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'''''Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors''''' is a 1995 game featuring illusionist duo Creator/PennAndTeller. It was made for the UsefulNotes/SegaCD. Although the game was completed, it was unreleased when its publisher, Creator/AbsoluteEntertainment, went bankrupt, although the game had appeared in gaming publications beforehand. It resurfaced years later when an owner to a website that documents unreleased games received a copy from an initial reviewer.
The game is a collection of minigames, and is intended as a commentary on the perception that video games are harmful. As a Penn and Teller product, the game is humorous, and features their usual mix of illusion and debunking of fraudulent uses of such.
The game consists of the following mini-games:
* ''Desert Bus'': The most well-known among the minigames, where you must drive 360 miles from Tucson, AZ to UsefulNotes/LasVegas, NV on a desolate highway, without being able to go faster than 45 MPH, and with the steering bus pulling slightly to the right to prevent you from simply putting a weight on the drive button to keep it moving. Has been a subject of ''WebVideo/LoadingReadyRun's'' ''WebVideo/DesertBusForHope'' charity drive, and has also been ported to [=iOS=] and Android devices with proceeds going towards Child's Play.
* ''Mofo the Psychic Gorilla'': A gorilla claims to have psychic powers and asks questions to predict the card a player draws from the deck.
* ''Buzz Bombers'': Claims to be a demo for an "upcoming" two-player arcade shooter.
* ''What's Your Sign'': Penn & Teller uses the Personometer to determine the player's sign as well as his/her birthday.
* ''Sun Scorcher'': A space shooter which involves the use of "thermographics", as well as unskippable disclaimers that such features make the screen dangerous to touch.
* ''Smoke and Mirrors'': An adventure game of sorts where a magical duo called Stinkbomb and Rot claims that magic exists and become sensational. The goal is to have Penn & Teller go around town, make their way through and head back to Las Vegas in order to expose Stinkbomb and Rot as frauds. Comes in Normal and Impossible difficulties.
!!The minigames contain examples of:
* AllThereInTheManual: The elements of the game are not immediately obvious to those who just catch a glimpse at the game. [[http://www.pennfans.net/files/Smoke-and-Mirrors/Smoke%20&%20Mirrors%20-%20Manual.pdf The manual]] is designed so the owner can set up the tricks in order to fool their friends.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: It's weird that a game that's advertised as a ''verisimulator'' would have any AcceptableBreaksFromReality whatsoever, but Desert Bus does. In reality, the highway from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV is [[https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Tucson,+AZ/Las+Vegas,+NVfirstname.lastname@example.org,-114.8157409,7z/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x86d665410b2ced2b:0x73c32d384d16c715!2m2!1d-110.926479!2d32.2217429!1m5!1m1!1s0x80beb782a4f57dd1:0x3accd5e6d5b379a3!2m2!1d-115.1398296!2d36.1699412 more than 360 miles long and is not a straight line.]] Also, it goes through Phoenix.
* BladderOfSteel: The pause function is disabled during Desert Bus. Pressing the start button just sounds the horn. This was [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by the developers.
-->"There's no pause feature. No, it's not an oversight. Does ''your'' life have a pause control?" -- ''The instruction manual, on Desert Bus''
* DeconstructionGame: Desert Bus is a deconstruction of supposed "realistic" games, by virtue of simulating a very real, very boring bus drive.
* DevelopersForesight: Think you can cheat Desert Bus by clamping down the acceleration button? The bus constantly veers to the right, and, if it hits the sand on the side of the road, the bus gets towed back to Tucson (also done in real time).
* DrivingGame: The infamous ''Desert Bus'' minigame simulating an eight-hour drive from Tucson to Las Vegas -- in real time, with [[BladderOfSteel no pause button]], in a bus with a top speed of 45 mph and a tendency for the steering to drift (which meant that you couldn't just leave it running unattended or the bus would crash -- whereupon it would be towed back to Tucson, still in real time, and you'd have to start again).
* EyeBeams: In ''Smoke and Mirror'', the Impossible difficulty setting has the player run into Music/LouReed after one screen, who will shoot beams from his eyes at the player, who in turn is instantly killed.
* ForegoneVictory: Player 1 will always win in ''Buzz Bombers''. A trick to reverse the scores and disguise to the patsy exists.
* FullMotionVideo: Being made for the Sega CD, the game features live-action cutscenes with Penn and Teller that play between minigames.
* FunWithAcronyms: ''What's Your Sign'' has the Cosmetic Research Organization for Clairvoyant Kinetics (CROCK) personometer.
* InterfaceScrew: ''Sun Scorcher'' has both warnings about "Thermographics" and when they (supposedly) break the TV.
* MarathonLevel: Each segment of ''Desert Bus'' lasts eight hours. [[BladderOfSteel You can't pause.]]
* NeverNeedsSharpening: Parodied in a few lines of [[https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.video.3do/b_bpNfYwRTo the official release]], along with a StealthPun to PolishTheTurd every now and then:
-->Buzz Bombers(TM). The coolest, meanest competitive two-player action space alien game yet created. You'll want to play it again and again, because you'll never lose!
* PinballScoring: Inverted in ''Desert Bus''. Driving the full, [[RealTime eight-hour]] route earns you '''one''' point. To further emphasize the point (no pun intended), the score is shown with eight placeholders, so after you drive eight hours, the score reads "00000001". [[note]] If you wanted to fill the score to "99999999", you'd have to play for 33,333,333 days, which is approximately 91,264 years… assuming you play perfectly. Unfortunately, the score counter only goes up to 99, which is "only" 41 days straight.[[/note]]
* PracticalJoke: The games aside from ''Smoke and Mirrors'' are designed so you can play one on player 2.
* TakeThat: Several, including buzzwords like "blast processing" (''Sun Scorcher'' with "thermographics"), perceptions of "realistic" video games (''Desert Bus''), and hyperbolic difficulty levels (the Impossible difficulty in ''Smoke and Mirrors'').
* UnbuiltTrope: ''Desert Bus'' deconstructs the idea of making video games painstakingly realistic years before trying to make games "realistic" became common.
* UnwinnableJokeGame: In ''Smoke and Mirrors'', hyperbole is not in any way involved in the naming of the "Impossible" difficulty level; Music/LouReed appears and kills the duo, then tells the player:
--> "This is the Impossible difficulty, boys. [[ExactWords Impossible doesn't mean very difficult. Very difficult is winning the Nobel Prize; impossible is eating the Sun.]]"