Desert Bus For Hope Rides Again for the Third Year

[show=desertbus size=large]Pop quiz: Does the Canadian sketch comedy troupe Loading Ready Run have:

a) A great big heart?
b) A major masochistic streak?
c) Both?

The correct answer is probably C, as for the third year in a row, the gang has come together in one room to spend endless days and nights playing Desert Bus, the world’s most boring video game, to raise money for Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity initiative.

By live-streaming the adventure online for a sadistic audience, they’ve been able to encourage donations — the more donated, the longer they have to play the game — not only through their continued game play but their incorporation of stunts, contests reader requests and special guest “appearances.”

Wil Wheaton called into this year’s marathon to answer viewer questions, and Elevator Show creator Woody Tondorf actually went up to Victoria, British Columbia (where the marathon is taking place), to participate in the festivities. As I’ve checked in on them over the past 24 hours, the live feed has rarely dipped below a thousand viewers, thanks most likely to the fact that the on-screen action is never dull: When all else fails, there’s always an opening for a viewer-requested sing-a-long, with musical selections ranging from N’Sync to Queen to a Newfoundland folk song.

Last year, the boys managed to earn $70,423 American; this year, as of this writing, they’ve played for almost five days so far and earned almost $90,000. It’s an amazing achievement for such a bizarre task (for a taste of just how boring this game is, a browser version was recently created by LRR fan RogerExplosion). But it makes sense when you watch the Driver Cam and check out the official blog, where viewers watching live are able to engage with the guys, heckling them when appropriate but otherwise egging them on.

So if you’re reading this on Wednesday, Nov. 25th, that means you’re just in time to experience the final leg — according to the LoadingReadyRun Twitter account, they’re hoping to wrap up sometime early Thursday morning. If you don’t feel like waking up that early, though, you could always go donate some money — you never know how much longer they might end up going.