In 2007, Child's Play cobbled together just over $1 million, with $22,805 coming from a single charity event run by some Canadian gamers. In 2009, the sum total of donations was $1.7 million, and LoadingReadyRun's Desert Bus for Hope made up an astounding $140,000 of that. To understand why so many dollars came through this one event, it's important to understand something about the game "Desert Bus."
Back in 1995, the skeptic-magic duo Penn & Teller were planning to release a game for the Sega CD. Nestled within was a minigame designed for the purpose of taking a jab at Janet Reno, attorney general at the time, who was making a stink about violence in videogames. Her thinking was that games should teach skills applicable to real life. In response, Penn & Teller worked to create a game which involves the applicable skill of driving a bus across a completely barren stretch of road between Tucson and Las Vegas, with no stimuli or challenge other than bus' alignment pulling to the right. This journey takes eight real-time hours, after which players are awarded 1 point and must to start the journey back.
In other words, it's a hellish game with no point. What better subject for a charity drive? While the humor troupe of LoadingReadyRun fields questions and accepts challenges in their chatroom, onlookers can donate funds to Child's Play. As long as the donations keep coming, these unlucky few will be honor-bound to keep driving that bus across the desert. And if you want to chip in a $50 note and ask them to dance to "Alejandro"... well, maybe that's just what they'll do, and thousands will enjoy it via webcam.
In addition to the usual banter and prizes, this year's Desert Bus for Hope includes a Craft-Along, whereby the more creative fans have been sending in little arts & crafts to be given away and auctioned during the coming weekend's revelry. If you pop in at the right time and are feeling like helping out some sick kids, you may acquire some neat, homemade, gaming-related gifts!
If any of this sounds fun, then get ready to flex your tax-deductability all over the internet: Desert Bus for Hope kicks off today at 6PM PST!