Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Onion AV Club this week had an article on 11 Of Video Gaming's Strangest Moments. Some of them weren't really moments so much as watershed instances of strangeness, and this one in particular just killed me:

4. Smoke And Mirrors (1995, unreleased)

The moment: The worst driving game ever

This unreleased, woulda-been cult classic Smoke And Mirrors brought magicians Penn & Teller to the Sega CD and 3DO. Along with cameos by Lou Reed and Debbie Harry, and an "Impossible" mode that was literally impossible to win, S&M featured an excruciatingly realistic mini-game titled Desert Bus. As Penn Jillette recently recalled, "You were driving a bus from Tucson to Las Vegas. You had a limiter on the bus, it couldn't go more than 45 mph, it pulled a little bit to the right, so you had to keep your finger on the controller, and the trip took eight full hours. And you saw nothing." You got one point for finishing the trip. The highest known score is 12.

"And you saw nothing." That, after the absurdity of the rest of it, had me laughing for like five minutes straight. And to think about Penn describing it just makes it that much more amusing. I'm guessing the fact that the game's title can be abbreviated "S&M" is no coincidence, and I'd be willing to bet the game was developed on a series of dares.

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