Children of the 1990s rejoice: an unreleased Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game based on the 1990 film "Days of Thunder" has been discovered and reconstructed by digital archivists at the Video Game History Foundation.
As explained by The Verge, the game was co-authored by Chris Oberth, a developer who worked on numerous titles. Oberth died in 2012, leaving behind a collection of old computer hardware that was eventually donated to the Video Game History Foundation.
The team that combed through the piles of old computers, floppy disks, and other materials noted that Oberth had previously mentioned on working a game based on "Days of Thunder," which starred Tom Cruise as NASCAR driver Cole Trickle. They turned to a pile of nearly 40 floppy disks, which they thought might contain the game's source code.
Reconstructing the game was an arduous process. The necessary information was encrypted and spread across multiple disks. The team also needed to recommission period computers to get everything to work. A full write-up on the Video Game History Foundation's website has all the details.
With the game reconstructed, gamers may finally be able to drop the hammer on an 8-bit NASCAR track after 30 years.
The accompanying video shows some of the game play. The game has a garage element where the car can be fixed and the chassis adjusted, 14 tracks to choose from, first- and third-person game views, pit stops, and podiums.
Rich Whitehouse, the game preservationist who led the project, told Polygon that buildable source code will be available on GitHub "in a week or so." Working independently of the Video Game History Foundation, a group of game enthusiasts plans to publish a small print run of the "Days of Thunder" game on NES cartridges, with proceeds going to Oberth's widow.