Desert Bus for Hope is back in a massive way. The torturous fund raiser put on by online comedy group Loading Ready Run has returned for its fifth annual run, forcing players to endure the worst game ever made to raise money for Child’s Play. For 2011, the LRR crew have pulled all the stops to bring us the best Desert Bus for Hope yet. Every single aspect is bigger than ever this year, and that includes the donated amount thus far.
The gig is the same as it has been for the previous four years. Four drivers, all from the comedic ranks of Loading Ready Run, take turns driving 24 hour shifts in the terrible mini-game known as Desert Bus, from the unreleased Penn and Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors. Viewers, watching the live stream of the “action”, donate money to make them play longer. As the amount of donated money increases, so does the number hours that the team must continue busing.
Last year, the team earned an astonishing $194,280.00 for charity, which was an unbelievable accomplishment considering that in the inaugural running of Desert Bus for Hope, the total donations amounted to $22,805.00. Most assumed that the incredible amount of donations from 2010 would be difficult to beat in 2011, but as of the time of this writing, a mere 48 hours into the event, the crew have earned over $100,000.
The LRR crew had already amassed over $8,000 in donations before the event even began on Friday. That’s more money than the team had originally hoped to earn in the entire first running of the Bus (an amount that was obviously destroyed handily at the hands of donators). If things continue as projected, the team could earn upward of $400,000 during this event. Statistics of the five years of Desert Bus for Hope donations can be seen on this near-real-time graph.
Like last year, unique items are being auctioned off live to help boost the amount being donated. The auctions are bigger than ever this year, with tons of great items up on the block. The few auctions that have hit already have brought in serious amounts of cash. Two custom-made 8-bit Mario Bros. pillows sold for $3,640, while a massive uncut sheet of Magic: The Gathering Innistrad foil commons sold for over $3,800. There are many more auctions to come, including some rare Magic: The Gathering sets that have come directly from Wizards of the Coast.
To augment the auctions and giveaways, no Desert Bus for Hope would be complete without live appearances from many big names in geekdom. So far, the event has seen appearances from Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame, Destructoid’s Jim Sterling, the voice of MST3K’s Tom Servo, Kevin Murphy, the legendary Tim Schafer, and many others. There are many more slated to make an appearance in the coming days of Desert Bus, including some unannounced mystery guests, so be sure to tune in to see more awesome interviews!
If you have some money to donate, be sure to head over to www.desertbus.org. Watch the team bus, spread the word, make a challenge request, or bid on an auction. It’s all for the children, and this year Child’s Play will certainly be putting many smiles on the faces of kids across the world. Come be a part of it!