DONKEY.BAS For iOS Revives DOS Game Co-Created by Bill Gates

Developer XVision on Friday released DONKEY.BAS at the iOS App Store. The retro game recreates a PC-DOS game co-created by Bill Gates in 1981 to show off what the Microsoft BASIC programming language could do. The .BAS file extension indicated that it was BASIC program, so while the game was called Donkey, it was more commonly known as DONKEY.BAS.

DONKEY.BAS simply requires the player to avoid donkeys that randomly appear in the middle of the road. The player needs to tap the screen in time to avoid the donkey. The game supports GameCenter and has 14 achievements. It sells for US$0.99.

Over at, an Andy Hertzfeld article looks back on DONKEY.BAS, which the Mac team at Apple examined when it bought an IBM PC for evaluation. “It came with some games written in BASIC that were especially embarrassing,” Mr. Hertzfeld recalls.

He goes on to write: “The most embarrassing game was a lo-res graphics driving game called ‘Donkey’ … We thought the concept of the game was as bad the crude graphics that it used … We were surprised to see that the comments at the top of the game proudly proclaimed the authors: Bill Gates and Neil Konzen … We were amazed that such a thoroughly bad game could be co-authored by Microsoft’s co-founder, and that he would actually want to take credit for it in the comments.”