If you have ever driven the stretch of desert road from Tucson to Los Vegas, then you know that the trek is long and boring. Each year, a group of kindhearted folks have been making that journey on repeat in the virtual space for charity, and you can help make their suffering last even longer with a donation.
Games marathons for charity aren't exactly new, but Desert Bus for Hope is one of the longest-running campaigns, with this being their tenth year of raising funds for a good cause. As of this writing, the team has been running the 2016 drive for just under three straight days, and they've got plans to keep going as long as folks keep forking over some dough.
So why are we making it sound like this is a painful endeavor for the parties involved? Playing games is supposed to be fun, right? Well, these folks aren't exactly cruising through titles like Uncharted 4, Dishonored 2 or a collection of Final Fantasy games. No, they're playing the notoriously horrible Desert Bus, a mini-game that was specifically designed to be completely terrible. Back in the day, a Sega CD game called Penn & Teller's Smoke & Mirrors launched with a mini-game that literally has the player cruising from Tucson, Arizona, to Los Vegas, Nevada, at an abysmal 45 miles per hour. Unlike most driving games, though, the journey wasn't condensed. You have to drive the actual distance at a turtle's pace with barely anything to keep your mind from melting along the way. Reaching your destination awards the player with a single point...And that's it.
So a British Columbia comedy troupe known as Loading Ready Run decided to turn pain into gain and have run their charity marathon for 10 years now. In short, donations add another hour onto how long they have to play the game. While one person drives in real-time, the rest of the troupe does their best to make watching the stream less painful with games, banter and the like.
According to the Desert Bus for Hope website, which is exactly where you can watch this beautiful nightmare unfold, the group has raised more than $3 million for charity in total so far, with an additional $230,000 raised as of this writing.
The major beneficiary of all of this driving is Penny Arcade's Child's Play Charity, who put a primary focus on making extended hospital stays for kids far less daunting through video games, activities and the like.
While the game itself is an exercise in maintaining sanity, the Desert Bus for Hope stream is a lot of fun and, again, these folks are doing all of this for a great cause. In case you're curious on the stats, they've only earned one point from their driving in all of that time, with zero crashes and only one bug splatted on the window. Again, this ain't no BioShock, and these folks deserve every penny they can raise for charity.