A Lost NES Game Based On A Tom Cruise Classic Has Been Found And Restored From Old Floppy Discs

Days of Thunder, the 1990 Tom Cruise film, received a spin-off game on NES back in 1990–but a different game based on the movie that was in development was scrapped, and never saw the light of day. Now, 30 years later, this alternate version of Days of Thunder has been reconstructed into a playable title by video game historians.

Chris Oberth was working as a programmer at Mindscape in 1990, and thanks to The Video Game History Foundation a never-before-seen game by him has been reborn. Oberth passed away in 2012, and the VGHF was later approached by a friend of Oberth’s family asking if its members could “make sense” of some of the materials Oberth left behind. In early 2020, the foundation was granted access to Oberth’s materials, in which they discovered a disc labelled “NINTENDO HOT ROD TAXI FINAL”.

Oberth was known to have worked on an unreleased Days of Thunder game, thanks to a three-part interview with The Retrogaming Times, and after some investigation and sorting through materials the team found close to 40 floppy disks, containing multiple encrypted and split files that would need to be reconstructed to get the game properly running.

The full read is fascinating, but the long-story-short version is that they got the game up and running–you can check out footage from it below.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/63G9PrLLo_U

While the game’s source code will eventually be published, and you’ll likely eventually be able to play a ROM of the title, the game also received a short publishing run with the permission of Oberth’s family; those copies sold out very quickly.

If you want to support game preservation and history, The Video Game History Foundation has a Patreon and a donation page.

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