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How a mind-numbing video game became the centerpiece of a popular charity

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Desert Bus
Desert Bus

What started as a satire against the anti-video game lobby has turned into an annual tradition that has raised over a million dollars for charity. The New Yorker has the story of the rise of Desert Bus, an excruciating video game created by illusionists Penn and Teller that simulates, in real time, an 8-hour road trip from Tucson, Arizona to to Las Vegas, Nevada with no breaks or cheats. The game is now the heart of Desert Bus for Hope, an annual video game live-streaming event where a team of gamers play Desert Bus non-stop for a length of time determined by the total money raised. Each year garners more money than the last, with the upcoming stream on November 16th already raising over $440,000 against last year's $383,125.10. Since the video game is so monotonous, the fundraiser is more of an endurance test, with pledgers donating money and tuning into the stream to simply watch the suffering, the slow point accumulation, and the seemingly endless desert road.