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Never-released NES game reconstructed from decades-old floppy disks

The source code from 30-year-old floppy disks has been reassembled into Days of Thunder, a never-released NES game co-authored by the late game developer Chris Oberth from Mindscape. Check up top for the first footage of the game in over 30 years.

Oberth's family lent the files to the Video Game History Foundation, which was able to put together a working version of the game decades after it was scrapped for unknown reasons and replaced with a different Days of Thunder from Beam Software.

Oberth is known for designing the arcade game Anteater, as well as his work on Winter Games for Commodore 64 and dozens of other titles from different publishers. The video game programmer and designer died in 2012.

Earlier this year, a friend of Oberth's family contacted the VGHF in an effort to identify the work materials he'd left behind, which included almost 40 floppy disks from around 1990. You can read all about the in-depth technical processes of resurrecting a 30-year-old game on the historical foundation's website (opens in new tab).

Thanks to the efforts of Oberth's family, the VGHF, and everyone involved, Mindscape's Days of Thunder is now available for pre-order as a playable NES cartridge via This Room is an Illusion (opens in new tab), who's pledged to direct all proceeds to Oberth's surviving family. VGHF founder Frank Cifaldi also says buildable source code is soon to be published on GitHub, with permission from Oberth's family.

Seeing a piece of video game history come to life for the first time is astounding, and it's even cooler that the source code is going public. Cifaldi told Polygon (opens in new tab) that the code is key to understanding the unbiased story behind a game's development from that time. Cheers, VGHF, for the valuable work and best wishes in future efforts.

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Jordan Gerblick
Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.