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Desert Bus charity run revs up for more torture for a good cause

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The ninth year of Desert Bus for Hope, the charity marathon playing the most deliberately awful video game in console history, gets going in less than an hour. If you're into 20-year-old real-time simulations of motorcarriage routes between Tucson and Las Vegas, you can watch it all right here.

Desert Bus for Hope is the philanthropy of the Canadian comedy troupe Loading Ready Run, and has been going strong since November 2007. Each year the marathon has raised more money than the last, with proceeds going to Child's Play, the charity that donates toys and video games to children's hospitals nationwide.

Last year, Desert Bus for Hope pulled in $643,242.58 in donations, more than $120,000 than in 2013.

In Desert Bus for Hope, Loading Ready Run and its team of drivers sign up for indefinite torture, basically. The longer the contributions come in, the longer they drive. They work in eight-hour shifts. Today's pilots are James Turner, a driver since 2007, and Ian Horner, who debuted in 2013.

So what? Well, Desert Bus, a minigame from the unreleased Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors for Sega CD, was designed to be horrible. It it, players battle the boredom of driving a bus route 450 miles at 45 miles per hour with no scenery, on a bus whose steering wheel is out of alignment (to prevent someone from taping the accelerator button down and letting it drive automatically).

Go off the road and the bus will break down and be towed back to Tucson — also in real time — before it can continue again. Each trip between Las Vegas and Tucson awards one (1) point.

To donate for Desert Bus for Hope, go here. The form helpfully notes the amount needed to tack on another hour to the drivers' torture. And when it's underway, you can follow the stream below. Apologies for the autoplay and the sad-theme version of Smash Mouth's "All Star", that's Twitch's policy, not ours.