First IBM PC Game Ever Comes As iOS App

DONKEY.BAS, an iOS game inspired from the first PC game ever, which was co-written by Bill Gates, is something nostalgics will definitely enjoy.

This iOS game, which was developed by XVision, was found via Daily Mail. It bears the same name as the original, which was created  in 1981 by Bill Gates in cooperation with Neil Konzen for MS-DOS (MicroSoft Disk Operating System).

The goal of this 2D racing game is the same as in the original. Users need to avoid donkeys by alternating the lanes on which they drive. In the iOS version, changing the lanes is done by tapping the screen. However, the rules differ a bit from Bill Gates` creation. While in the MS-DOS game hitting 3 donkeys would terminate the game, in the iOS version the users get 5 chances. DONKEY.BAS comes with support for GameCenter and includes 14 achievements. As the level gets higher, the speed of the car increases and gamers have to pay more attention in order to avoid the cars in due time.

In 2001, Bill Gates made the following statement in regard to the original DONKEY.BAS:

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 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.

On the other hand, Andy Hertzfeld, who worked for the Macintosh division of Apple in the ’80s, said the following, upon evaluating an IBM PC at that time:

It came with some games written in BASIC that were especially embarrassing […] 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.

It is pretty obvious that the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple has been pretty harsh from the very beginning. Somehow, it is a bit ironic now that a game co-written by Microsoft’s founder gets to be played on Apple devices.

DONKEY.BAS has been available in the iTunes App Store since January 27, and it can be purchased at the modest price of $0.99.

If you liked this post, please check this Mac dating game featuring Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and the pirate fight with the same protagonists.