Desert Bus for Hope

Posted on November 26th, 2007 by Frank Cifaldi

Some wackos at LoadingReadyRun.com have started a charity event near and dear to my heart, and certainly to this site.

Remember Desert Bus, the infamous and evil mini game designed by Two and a Half Men producer and former Saturday Night Live writer Eddie Gorodetsky? It was included on the unreleased Sega CD title, Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, described on this very site in early 2006. The premise, if you don’t want to click on that handy link, is simple: players must drive a full-sized bus from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV, an incredibly boring drive through endless desert. The bus never goes over 45 mph, and it veers to the right ever so slightly, meaning that you can’t simply tape down buttons and walk away; if you do, the bus crashes, and a tow truck takes you back to the beginning, in real time. Oh, also, the trip takes eight hours. Eight real world hours of endless desert.

The game was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek response to anti-game legislature of the time from former Attorney General Janet Reno, an answer to the controversy that games had become too violent. Desert Bus was publisher Absolute Entertainment’s first in a line of games “stupefyingly like reality,” an alternative to ultra violent games like Doom or Night Trap. Rather than simulating gun-toting or, um, trap-springing, players would simulate real world ordeals, like driving a bus for eight boring hours.

The LoadingReadyRun guys are playing a huge marathon session of Desert Bus in an effort to raise funds for Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity; the more that is donated, the more hours they put in. As of this writing they’ve been playing for two days and eighteen hours, and still have about thirty-two hours of driving ahead of them - which increases as more donations come in! And in a move that just warms my damned heart, Desert Bus creator Eddie Gorodetsky and Penn & Teller themselves have contributed a significant amount to the $11,000 that has been raised so far.

God speed, you crazy bastards. Or 45mph, I guess.

Link: desertbus.org


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