A four-man team from comedy website LoadingReadyRun are taking part in a fundraiser with a difference -- they're benefiting the charity Child's Play with an internet telethon by playing the infamously tedious real-time bus simulator Desert Bus for more than 120 hours in a row, and have already beaten 2008's $70,000 grand total by raising $80,000 in the four days' driving so far.

(Relaxnews) -

A four-man team from comedy website LoadingReadyRun are taking part in a fundraiser with a difference - they're benefiting the charity Child's Play with an internet telethon by playing the infamously tedious real-time bus simulator Desert Bus for more than 120 hours in a row, and have already beaten 2008's $70,000 grand total by raising $80,000 in the four days' driving so far.

The length of the fundraiser itself is theoretically unlimited, using a rising scale to determine drive time. At the start of proceedings, a second hour of driving required $1 in additional donations. Each subsequent hour needs a 7% increase on the previous hour's requirement, encouraging more members of the public to chip in as word spreads.

Desert Bus is part of the unreleased 1995 mini-games compilation Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, stemming from the popularity of the US comedy magic duo Penn & Teller. The driving game itself was a satirical response to complaints about fantasy violence in video games, and so 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.

A "deficiency" in the bus' steering means that, even though the sparse and monotonous game throws no surprises (or stimulation) at the player, constant attention is required to stop the vehicle wandering off-road. Otherwise, it crashes and is towed all the way back to Tucson, once again in real-time. There's also no in-game pause function, meaning that even the smallest break in play is impossible without ending the game.

Though the publishers went bust before Smoke and Mirrors made it into stores, a few advance copies were sent out to games journalists for review during the pre-release schedule, and so the game - and in particular the Desert Bus portion - has become part of gaming lore.

The staff of LoadingReadyRun started what is known as the 'Desert Bus For Hope' fundraiser three years ago, and while a Desert Bus For Hope t-shirt is available from LRR themselves, they have set up a separate website dedicated to the Desert Bus challenge for readers to send in tips, donations, auction bids and requests.

Art competitions to mark fundraising milestones, live text chats, twitter updates, and two webcams are also featured on DesertBus.org - one of the players and their support team as they attempt to survive the endurance run, and one of the game itself, so that no-one need miss any of the bus driving "action".

The Escapist Magazine also have a portal page on their site, amalgamating all the news and updates from the Desert Bus For Hope in one streamlined page.

Desert Bus For Hope
November 20-25
Live fundraiser site: desertbus.org
Twitter feed: twitter.com/DesertBus
Child's Play site: childsplaycharity.org
The Escapist's portal: escapistmagazine.com/content/dbus
LoadingReadyRun's review of Desert Bus: youtube.com/watch?v=4RsYxIDNjHo

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