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Interest Check - Desert Bus for Intellivision


Interest Check - Desert Bus for Intellivision  

64 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you buy Desert Bus for Intellivision?

    • Yes! CIB all the way!
    • Sure! Loose cart please!
    • I'd probably buy a ROM copy.
    • No way, this is the worst game idea ever.

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Background: for those that don't know, Desert Bus was written as part of a Penn & Teller satire game for the SegaCD, which was unfortunately never released. It resurfaced a few years back and has now become somewhat of a gaming legend:




It was ported to the 2600 a couple of years ago, but as far as I know that's it for ports:




Here's the thing - the entire "game" is driving a bus through almost mind-numbing scenery for 8 hours. In realtime. With no pause, no savegame, and nothing to do but hold down the gas. The bus slowly drifts off the road and can get stuck, so you need to actually play it - for 8 hours. Once you get to your destination, you gain one point. And have the option to drive back. Rinse, and repeat ad nauseum.


During the Christmas period, I ported it over to the Intellivison. It's "complete" - you drive for 8 hours in realtime, get a point, drive back. If you drift off the road or stop for any reason, your bus breaks down and you get towed back to your starting point. IN REALTIME. This is the ultimate in bus driving simulation for the Intellivsion. There's also an additional mode called Arctic Bus where you have to drive across the Canadian Arctic for 8 hours, avoiding slippery ice patches that skid you off the road much faster.


Now, reception from the publishing community has been... mixed at best. The thinking is that this might need to be turned into a more complete game, that's kinda, you know, fun. But that's not Desert Bus. That's an actual, real game. Desert Bus, for those that know it, is intentionally designed to be the furthest thing from fun. In fact the only real use that's ever been found for it has been a days-long charity event, where people play it unendingly to raise money for charity:




So I'm throwing it out to the INTV community - are you interested in this, as Desert Bus? ie: as a game that is intentionally designed to be tedious, boring, and basically pointless? The 2600 community supported a port and I'm sure we would too - but I need help convincing those that make boxes and cart shells and whatnot :)


Obviously this wouldn't cost quite the same as say Boulder Dash. There are no licensing issues here. I'd guess $50 for a CIB copy? That's just speculation based on what I've seen in the past. No idea on costs otherwise but $5-10 for a ROM seems right.



Here are some actual, in-game screenshots:



Title Screen:



Starting the drive to Vegas:



Arctic Bus!:



Getting towed back:



Arrival at Vegas:





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In the original state, no. A couple of options to help this game be more fun.


1. Earn points by arriving at different cities without sliding off the road. Other points depending how many times to slid off the road.

2. get towed back to your last city. But only takes as long as getting off the screen.

3. Get additional points by arriving at a city by announcement of the company and in a certain amount of time.

4. work in passenger pick up somehow.

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I'm fine with adding more gameplay, but I'd want them to be optional. I really think having a version of the painful, original, mind-numbing original is valuable.


The painful version is obvious and will be included, never fear :)


My thinking goes like this: the game is intentionally mind-numbing. Adding a version where it's not .. to me, that's just making a different game. That's not Desert Bus, and entirely defeats the purpose of porting something. I might as well just write a new game. It's akin to someone saying "hey, you know Flappee Bird is actually kind of a silly game idea, it's just pressing a single button and most games last 15 seconds - would you mind adding a platformer game with the bird in it?". No, because that would be a completely different game. Not trying to pick on Flappee Bird here, but I don't think a lot of people are buying it for the endless hours of engaging gameplay, let's be honest :P


Or I could be completely out to lunch and Desert Bus by itself is just a really stupid idea, at least marketing-wise. My brief research so far tells me that a lot of people don't "get it" (I have to explain what it even is, let alone the "appeal" of Desert Bus) so it may just be an extremely niche market.


Anyway, that's why I'm asking. I'm curious what people think about the concept of an actual port. I've had some very good suggestions on making it into a fun game, but we already have several "ideas for a new game" threads and there's plenty to choose from there :)

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If you make it, I agree that the mind-numbing original gameplay needs to be preserved.


If you give it the option to have fun gameplay, go massively over the top. Take Priscilla Queen of the Desert, have targets to run over like coyotes / people / space aliens, dodge helicopter firing squads and landmines, need to pick up road-passengers but only with certain nonsense color combinations (blue man with green suitcase and yellow hat is ok but blue man with yellow suitcase and black hat is death), have blood splats appear on the screen randomly, all passengers go into labor at once, and you get diagnosed with cancer.

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I would suggest a 3-D looking road :) with a mountains background and cactus passing alongside. Some curves in road would be great.


Maybe adding some various background music? like a radio?


Also we could add a little twist: what about police cars chasing you? hehe, you should go so fast as possible without getting off road.

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I believe that you can sell about 75 of anything for the Intellivision. I can put it on cartridge for you but I won't do the sticker.


I believe that Collectorvision has the ability to do small runs of boxes. You might want to ask them to print you 100.


The Sears overlay guy does pretty good overlays in small batches.


Source a local printer for the manual, and you're good to go.

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I'd really like to see this as Super Pro Desert Bus where the original in all its mind numbing glory is included but also a fun, playable game is included. :) that is something I would buy multiple copies of. From the ideas I've seen mentioned I think there's a really fun game there to be made/fleshed out.

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I'd really like to see this as Super Pro Desert Bus where the original in all its mind numbing glory is included but also a fun, playable game is included. :) that is something I would buy multiple copies of. From the ideas I've seen mentioned I think there's a really fun game there to be made/fleshed out.



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Is the side scrolling perspective change from the original inside the bus looking out the windshield POV (behind the bus in the 2600 version) due to a limitation with the system?


Sort of. It's possible to make a crude approximation of the original graphics but it would look a bit ugly. The color space is much reduced on the Intellivision, and scrolling graphics within the windshield view would look .. primitive.


Just as the 2600 version played to the abilities of the system (they COULD have done it FPS like Night Driver...), so does this. Smooth scrolling on the INTV works very well.

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Truckin' had a nice pseudo 3D / first person view - showing the hood of your truck with the road in front of you. If you used that perspective, I think it would not only make the game more interesting, but keep it true to the original. Maybe just show a bit of dashboard and 1/2 or 3/4 of the steering wheel, moving as you 'steer' down that long, straight road...

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