I'm riding the Desert Bus at 18:00 PST today

By Phil Plait | November 21, 2011 1:30 pm

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. Pacific (US) time (02:00 UTC) I’ll be participating in the Desert Bus campaign to raise money for Child’s Play, a charity that supports kids with cancer.

Desert Bus is a videogame produced as part of a package of minigames for Penn & Teller; in it you can drive a bus across the desert in real time. That’s it. Nothing of any real import happens in the game, ever. That’s the joke.

However, something of very large import indeed has come out of it. An internet comedy group started the Desert Bus for Hope campaign, where they play the game live-streamed over the ‘net continuously for days, raising money for Child’s Play, a charity which gives video games to sick kids. If you wonder why they would do that, then please please please read this blog post by my friend Liz Smith, who makes it very clear why this is important work.

Tonight, I’ll be doing a live video call-in to the Desert Bus folks, and I may just have some swag to send to someone who donates. You’ll have to tune in to find out. And if you miss me, there are lots of other cool kids calling in, like my man-crush Wil Wheaton, my woman crush Felicia Day, and two people I’d like to crush, Paul and Storm.

This is a fun chance to donate money to a really, really great charity, and help out kids who could really use it. That’s why I’m doing it, and I hope it’ll help raise some spirits. If you can, please help out.

[UPDATE: They have added a photo I took of some swag I am donating to a silent auction that will be held on Wednesday 11/23 at noon Pacific time.]


Comments (11)

  1. Calli Arcale

    You’re playing Desert Bus? Voluntarily? You masochist! ūüėÄ

    Actually, that’s a pretty awesome charity fundraiser idea. And an awesome charity. Studies have shown that video games decrease the pain children in hospitals experience, thereby improving their quality of life, and all without any drug side effects. And if nothing else, jeez, these kids are having a rotten time if they have to be in the hospital. Anything that helps make it a little more fun is a good thing.

    Drive on! And on, and on, and on, and on….

  2. Dr.Sid

    It’s not true that nothing happens. After 8 hour ride you reach your destination, and score 1 point. Then you can ride back.
    Also in roughly half of the trip a bug gets splashed all over the windscreen. It is actually visible in the screenshot. Rare sight !

  3. John O'Meara

    You’re doing the bus this year? Count my standard donation to those crazy folks doubled!

  4. BillTheCat

    Yay Phil! Desert Bus is always a fun time and gets a ton of money for a great cause. It’s great that you’re calling in.

  5. BillTheCat

    Oh, also note that if they don’t crash, at 6:20 or so they should reach one end of the journey and get another point, so be ready for that.

  6. linus

    If only it hadn’t been in the late hours of the night here in Denmark I would have been able to watch you answer questions and perhaps donate. But since I have to work tomorrow and 18:00 pst is 03:00 here…
    Have fun and get a lot of money for the bus.

  7. QuietDesperation

    Yeah… yeah… I’ll be in Skyrim, thanks anyway.

  8. Grand Lunar

    Sounds like fun stuff, Phil, and all for a good cause.

    So, riding a Desert Bus?
    All good and all, but why not one day introduce this game; “Riding Shai-Hulud”?

  9. TSC

    This was a really cool appearance, Phil!

  10. As I recall Penn said, at one of the TAM’s, that they developed the game in response to Hillary Clintons complaint that video games were not realistic.

  11. Pluto Animus

    The other part of this action-deprived video game is this:

    If you run out of gas, you get towed back. In real time.


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