all of the minigames in the ill-fated title.
In this video, promoting a charity event that utilized the videogame to raise money, Penn says that Desert Bus was created to hit back at Janet Reno, who not only demonized fantasy violence in games, but also said that games should teach people real-life skills. Thus, the epic drive from Tuscon to Las Vegas was born and in Penn’s words a “game that was very real-life” was created.
After 8 or so hours, if a player managed to keep his hands on the controller long enough, he would reach Las Vegas and score one point. Then the player would be asked to turn around and drive back. The minigame infinitely loops, which is why the Desert Bus charity event was able to carry on for a little over five days.