A local internet sketch comedy group’s annual charity fundraiser has once again eclipsed its donation record.
LoadingReadyRun’s annual Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser involves players tackling what is regarded as the most boring video game ever created.
Desert Bus involves driving a virtual bus on a trip from Tuscon to Las Vegas in real-time.
“It takes eight hours, you have a limiter on your vehicle, there are no other cars, no passengers,” says Desert Bus participant Serge Yager. “You just sit there and drive and to make it a little bit engaging the alignment is off so your bus is constantly drifting to the right.”
The game has been the driving force behind an annual fundraiser for Child’s Play, a Washington-based non-profit that provides video games to sick children in hospitals around the world.
“We work to bring games and technology to help improve the lives of kids there and then also work the staff of the facilities that we support to help them understand how they can use games and technology intentionally as a part of therapy,” says executive director Travis Eriksen.
The fundraiser has been taking place since 2007 but this year’s event looked a little bit different. Over 30 on-camera participants gathered on Twitch from as far away as Berlin for a turn behind the wheel.
“Normally what we do is people travel from all over the world and we have one broadcast studio,” says Yager. “We had to have four different remote studios set up around the world.”
After 164 hours the fundraiser rolled to a conclusion, with a record donation tally of over $980,000. It was a figure that amazed both participants and donation recipients.
“We knew they’d put something amazing together,” says Eriksen. “They always do every year and what they really got together was an amazing group.”
“Throughout the entire run, we were always ahead of all of our donation milestones we’d ever hit. The fact that we tried, the fact that we managed to overcome these challenges, our community was there for it,” says Yager.
To find out more about Desert Bus for Hope, visit their website.