Donkey 1981

Donkey, often known by its file name DONKEY.BAS, was a computer game written in 1981 and included with early versions of the PC-DOS operating system distributed with the original IBM PC. It is a driving game in which the player must avoid hitting donkeys. While extremely simple compared to later PC games, and to games available for other systems at the time of its release, DONKEY.BAS is arguably a predecessor of all IBM PC games. The game is also notable because it was co-written by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

When IBM was developing the PC in the late 1970s and early 1980s it contracted Microsoft to develop an operating system and a version of the BASIC programming language to release with the new computer. The operating system was released as PC-DOS when included with IBM PCs and MS-DOS when sold separately by Microsoft. Both included versions of Microsoft BASIC.

DONKEY.BAS was written by Bill Gates and Neil Konzen to demonstrate the IBM PC and the BASIC programming language's capability to produce interactive programs with color graphics and sound.

The game continues to generate interest in part because of the involvement of Gates at a time when Microsoft was relatively small and only six years old. According to a speech delivered by Gates in 2001:

“Actually, it was myself and Neil Thompson [sic] 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 101 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.”

The first version of DONKEY.BAS was released in 1981, followed by version 1.10 in 1982. Although the operating systems with which the game was first distributed do not work on modern computers, the source code is still available. The game can still be played with the QBasic interpreter (a later version of the interpreters with which DONKEY.BAS was included) or in compiled form (see "external links" below).

Source: Wikipedia


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