Classic PC game by Bill Gates makes comeback on iPhone

It might be hard to believe nowadays, but there was a time when Bill Gates himself was writing the software at Microsoft, and one of his more masterful pieces of code was a game called DONKEY.BAS — a simple game, written in BASIC, that challenges the player to switch a car back and forth between lanes to avoid hitting a donkey.

It shipped more than three decades ago on early IBM PCs. And now it’s making a return, thanks to the developers at XVision, who recently released an updated version of DONKEY.BAS for the iPhone and iPad, selling for 99 cents.

XVision founder Johnny Ixe tells BGR that they did it as “a tribute to the original.”

Gates told the story of DONKEY.BAS at a 2001 Microsoft event.

[I]t was myself and Neil [Konzen] at four in the morning with this prototype IBM PC sitting in this small room. IBM insisted that we had to have a lock on the door and we only had this closet that had a lock on it, so we had to do all our development in there and it was always over 100 degrees, but we wrote late at night a little application to show what the Basic built into the IBM PC could do. And so that was Donkey.bas. It was at the time very thrilling.

No word on how Gates feels about the remake, but he could always revive another classic in response.

  • Guest

    I find this to be a disgusting profiteering move by XVision. None of the proceeds from sales of this unauthorized clone will be going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. One can’t simply call a ripoff a “tribute” and profit from others’ creativity.

    • Guest

      Thanks Bill. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donovan-Kliegg/100001187341261 Donovan Kliegg

      I suppose you could implement “Good Donkey” that makes transfer payments right into Gates foundation accounts.  It’s not a difficult game to write.  The charitable aspect would be a competitive factor.

      As far as IP theft goes, I hardly think an IOS Donkey would come close by any legal metric.  

  • Ed Cune

    Donkey was only worth playing if you had absolutely no other video games for your PC such as was my situation when I first setup my PCjr back in the day.