Using Windows 3.11 and Quick Basic in 2018 (Updated)

It all started with a post on Twitter. I came upon a post in which the source code for a game called Gorillas was linked to.

This was a game written in Quick Basic, which Microsoft developed in 1990. The game is similar to Scorched Earth which was released a year later, but instead of tanks shooting missiles at each other, gorillas would throw deadly bananas that exploded.

Gorillas by Microsoft (1990)

Gorillas in QuickBasic

Of course I could simply run the game as a compliled .exe-file, but where is the fun in that.

I wanted to open the source file and run this code within DOS, using Quick Basic, which I used myself back in the 90s. My grandfather game me my first computer when I was 14, an Olivetti 80386 computer running MS-DOS and Windows 3.11, which would change my life for good.

QuickBasic 4.50

Back then, I spent a lot of time in Quick Basic, playing around, learning how to code, making text-based adventure games, simple graphics or short tunes.

Update: Download gorilla.bas source code for Quick Basic 4.5 (change .txt til .bas) and download Quick Basic 4.5 here.

Microsoft Windows 3.11

Spending time in Microsoft Windows 3.11 again now, 24 years later really brings back good memories.

Microsoft Windows 3.11

Installing Windows 3.11 on a modern computer

To install Quick Basic in DOS today I used a version called DOSBox, which is a nice way to emulate MS-DOS in an already running operating system.

After installing DOSBox in my Linux computer, I downloaded a Norwegian version of Windows 3.1 from here and Windows 3.11 here.

Installing Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11 is available for free after all these years and a lot easier to install from a folder, than using eight floppy discs.

Windows 3.11 also comes with three games: Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts.

I used to love playing Hearts at my Olivetti computer.

Playing Hearts in Windows 3.11

A missing menu bar

Clicking around on this old version of Windows makes me see how used I’ve become to having a clock and a menu bar around. This is something Microsoft first introduced in Windows 95, their next version after 3.11.

I also read recently that Microsoft on purpose included the games Minesweeper and Solitaire in early versions of Windows to train users using a peripherical mouse. Drag and drop and left/right-clicking was a new experience for people:

The intention was that Solitaire would get a generation of computer users still most familiar with a command-line input to teach themselves how to drag and drop, without realizing that’s what they were doing. The fact that we’re still dragging and dropping today suggests that it worked rather well.

Games in Windows 3.11