This year's marathon of gaming masochism aims to raise even more money for the Child's Play charity.
For the past few years, we've tried to raise awareness of Penny Arcade's charity organization, Child's Play. In addition to directly donating money and toys for hospitalized children around the world, there are various opportunities to get involved through side-events supporting the charity. For instance, Funde Razor is a multi-city gaming party in the United States featuring food, drinks, door prizes, and the chance to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band on a real stage.
Another unofficial fund-raising event is called Desert Bus for Hope, which was briefly discussed in our interview with Mike "Gabe" Krahulik last year. It's a brutal marathon in which a group of people take turns playing Desert Bus, one of the most boring games ever created. It involves driving a bus through the desert highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas – when you reach the destination, the game simply turns you around to go back the other way. It has no end and no legitimate gameplay.
Now in its second year, Desert Bus for Hope operates on the idea that people will donate money to extend the length of a torturous gaming session. In 2007, the bus driving lasted 108 continuous hours and raised almost $23,000 for Child's Play. This year, that amount was nearly matched in less than two days, with the driving far from over. Other than simply donating, you can participate by joining the live chat room and watching video feeds of both the game (not much to see there) and the players. The latter video stream can be quite engaging, considering the event is run by Loading Ready Run, a comedy troupe based in Victoria, British Columbia. They manage to offset the intensely tedious game with their own antics, often dancing, singing, answering questions from the chat room, and anything else that might keep viewers engaged and donating.