It's that time of year again -- when a profoundly boring unreleased game is played for days on end in an effort to procure other, better games for hospitalized kids. Desert Bus for Hope is a marathon in which the members of LoadingReadyRun play "Desert Bus," a minigame from the canceled Sega CD game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, over and over again in shifts, beginning tomorrow, November 19 at 9PM ET.

This year, instead of enduring the monotony of Desert Bus (in which players drive a bus from Tucson to Las Vegas, never going faster than 45 miles per hour) for four hours at a time, the members of LoadingReadyRun plan to play in twenty-four-hour shifts. And they'll keep playing as long as donations to Child's Play continue to come in. In addition, fans will be able to donate money to throw "virtual pies" at the team in an online minigame that will be hosted by The Escapist. One lucky LoadingReadyRun cast member will even get a real pie in the face.

We'd say we also look forward to the charity event that will directly follow this one. You know, the effort to raise funds for Loading Ready Run's psychiatric treatment -- but they're Canadian. Their Desert Bus-related PTSD will be treated for free.
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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 www.desertbus.org.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.