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Desert Bus rakes in over $500K for sick kids

After six days and 11 hours on the road.

Desert Bus for Hope - the fundraiser that sees comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun play through Penn & Teller's joke of a game about driving a bus through the desert in real-time - has raised $522,348 this year for Child's Play, a charity that provides video games for sick kids.

We've examined Desert Bus multiple times in the past, as it remains arguably the medium's most audacious oddity. Developed as a response to out-of-touch politicians who argued video games were rotting the minds of our young, the magician duo decided to create a game that would reflect reality in all its tedium. As such, you drive forward, in real time, at 45mph, between Tucson, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. Naturally it's about as fun as watching paint dry.

Adding to its allure, Desert bus was never officially released. It was only a mini-game in Penn & Teller's Smoke & Mirrors, a Sega CD game that never saw the light of day when publisher Absolute Entertainment went under. It wasn't until years later that the oddity was discovered and appreciated for its innovative satire.

Since 2007 LoadingReadyRun has been putting on the Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser and it's raised a total of $1.7 million over the course of seven years. This was the first year it's passed the half million mark - a feat that took six days and 11 hours of driving to accomplish. Meanwhile, this year's Child's Play took in $2.5 million overall.

Cover image for YouTube videoDB7 - What is Desert Bus for Hope?