Skip to main content

Go read this story about how a lost NES game was recovered after 30 years

Go read this story about how a lost NES game was recovered after 30 years


Days of Thunder was found hidden among nearly 40 floppy disks of data

Share this story

Digital archivists working with the Video Game History Foundation have discovered a previously lost NES game based on the 1990 film Days of Thunder. The game was co-authored by Chris Oberth, a developer known for the arcade games Anteater, Time Killers, World Class Bowling, and Winter Games for the Commodore 64. Preservationist Rich Whitehouse has written about his weeks-long journey to resurrect the long-lost title, and the saga is worth a read for anyone interested in the challenges of finding and preserving old games.

Oberth died in 2012, but he left behind a trove of old computer hardware from his time as a developer. Then, earlier this year, the hardware was donated to the Video Game History Foundation in the hopes that the nonprofit organization could help to make sense of it.

In early 2020, The Video Game History Foundation was approached by a friend of Oberth’s surviving family to help them make sense of the materials he had left behind. Untouched for years in the home basement he often worked from were piles of old computers, CD-R backups, floppy disks, notes, cassettes, EPROMs, and data tape going back to his earliest Apple II work in the late 70s, which his family agreed to loan to us for evaluation.

After discovering an early proof of concept for a NES game, the team realized that Oberth had previously briefly mentioned an unreleased game he’d worked on that was based on the film Days of Thunder. With that in mind, the team turned their attention to a pile of nearly 40 floppy disks where they thought the source code for the game might be located. 

There were numerous problems standing in their way, however. For starters, they contained backups that had been split across multiple disks and encrypted. Oberth had labeled the disks with the software he’d used to back up the files, but even then, the software couldn’t recognize the files when emulated in DOSBox, meaning the team had to reassemble old hardware to get it to work.

You’ll have to read the writeup for the full details on how the team eventually managed to piece together all of the data, but it wasn’t an easy process. Eventually, they succeeded, and they were left with a fully constructed NES ROM over 30 years after it was developed.

Since these are digital archivists we’re talking about, naturally, the next stage is to publish the source code so that it’s publicly available. Whitehouse tells Polygon that they’re planning to put buildable source code on GitHub “in a week or so.” Separately, a group of retro gaming enthusiasts has plans to publish a small print run of the game on playable NES cartridges to raise money for Oberth’s wife. For now, the story of its discovery is well worth a read.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed An hour ago Not just you

Thomas RickerAn hour ago
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.