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A week from Friday begins one of the highlights of the fall for me: Desert Bus. Desert Bus is the world’s first, longest, and most successful internet charity gaming marathon. Since 2007, members of the online comedy group LoadingReadyRun have played what is considered by many to be the worst video game ever made: the player drives a bus from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, a trip that takes 8 hours… in real time. Upon arriving in Las Vegas, the player earns one point and then must make the return trip. Additionally, the bus constantly veers to the right so the player must constantly correct the bus lest it run off the road, in which case it will be towed back to Tucson, also in real time. By all accounts, it is very boring to play.

In order to keep donations coming in – and the crew and viewers entertained – the crew performs challenges (usually of the dancing and/or singing variety), hosts geek celebrity call-ins, and auctions off a lot of cool stuff. The crew keeps playing as long as the money keeps coming in; last year they played for 6 days and 6 hours non-stop and raised $380,335.01. All the proceeds go to Child’s Play Charity, which donates toys, books, and video games to children’s hospitals worldwide.

Many of the items auctioned off and given away in raffles are hand-made by the fans through the Craft-Along, which I was honored to participate in this year. If you’d enjoy watching very funny people be very sleep-deprived (and thus extremely silly), and are interested in helping sick kids smile, please consider checking them out. You can learn more at desertbus.org.

A brief trailer:
Video courtesy LoadingReadyRun.