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Brakes hissing, Desert Bus for Hope pulls in with another record total

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Almost $700,000 raised for children’s hospitals

Desert Bus

Desert Bus for Hope 10, a video gaming charity marathon rightly viewed as beginning the movement a decade ago, has concluded and once again has pulled in a record amount of contributions: $694,033.29 to be exact.

The event, put on by Canadian comedy troupe Loading Ready Run, wrapped up around 2 a.m. ET today. All told, the near $700,000 in contributions compelled the bus drivers to log 159 hours behind the virtual wheel which, at the 45 mph the bus is limited to, would equal 7,155 miles.

That is 25 percent longer than a drive from Miami to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (a drive that a good friend of mine will be undertaking next year, actually.) Toward the end, LRR’s Alex Steacy delivered this message:

This is the 10th year of Desert Bus for Hope, which raises money for Child's Play, the philanthropy of Penny Arcade which gives toys and video games to hospitals, particularly those with children in long-term care. In every year, Loading Ready Run has raised more money than their past bus-a-thon.

Desert Bus is, of course, the infamous mini-game from Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, an unreleased Sega CD anthology. Desert Bus was inspired by the moral panic surrounding violent video games in the mid-1990s, and sought to create the most boring and non-objectionable game ever. God, how it succeeded at that.

The best part is the bus' steering is out of alignment, so there's no taping down the trigger; you have to drive the goddamn bus, between Tucson, Ariz. and Las Vegas, in real time. At 45 mph. That is more than nine hours, one-way. One trip equals one point.

Since 2007, Desert Bus for Hope has raised almost $4 million for Child's Play.