Excitebike is iconic. Just about anyone that’s a fan of the NES knows about it, and will tell you how great it is. I’ll have to buck the trend say that it’s good, but not that good.
Excitebike is a very simple dirtbike racing game. you have a track that’s a straight line, but inexplicably loops back on itself. Along the way you have a series of ramps, hills, and puddles. The goal being to utilize the hit the jumps and your ‘turbo’ in such a way that you cruise over them without losing an appreciable amount of speed while simultaneously not overheating your engine or landing on your head.
You don’t win the race by beating everyone else, rather you win by having the best time. It’s splitting hairs, sure, but it means that they could have dispensed with the other riders on the track, since they don’t do anything but get in your way.
The real hook for this game is the track editor, where you get to play level designer and make your own custom tracks. This would have been a lot cooler if you could have actually saved the tracks to anything, but since we Americans did not get the Famicom’s disk drive your creations only lasted as long as you left your Nintendo turned on. More aggravating was the tantalizingly non-working button marked ’save’ that would actually bring up a screen that said ‘Saving’, but wasn’t doing anything.
I believe that has been removed in the rereleases.