Desert Bus for Hope 2010 Starts Tomorrow Night

I watched it last year, and I’ll be watching it this time. LoadingReadyRun returns for this year’s Desert Bus for Hope marathon this weekend, starting at 9pm EST on 19 November.

The marathon, which has various members of the comedy group play an extremely dull minigame from the never-released minigame collection Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors for the Sega CD, is an effort to raise money for the Child’s Play charity organization, which buys video game consoles and games for children in hospitals.

Along with just playing the game, the members of LoadingReadyRun will also have a webcam feed showing what’s going on in their headquarters, known as the Moonbase. Last year, people could make challenges for LRR members (if that challenge was accompanied by a donation to Child’s Play). Challenges could be anything from having someone sign a song, to acting out a skit, or reading something. It was up to the donor’s imagination (and within good taste and humor).

The marathon will last as long as donations keep coming in. Additional gameplay hours will cost a certain amount, with additional hours having a certain percentage cost added to the previous hour that was unlocked. A difference from last year, where the various “drivers” would take four-hour shifts, is that four members of LRR (James, Jeremy, Morgan, Bill, and Kathleen) will be taking 24-hour shifts. That’s right, 24-hour shifts of Desert Bus.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Desert Bus was, as mentioned earlier, a minigame from the canceled Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors for the Sega CD. In this minigame, you drive a bus from Tuscon, AZ, to Las Vegas, NV, at a constant speed of 45 mph. You can’t slow down, and you can’t drive any faster. You drive along a straight road, with no other traffic, and the bus veers slightly to the right, meaning you have to constantly correct the bus with the controller. If you go too far off the road, the bus stalls and a tow-truck will eventually appear and tow you back to whichever of the two cities you started from. All of this plays out in real time, meaning that a one-way drive takes a continuous 8 hours of game play to complete.

This is the fourth annual Desert Bus for Hope marathon, and the full press release for the event follows under the cut.

Fourth Annual Desert Bus for Hope Fuels Up to Break More Records

Comedy troupe’s videogame-a-thon will stream live to benefit Child’s Play in November

Victoria, BC, Canada – November 14, 2009 – On November 19th, sketch comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun will begin a live 24/7 broadcast of their fourth annual Desert Bus for Hope, an epic videogame marathon and variety show where philanthropists donate to the Child’s Play charity to extend the length of time the troupe plays the painfully boring game “Desert Bus.”

The marathon will feature the members of LoadingReadyRun as well as auctions, call-ins, pranks, songs, and more while one member plays “Desert Bus,” a virtual bus-driving game that simulates an eight-hour-long strip of highway. Over the past three years they have raised almost $250,000, growing over 100 percent each year. This year, there is an added twist where members will take 24 hour shifts driving the “Desert Bus,” versus the 4 hour shifts in previous years.

“Desert Bus is considered by many as the most boring game ever created, which is why we’ve decided that this year we will be taking shifts six times longer than last year,” said Graham Stark, co-creator of LoadingReadyRun. “We really want to punish ourselves to benefit Child’s Play and we hope this will entice the gaming community to donate even more in 2010.”

Child’s Play was created in 2003 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade to get games, toys and cash to improve the quality of life for kids around the world who are undergoing treatment in hospitals. Many of the gifts donated are age appropriate videogames and gaming systems, along with coloring books, art supplies, crafts, movies, and cartoons.

“Last year’s Desert Bus for Hope lasted 5 days, 16 hours, raised $140,000, and Matt Wiggins watched New Moon six times, all to benefit this fantastic charity,” said Paul Saunders, co-creator of LoadingReadyRun. “This year we hope to raise even more through auctioning off great prizes and having pies thrown in our faces through The Escapist’s Dessert Bus game.”

The Escapist, the videogame culture website that proudly produces five shows by LoadingReadyRun, will be hosting the mini-game “Dessert Bus” where viewers can donate money to Child’s Play by purchasing virtual pies to throw at the LoadingReadyRun cast. The “winning” cast member will take a real pie to the face during the live broadcast.

To view the telethon, donate money and/or prizes, and find more information, please visit http://www.desertbus.org.

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