Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

Donkey

Posted by Tracy Poff on January 1, 2008

After far too long a break, a new game. Or, rather, quite an old one: Donkey, written in 1981 by Bill Gates.

Donkey was written1 as a way to showcase the capabilities of the BASIC programming language which shipped with new IBM PCs. Therefore one might expect it to be a very simple game–and simple it is:

The object is to avoid the donkeys in the road as you drive. The controls consist of only a single button, the space bar, which is used to switch lanes. Each time you successfully pass a donkey, your car moves a bit closer to the top of the screen, so that it will be more difficult to switch in time to miss the next one. If you hit a donkey, the donkeys are given a point, you explode, and you start over:

Every eleventh donkey that you pass, you are reset to the center of the screen and given a point. The game keeps track of the score, but there’s no particular reward for reaching any certain score; the game just continues until you exit. As simple and unrewarding as this game is, that’s likely to be fairly soon after starting.

Update: I’ve added a video demonstrating the gameplay below.

Download the game here.


  1. According to Wikipedia, which has a lengthy article, if you’d like to read more. 
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