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In 2007, Victoria sketch comedy group LoadingReadyRun organized a gaming marathon for the benefit of Child's Play, a charity helping children's hospitals. The game used; Desert Bus, a bus-driving "verisimulator" that has the player drive from Tucson to Las Vegas (and back). This takes about 8 real-life hours. A one-way trip scores a point. The game cannot be paused. Going off the road or stopping results in the motor overheating and a tow truck dragging your bus back to the starting point in real time.And the bus veers slightly to the right, requiring constant player supervision.To spare their sanity, LoadingReadyRun organized the fundraiser so that each consecutive hour "cost" 7% more than the previous hour, starting at US $1 for the first hour. So for them to continue playing after 5 hours, for example, $5.75 (or 1+1.07+1.15+1.21+1.31) would have needed to be donated by that time through the desertbus.org website. The first time around, they hoped for $5,000 in donations. They got $22,805. The total has climbed every year; 2013's Desert Bus 7 raised ... a little more. $523,348, to be exact. Enough to buy almost 6 and a half days of solid bussing. 2014's Desert Bus 8 raised $635,415, breaking the $2,000,000 mark for lifetime donations.But the real key to the success of Desert Bus For Hope is not the schadenfreude resulting from donating to a good cause to make gamers suffer, it's because they stream their experience live and have a dedicated IRC channel, which allows viewers to interact with the on-duty driver and attending hangers on. Plus, for enough money, fans can issue "challenges" to the team. This has led to all sorts of memorable shenanigans.
For Desert Bus 5, Matt insisted that he only go and see Breaking Dawn if Desert Bus For Hope could reach $500,000 lifetime donations (which required about $57,000 this year) within 36 hours of the marathon starting. If they did it within 24 hours (James's shift), James would have to go and see it with him. The donations almost made it within the 24-hour mark, and James agreed to see it anyway.
Rocks Fall Everybody Dies: In Desert Bus 4, the crew ran a Pathfinder game involving Lava Bears. At one stage, they activated a trap and lava fell from the ceiling. Almost total party kill. This suits this trope particularly well, because what is lava? Molten rocks.
Sharp-Dressed Man: In a room full of people wearing t-shirts and jeans who possibly hadn't changed their clothes since the day before it was rather noticeable when Cameron Lauder would repeatedly show up in at least a button-down and slacks during Desert Bus 5.
Reached its logical conclusion in Desert Bus 6 with everyone dressed their dapperest during Cam's shift and a lengthy segment given by him on men's fashion.
In Desert Bus 6, Cam put down a challenge to the chat: if the donation total hit $100,000 during his driving shift, he would eat a spoonful of mayonnaise, the food he hates most in the world. Two custom N7 leather jackets were being auctioned for over $14,000 total. By 5 PM Moonbase time, Cam was eating mayo.
To the Pain: Donating with one hour left on the clock, which happened during Desert Bus 5 so that the team had to bus for a whole extra hour, giving them time to wrap things up.
Videogame Cruelty Potential: Penny Arcade's posts promoting Desert Bus For Hope quickly turned to the theme of "Dance, monkey, dance!" They even promised to match the donation total (up to a chosen threshold) as part of "Operation Infinite Bus".
Tycho: It is our objective to make these people drive until driving that Goddamned bus is the only life they can remember. We will match all donations to Desert Bus For Hope, starting now, until we reach a cap of ten thousand dollars... Think of it like a buff for your donations, an augmentation for your generosity. Also, think of it as creating a prison, a prison made of money, from which these young men may never escape.
Unusual Euphemism: Since it's for the children, cursing is replaced by variants on "bus".