Days of Thunder (2011 video game)

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Days of Thunder
NASCAR Edition logo
Developer(s)Piranha Games
Publisher(s)Paramount Digital Entertainment,
505 Games (PS3 version bundled with film)
SeriesDays of Thunder
Platform(s)PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ReleasePlayStation 3
  • NA: February 22, 2011
Xbox 360
  • NA: February 25, 2011
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Days of Thunder (known as Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition on the PlayStation 3 and Days of Thunder: Arcade on the Xbox 360) is a stock car racing video game produced by Paramount Digital Entertainment and developed by Piranha Games for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released February 22, 2011 on the PlayStation 3 and February 25, 2011 on the Xbox 360. It is a spinoff of the 1990 film Days of Thunder in which the player is a rookie driver coached by Rowdy Burns, the antagonist from the film. The game received very little critical feedback; those that did review the game had generally negative commentary. Reviewers felt that the cars handled unrealistically, but one reviewer noted that some issues could be fixed with a patch.


Days of Thunder was created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the film.

The PlayStation 3 version of the game includes 12 NASCAR sanctioned tracks, among them Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, and more than 12 select NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, including Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.[1] All versions feature the Days of Thunder characters Cole Trickle, Rowdy Burns, and Russ Wheeler. The Xbox 360 version does not feature NASCAR branding or drivers, but still features fictional drivers from the film.[2]

Both versions feature a single player season and multiplayer support for up to twelve players.[3] Days of Thunder has four different game modes: Quick Race, Time Trial, Career, with circuits of varying difficulty, and Derby Mode, where players are encouraged to deal as much damage as they can.[4] Three basic vehicle types are available in the game; Accelerators are lighter cars with increased speed but are more susceptible to damage, Intimidators are heavier and more capable of handling damage, but have a lower top speed, finally Regulators have a medium weight, medium top speed, and have average damage resistance.[5]

Sponsorships with racing teams can be earned by playing through the game and completing challenges. When a sponsor is earned a new paint livery is unlocked for the player to customize their stock car with. Players can have up to five different saved cars, and each car can feature a different paint scheme and sponsorship. The sponsorship benefits are cosmetic only. Matthew Newman, Producer at Piranha Games stated that the game "is not a simulation, we chose to let the player unlock all the sponsors and race for whichever sponsor they choose in single player and multi player."[6]


Michael Rooker, who played the character Rowdy Burns in the film, returns to voice the player character's crew chief

Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition was announced for the PlayStation 3 on June 11, 2010.[7] The Xbox 360 Arcade version was announced on October 27, 2010.[8] In an interview with producer Jeff Dickson, the history behind the game was revealed. The game was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Days of Thunder film. The NASCAR Edition is intended to be a union of NASCAR and the film, and features drivers from the movie as well as NASCAR drivers from the past and present (Hendrick Motorsports was actively involved in the film during 1989 and 1990 filmings, providing cars and technical support; also the film's storyline was based on a former Hendrick driver).[3] Both versions of the game were designed with arcade-based gameplay. During development trailers fictional drivers had liveries coinciding with Paramount Pictures and Days of Thunder, as well as other Paramount Pictures films such as Top Gun, Transformers and Iron Man 2.[9] At release only the Days of Thunder, Paramount Pictures, and other fictional racing liveries/sponsors remained.[10] Michael Rooker returns to voice the character Rowdy Burns in the game.[10]

When asked why the game would not be a simulation, Dickson replied, "Well, we wanted to stay away from that because the games that are out there that do that do it well."[3] Developer Piranha Games wanted to ensure that players spent most of their time on the track, so aside from visual modifications, the ability to customize cars is limited. "We don't want you to spend lots of time outside the game, we want you on the race track," stated Dickson.[3] The AI drivers in the game were designed to adapt to the player's typical racing style. "If you're kind of an aggressive driver, they're gonna drive aggressive against you," Dickson remarked.[3] The game was released exclusively in North American regions for the PlayStation 3 on February 22, 2011,[11] and for the Xbox 360 on February 25, 2011.[12] A retail version of the PlayStation 3 version was bundled with the Blu-ray of the namesake movie, released on June 7, 2011.[13] Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows versions were planned, but eventually cancelled.[5]


Aggregate score
GameRankings60% (PS3)[14]
25% (X360)[15]
Review scores
OXM (UK)2/10 (UK)[15]
OXM (US)(X360) 3/10[15]
PSNStores(PS3) 3/5 stars[16]

Days of Thunder received very little critical reception, with only one review published for the PlayStation 3 NASCAR Edition and very few published for the Xbox 360 Arcade version. Of the reviews published critics gave generally negative reviews. The PlayStation 3 version single GameRankings score comes from the reviewer from PSNStores, who gave the game a 3/5.[14] The critic gave high marks for the PlayStation 3 version's inclusion of real-world NASCAR drivers, but was disappointed in the lack of customization.[16] Two scores were reported at GameRankings for the Xbox 360 version, from the US and UK editions of Official Xbox Magazine. The scored the game a 3/10 and 2/10, respectively.[15]

Scott Ellison of Saving Content panned the PlayStation 3 version of the game. He stated "simply put, do not buy this game."[17] Steve Melton of XBLA Fans agreed. He felt that with a title update the game could improve, but that it felt "like it was a contract job."[18] The vehicle physics and handling were particular points of negative commentary. Ellison said that "the cars feel as if they don’t have any weight to them."[17] Melton concurred and added that the handling was overly sensitive. "Sneeze and the car’ll be in the wall", he stated.[18] Melton did concede that the steering could be adjusted in the game's options, but that the default configuration would dissuade most players from even looking there.[18] In the May 2011 issue of Official Xbox Magazine the game also received extremely poor reception. The reviewer stated "Do yourself a favor: stay as far away from this wreck as possible."[19]


  1. ^ "All-New Driver Reveals for Upcoming 'Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition'". IGN. October 5, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  2. ^ Ransom-Wiley, James (October 27, 2010). "Days of Thunder: NOTNASCAR Edition coming to XBLA 'this winter'". Joystiq. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Inside Gaming Plus E3 2010: Days of Thunder Nascar Interview w Jeff Dickson". via YouTube. June 23, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Bailey, Kat (June 11, 2010). "Days of Thunder: Nascar Edition announced for PS3". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Days of Thunder - Key Features". Piranha Games. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  6. ^ Video Game News Staff. "Days of Thunder NASCAR Edition Sponsorship Details". Gamer's Daily News. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  7. ^ Bailey, Kat (June 11, 2010). "Days of Thunder: Nascar Edition Announced for PS3". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Pereira, Chris (October 27, 2010). "Days of Thunder: Arcade Headed to XBLA This Winter". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "Days of Thunder - Debut Gameplay Movie". IGN. February 1, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Piranha Games (February 22, 2011). Days of Thunder. Paramount Digital Entertainment.
  11. ^ "Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition". GameSpy. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Hryb, Larry (February 25, 2011). "Arcade: Days of Thunder:Arcade". Major Nelson's blog. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Richard (June 4, 2011). "Days of Thunder/Top Gun movie and game hybrid Blu-rays coming". Joystiq. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition Reviews and Articles for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d "Days of Thunder: Arcade Reviews and Articles for Xbox 360". GameRankings. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Brad T (December 2, 2011). "Review: Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition". Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  17. ^ a b Ellison II, Scott (March 2011). "Days of Thunder: Arcade Review". Saving Content. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c Melton, Steve (March 5, 2011). "Days of Thunder Arcade review (XBLA)". XBLAFans. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  19. ^ "Official Xbox Magazine" May 2011

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