A four-man team from comedy website LoadingReadyRun raised over $132,000 for children's charity Child's Play during a five-day endurance run of what is widely agreed to be the most boring video game ever, Desert Bus for the Sega CD -- a satirical bus driving simulator devised for an unreleased 1995 Penn & Teller compilation.(Relaxnews) -
A four-man team from comedy website LoadingReadyRun raised over $132,000 for children's charity Child's Play during a five-day endurance run of what is widely agreed to be the most boring video game ever, Desert Bus for the Sega CD - a satirical bus driving simulator devised for an unreleased 1995 Penn & Teller compilation.
The event started on November 20 and the amount of time that the fundraisers would play for was initially unlimited, in theory at least - they would play the first hour for free, and the second hour if a total of $1 in charity donations was given.
Each subsequent hour required a 7% increase on the previous hour requirement, and so by the end of the five-day, 16-hour marathon, just under $9,000 would have been needed to extend the gaming torture for another 60 minutes.
Desert Bus is part of the unreleased compilation Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, devised at the time when illusionist pranksters Penn and Teller were at the peak of their international fame. Desert Bus re-creates the 8-hour, 45 mph (72 km/h) journey from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, in an agonizing minute-for-minute simulation. There's no easy way out, though - a flaw in the bus' steering mechanism means it needs constant correction to avoid veering off road and crashing, whilst at the same time a handy pause function has been willfully omitted.
Yet, for an intentionally dull, sparse, defunct and miserable single player experience, it seems to lend itself to party play incredibly well, providing that your sense of humor can stomach it, and that you can get your hands on it in the first place. The publishers went bust before the game was released, but only after a few review copies were sent out to games journalists, and so the compilation - and in particular the Desert Bus portion - has become part of gaming lore.
LoadingReadyRun started their annual 'Desert Bus For Hope' fundraiser three years ago, raising $22,000 and $70,000 in 2007 and 2008 respectively. This year they put on art competitions, auctioned off film and game memorabilia (signed Star Wars artwork was bought at a high price), humiliated themselves by singing musical hits for donations, and participated in live chats, video feeds, on-air interviews and more.
The Child's Play charity was set up in 2003 and this year raised $748,000 of its $1m target over the past Thanksgiving week. Just under a fifth of that came from the Desert Bus For Hope appeal, whilst many video game industry notables such as Valve, Ubisoft, PopCap and Telltale Games have chipped in with donations and auction prizes, such as studio tours, original concept art, games, and consoles with December 8's Gala Dinner in mind.
Desert Bus fundraiser site: desertbus.org
Child's Play charity: childsplaycharity.org