Submission #2211: alden's Genesis Desert Bus in 41:17:15:06, or in 41:17:15:05.68

Console Sega Genesis Emulator GENS
Game Version unknown Frame Count 216270341
ROM Filename PTSM1.bin Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 60
Unknown Authors alden
Game Unknown Game
Submitted by alden on 4/1/2009 5:16:35 AM

Submission Comments

Desert Bus High Score Attack

Ah, Desert Bus. And yes, that's 41 days, 17 hours, 15 minutes and 6 seconds. From the ever-useful Wikipedia:
Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors is an unreleased video game planned for release initially on the Sega CD in April 1995 and to be followed by PC, 3DO versions later that year.... Desert Bus is the best known minigame in the package, and was a featured part of Electronic Gaming Monthly's preview. The objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph, a feat that would take the player 8 hours of continuous play to complete, as the game cannot be paused. The bus contains no passengers, and there is no scenery or other traffic on the road. The bus veers to the right slightly; as a result, it is impossible to tape down a button to go do something else and have the game end properly. If the bus veers off the road it will stall and be towed back to Tucson, also in real time. If the player makes it to Las Vegas, they will score exactly one point. The player then gets the option to make the return trip to Tucson—for another point (a decision they must make in a few seconds or the game ends). Players may continue to make trips and score points as long as their endurance holds out. Some players who have completed the trip have also noted that, although the scenery never changes, a bug splats on the windscreen about five hours through the first trip, and on the return trip the light does fade, with differences at dusk, and later a pitch black road where the player is guided only with headlights. Penn says, "The best part of that I think was an idea that was not mine, not Teller’s, and not Barry Marx, who designed the game with us. It was an idea by Eddie Gorodetsky, one of the producers on Two and a Half Men, really funny guy. I think that Eddie G. is one of the funniest guys in the world." Penn Jillette commented in his radio show that the overly realistic nature of the game was in response to Janet Reno and the controversy surrounding violent video games at the time.

A Bit of Context

In 2007 I made a long-run movie of Rampage that completed the game with only the A button. It was over 6 hours long. One of the replies, from Blublu, was "How delightful. What next, Desert Bus?" Oh, I suppose you regret those words now...
At the time, such a run was unthinkable. Mostly because there was no reliable Sega CD recording. Also, there were no simple bots for Gens, and I'm certainly not cool enough to hack into the C/C++/whatever code. So the idea lay dormant over the years, until the coming of Gens 10. Sega CD support! I was instantly brought back to this grand idea. For the Rampage run I had used "Sticky Keys" to hold down the turbo A button, however this run required a bit more. I tried in vain to make various hotkey programs sync up to a movie. No luck. Eventually my wish for Lua support came true though, with Gens 11, and I quickly began this quest.

The Surprising Result

The most interesting result was that contrary to the Wikipedia entry above, one cannot go on forever scoring points. While one may continue playing for who-knows-how-long, the maximum number of points you can get is 99.
I had initially tried to get 100 points as the highest score I had seen was 6, so that seemed reasonably high, but oh my surprise when it stopped at 99. I re-set my goal to 1000 in-game hours to see if that maxes out too, but it does not do so (at least at 1000). Here's a screenshot of my final score:

adelikat: Encoding. ...Yeah right! Great April fools submission, and a neat concept, but its time to reject this.

Unrejecting this submission for consideration into the Vault tier

Nach: This run got a decent response despite the ridiculousness. It also shows off great TASing potential in its own unique way. Accepting for the vault.

Nach: Apparently I missed the rule regarding vault must be distinguishable from standard plays. Based on that criteria I am correcting my mistake and rejecting this.
In regards to the constant repeating, if this was going to be published, I figured we'd work out where to cut the movie before then, as it does run out of new content fairly quickly.

Last Edited by CoolKirby on 12/31/2014 9:06:15 PM
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