Started in 2007 by internet sketch comedy group LoadingReadyRun, Desert Bus for Hope combines video games and tedium to benefit charity.
Desert Bus is the world's longest running internet-based fundraiser and has raised more than $1.2 million for Child's Play over its six-year history. This makes it the most successful charity gaming marathon in the world.
Growing from a "lightly planned" event broadcast from a living room to a professionally organized fundraiser, it takes more than 15 people to plan the event and another 10 dedicated volunteers to keep the whole thing running when it starts.
Our viewers direct the action, talking with us via live chat, challenging us to sing, dance and generally make fools of ourselves in front of thousands of viewers. The Desert Bus Craft-Along allows people from all over the world to help us raise money by donating incredible handmade art and goods for auction.
Desert Bus is a great example of what happens when a huge community of people from all over the world - organizers, volunteers, crafters and viewers - come together to achieve a common goal.
Desert Bus is actually a mini-game from the never-released Sega CD game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors. Challenging the player to drive a listing, unreliable, virtual bus on an endless, eight-hour-long strip of highway between Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, it is widely regarded to be the worst video game ever made.
We play it for as long as donations come in. In order to keep things interesting for our viewers we have live and silent auctions, giveaways and contests, celebrity guests and a lot of silliness.
Child's Play is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of children undergoing treatment in the hospital with toys and games. The charity supports a network of over 70 hospitals worldwide.
In 2007 we were mystified that we could raise over $22,000 in a week. Every year since, we grow more and more dumbfounded by your generosity.
We here at Desert Bus are really willing to suffer for the children. Rather than set an arbitrary cut-off point for our fundraiser, the length of the Desert Bus marathon is solely determined by the donations we receive, which means the more you donate, the longer we play.
However, because it gets harder and harder to keep playing as the marathon goes on, the donations required to add another hour go up by 7% for every additional hour.
This means first hour costs $1.00, but the second hour costs $1.07. By the time we reach the 10th hour of busing, it costs $1.84 and we've made $13.82 in total donations. Therefore the first few days of the event are quite cheap, but by the end of the week it costs several thousand dollars to keep the team going for another hour.
The donation total in the sidebar updates every minute. For those of you who love information, you can track our progress with GladdyMedia's excellent graphs that plot our donations over time. In order to figure out how long we must play, we use a custom-built donation tracking system, but all your money is going directly to Child's Play.
If you're interested in how much it would take us to keep going for 2 weeks, here's how the math breaks down: