RetroVision – Desert Bus for Hope Returns

Desert Bus for Hope is back, for the ninth consecutive year.  Originally set up by internet comedy group LoadingReadyRun, this marathon gaming session sees a series of gamers dedicate themselves to one of the most excruciating games of all time, Desert Run. So, why would people do this to themselves?

Well, it’s all for a good cause, with all of the money raised going to the charity Child’s Play.  Child’s Play donates toys and video games to children’s hospitals all around the world, and is certainly a worthwhile cause.  In fact, as of last year, Child’s Play has donated goods to the value of $33.6 million dollars to sick and ill children.  In fact, Desert Bus for hope alone has raised more than $2.4 million of that total over its eight-year history, and is now a key sponsor of the charity.

Desert Bus for Hope
Desert Bus for Hope 9 Logo

For those wondering what makes Desert Bus so bad, well let me ask you a question.  How much do you like real time simulations of the desert bus route between Tucson and Las Vegas?  Oh, and if you’re thinking “this is a game, there’s got to be more to it than simply driving a bus for hours on end”, then you’d be dead wrong.  In fact, the title itself takes eight hours of continuous play to complete, with the bus having a maximum speed of 45 MPH.  Not only this, but you won’t even find a pause feature, as there’s no pausing real life after all.

Developed back in the early 90s as part of an unreleased compilation of games starring comedy-magician duo Penn & Teller, Desert Bus was always considered a trick mini game, In fact it was designed to be bad right from the start.  However, of these mini-games, Desert Bus specifically found its way into the public’s hands.  Eventually coming to be remembered as an individual title rather than a mini game, despite the poor nature of its gameplay.

Desert Bus
Gameplay footage from Desert Bus. It doesn’t change much over the course of the game.

Here at Rings & Coins, we’ll be looking at Penn & Teller’s unreleased title in much more detail very soon, and with it of course Desert Bus.  However, if in the meantime you want to both see more of the infamous title, and help raise some money for charity, then head over to Desert Bus For Hope’s Twitch stream.  As I write this, the guys are closing in on the 30th hour out of 131 total planned hours.  So only just over 100 hours of pure bus driving joy left.

Desert Bus may have originally been designed as trick to play on poor unsuspecting gamers.  Yet thanks to Desert Bus for Hope, it has now become a force for good, with gamers battling through the pain and torture, all for an excellent cause year after year.  Here’s to many more years of Desert Bus marathons.  Though I can honestly say, I never thought I’d say that.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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