Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors is a game endorsed by magicians Penn Jillette and Teller that is comprised of several mini-games that are all tricks to play on your friends, and a side-scrolling game where you play as the duo. It is considered a companion to their video Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends which consisted of scams to get money from your friends, using segments of the video as the scam.
Desert Bus is the best known mini-game from the game, as it was previewed in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. Other than the main Smoke and Mirror side scrolling game it is the only segment of the game that is not a scam on anyone but the person playing it. The Objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tuscon to Las Vegas in real time, at a maximum speed of 45 MPH. This is a feat that would take 8 hours of continuous play, as the game cannot be paused. There are no passengers on the bus and there is very little scenery. The Bus veers to the right slightly, making it impossible for the player to tape down a button and finish the journey. If the bus goes off the road it stalls and is towed(also in real-time) back to the last city you left from. When you make it to Las Vegas you score exactly one point. Also, the game asks you if you wish to continue, but only gives you 2 seconds to answer before the game quits. Penn Jilette commented in his radio show that the game was in response to Janet Reno and violent video game controversy. This mini-game has an inexplicable cult following and is used as a fund-raiser (for the Child's Play Charity) yearly by the website LoadingReadyRun.
Mofo The Psychic Gorilla
Mofo is a Gorilla who claims that scientific experiments have given him psychic powers. In order to demonstrate these abilities, the gorilla says he will predict a card the user has pulled from a pack of cards by asking seemingly mundane questions. However, the trick involves the person doing the trick either seeing the card or hearing the person say it. When Mofo explains how to "make contact" using the controller the other person secretly enters a code allowing him to use 2 green lights to enter the suit and value of the card. This is one of the hardest tricks to pull off in the set, but a practice mode is offered for you to get the timing down.
This is the most elaborate of the mini games. It's a basic 2-player side-scrolling shooter, but the scam is that Player 1 always wins(he will always have more points). Player 1 controls various "cheats" with simple button presses. Some of the features are that, it can be set so that the 2nd Player starts out winning, or that it stays close before the first player starts dominating in the points department. Also there is a button combination that lets you switch which controller is controlling the scam(if your friend gets suspicious). Also, to help with the setting-up of the prank , the game manual and cover's backside featured "Buzz Bomber" artwork, and a 2nd disc that was completely blank(so the mark doesn't get suspicious seeing you put in a Penn And Teller CD). Also, after the opening company logos, you could press the "B" button to go straight to Buzz Bombers. The game even featured a plot and opening video sequence to further the prank.
What's Your Sign?
Using the Personometer(developed by the Cosmic Research Organization for Clairvoyant Kinetics, or CROCK), Penn And Teller claim not only to be able to guess the starsign, but the player's birthday using questions. The questions all fall along the lines of things such as; "Do You Wear Sunglasses? " One answer would be, "I hate them, never wear them", the other answer would be, "I'm Lou Reed, I never take them off". But the mark's birthdate is actually put in using a secret menu before the scam is started.
Sun Scorcher is a top-down vertically-scrolling shooter. The prank makes fun of video disclaimers as well as buzzwords like "Blast Processing" used to hype things like Gaming Consoles. When starting the game, a disclaimer and voice-over tells you that the "Thermographics" emitted by the mothership will make the screen dangerous to touch. The joke involves entering a code that will make the screen go fuzzy after the 3rd time the mothership is shot, suggesting that the Television has been ruined by the Themographics. Penn And Teller also suggest that the person playing the prank should talk up the Thermographics as the "next-big thing in gaming", and to touch the screen often, finally touching the screen before the screen goes fuzzy, and acting like you got badly burned by the screen.
Smoke And Mirrors
The namesake game in the set is the only game that's not a minigame or a prank. It is a side-scrolling brawler where you play as Penn And Teller. The plotline involves chasing the magician duo "Stinkbomb and Rot" (a none-too-subtle parody of Sigfried and Roy) who claim that magic is real. Eternal killjoys Penn and Teller take it upon themselves to prove them wrong. During certain action sequences you must replace P&T with stunt doubles that will take the damage for them. The game features Debbie Harry(Penn's girlfriend at the time), and Lou Reed, in fact every store you come across in the game is called either "Debbie's" or "Harry's". Lou Reed is in the game if you try "Impossible Mode" which involves Penn and Teller immediately running into Lou Reed, who makes them explode with lightning bolts from his eyes. The game then plays a video of Lou Reed saying "'Impossible' doesn't mean 'very difficult', 'very difficult' is getting a Nobel Prize, 'impossible' is eating the sun".