The 10th annual Desert Bus for Hope charity gaming marathon is underway. It consists of people volunteering to play Desert Bus, an incredibly monotonous video game, for hours and hours and hours, all in support of raising money for the charity Child’s Play.
The marathon doesn’t end at any specific time. The team has committed to play for as long as people keep donating money. But the longer they play, the more expensive it is to keep them playing for another hour. The team breaks it down on their website, and even has a counter that specifically says just how much more money needs to be donated to keep them going for another hour.
So far they’ve already raised more than $221,000 this year, which means right now they will play for a total of 142 hours. Last year, they raised $683,720. And over the last nine years, they’ve raised a total of more than $3 million.
The mini game Desert Bus was originally on an unreleased Sega CD game called Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors. Players have to drive an unreliable bus that lists ever so slightly, from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. The game is in real-time and it takes eight hours to get from one city to the other. And all you get at the end of the drive is a single point, and then you turn around to go back… over and over again. Because the bus lists ever so slightly, you can’t just tape a button down and walk away. It’s pretty much the worst video game ever made.
The stream includes lots of guests like musicians the Doubleclicks, The McElroy brothers from the podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and Jerry Holkins who is the main writer for Penny Arcade. The stream also includes a ton of giveaways, silent auctions and live auctions.
The Desert Bus for Hope team raises money for Child’s Play, which is a charity that works to improve the lives of children who are in hospitals by providing them with toys and games. It also works with domestic violence support centers the help give children there a positive experience.