Excitebike

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Excitebike
Excitebike cover.jpg
North American artwork
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Producer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Designer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Programmer(s)Toshihiko Nakago
Composer(s)Akito Nakatsuka
Soyo Oka (FDS version)
SeriesExcite
Platform(s)
Release
  • Famicom/NES
    • JP: November 28, 1984[1]
    • USA: October 18, 1985
    • CAN: February 3, 1986
    • EU: September 1, 1986
    Arcade (Vs. Excitebike)
  • List of re-releases
    • NEC PC-8801:
      • JP: October 1985
    • Sharp X1:
    • Famicom Disk System:
      • JP: December 9, 1988
    • Game Boy Advance:
      • JP: February 14, 2004
      • NA: June 2, 2004
      • EU: July 9, 2004
    • Nintendo 3DS:
      • WW: June 6, 2011
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

Excitebike[a] is a motocross racing video game developed and published by Nintendo. In Japan, it was released for the Famicom in 1984 and then ported to arcades as Vs. Excitebike for the Nintendo Vs. System later that year. In North America, it was initially released for arcades in 1985 and then as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System later that year, becoming one of the best selling games on the console. It is the first game in the Excite series.

Designed and directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, the smooth side-scrolling game engine his team developed for Excitebike was later used to develop Super Mario Bros. (1985), which had the effect of Mario smoothly accelerating from a walk to a run, rather than move at a constant speed.

Excitebike was a critical and commercial success. It spawned several sequels and has been re-released multiple times onto other Nintendo platforms, such the Wii and Wii U via the Virtual Console and Nintendo Switch via Nintendo Switch Online.

Gameplay[edit]

The player jumps high above the computer racers.

Excitebike is a side-scrolling racing game in which the player takes control of a motocross racer. The game features two gameplay modes named Selection A and Selection B. Selection A is a solo race run, while Selection B puts the racer against computer-controlled opponents. The objective of the game is to finish in third place or higher in a preliminary race to qualify for the Excitebike championship race.[4] The A button accelerates the bike, while the B button activates a turbo boost that enhances the bike's speed, but overheats the engine if it is used for too long, forcing an immobile cooldown period.[5] The engine's temperature can be reset by driving over arrows located along the course.[4] The player can use the directional pad to shift between lanes, as well as shift the racer's balance midair after a jump.[5] Landing squarely on both wheels allows the racer to maintain their momentum, while an uneven landing will result in a loss of speed or a crash.[4] Excitebike features a Design Mode that allows players to create their own tracks using 19 types of hurdles.[6] The Design Mode has options to save and load created tracks for the Famicom Data Recorder, which was unreleased outside Japan.[7]

Other releases[edit]

Vs. Excitebike[edit]

There are two enhanced versions, both titled Vs. Excitebike.

The first version was released on VS. UniSystem for arcades in 1984, after the Famicom release. It is similar to its Famicom Disk System counterpart, though this version lacks the Design option, has three difficulty levels, and has other minor differences.

The second was released for the Famicom Disk System peripheral in 1988. The graphics and core gameplay are still the same, the FDS version has several distinctive features that the NES and arcade versions lack:

  • The game features a versus mode named "Vs. Excite", in which two players compete against each other. The options include the maximum number of rounds to play, the track, and the number of laps.
  • The music is completely different; none of the songs from the original game are present, and it has a gameplay theme. The music is composed by Soyo Oka.[8]
  • The "Original Excite" mode is based on the main mode of the arcade version, with minor differences such as a different color palette.
  • Its rewritable disk format also allows the player to save created tracks.

Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium[edit]

Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium,[b] also known as Mario Excite Bike or BS Excitebike, is for the Japan-only Satellaview peripheral for Super Famicom. As a remake of Excitebike, the human racers have been replaced by Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Wario, Toad, and some of Bowser's Koopa Troopas. The concept was unchanged except for a "SUPER" mode where the player has unlimited turbo, and coins spread across the courses to increase top speed.

Re-releases[edit]

Excitebike was added to the European Wii Virtual Console on February 16, 2007, the same day its spiritual successor, Excite Truck, was released there. The game was later added to the North American Virtual Console on March 19.[9] It was re-released in North America for the Wii U Virtual Console on April 26, 2013.[10] 3D Classics: Excitebike was released on the Nintendo 3DS as a launch game for the Nintendo eShop in America, Japan and Europe; the game was initially offered for free for a period but then was sold at £5.40 / €6.00 for European markets[11] and $5.99 in the US.[12] It features 3D stereoscopic support and analog control support. This release was featured among other games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES to be released for the 3DS on a tech demo called Classic Games at E3 2010.[13][14] It allows the player to save up to 32 custom created tracks that can be played in either 2D or 3D.[15] It is one of 30 in the NES Classic Edition and Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System released by Nintendo on November 11, 2016.[16] Excitebike was released on the Nintendo Switch in the Nintendo eShop on 21 September 2018 by Hamster Corporation as part of the Arcade Archives series.[17]

Reception[edit]

In Japan, Game Machine listed VS. Excitebike on its January 15, 1985 issue as the fifth most-successful table arcade unit of the month.[28] In North America, the game was number 13 on the RePlay arcade software charts in December 1985.[29] It ended the year as America's second highest-grossing arcade system game of 1985, below Nintendo's Hogan's Alley.[30]

The game has received generally positive reviews. Allgame gave Excitebike its highest possible rating of five stars. The review referred to the game as a "staple of any NES collection", praising its graphics as cute and its control as simple that still require strategy to apply properly. The review noted the design mode, as "the first of its kind in a console game, and greatly extends the life of the title by featuring 19 different components you can piece together to build your own course".[20] IGN praised the NES version in 2007: "One of the original NES games, Excitebike was one hell of a ride 23 years ago — and it still is today." IGN praised it as "ridiculously addictive" and that it "proves video games don't need to have flashy graphics or complex AI to actually be fun. Sure, there are other racing games out there today, hundreds of them. This one may not necessarily be better than the recent stuff, but it's unique, addictive, and demonstrates what gaming is really about".[25] IGN ranked Excitebike as the 14th best NES game.[31] GamesRadar ranked it as the 12th best game on the NES Classic Edition, saying that it has aged well with "a great sense of speed while driving and an excellent sense of balance while jumping and landing".[32] Game Informer ranked the game 44 on its top 100 games of all time.[33]

Kotaku editor Jason Schreier ranked it as the worst game on the NES Classic Edition, calling it "a truly awful video game" but with no explanation.[34]

Legacy[edit]

The side-scrolling gameplay of Excitebike was key to the development of Super Mario Bros. (1985). The same Miyamoto-led team that developed Excitebike went on to develop a 1985 NES port of side-scrolling beat 'em up arcade game Kung-Fu Master (1984) called Kung Fu. Miyamoto's team used the technical knowledge they had gained from working on both side-scrollers to further advance the platforming "athletic game" genre they had created with Donkey Kong (1981) and were key steps towards Miyamoto's vision of an expansive side-scrolling platformer.[35][36] While working on Excitebike and Kung Fu, he devised the concept of a platformer in which the player can "strategize while scrolling sideways" over long distances, and has colorful backgrounds rather than black.[37] Super Mario Bros. utilized the fast scrolling game engine Miyamoto's team had originally developed for Excitebike, which allowed Mario to smoothly accelerate from a walk to a run, rather than move at a constant speed like in earlier platformers.[38]

Excitebike spawned a number of sequels, including Excitebike 64 (2000), Excite Truck (2006), Excitebots: Trick Racing (2009), and the WiiWare game Excitebike: World Rally (2009). An Excitebike-themed track is downloadable content in Mario Kart 8.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: エキサイトバイク, Hepburn: Ekisaitobaiku
  2. ^ Japanese: エキサイトバイク ぶんぶんマリオバトルスタジアム, Hepburn: Ekisaito Baiku: Bunbun Mario Batoru Sutajiamu

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Excitebike (Registration Number PA0000254906)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ^ Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 128. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  3. ^ Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 57. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  4. ^ a b c Nintendo 1985, pp. 5–9.
  5. ^ a b Nintendo 1985, pp. 3–4.
  6. ^ Nintendo 1985, pp. 9–12.
  7. ^ a b Scullion, Chris (2019). The NES Encyclopedia. Pen & Sword Books. p. 72. ISBN 9781526737809.
  8. ^ Oka, Soyo (March 2011). Greening, Chris (ed.). "Game Music :: Interview with Soyo Oka (March 2011)" (Interview). Interviewed by Chris Greening, Dave Harris. Trans. & local. Ben Schweitzer, Shota Nakama. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "Three new releases for Virtual Console". N-Sider.com. March 19, 2007. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  10. ^ "Excitebike". www.nintendo.com. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  11. ^ "3D Classics Excitebike". Nintendo of Europe. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  12. ^ "3D Classics Excitebike". Nintendo of America. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  13. ^ Stephen Totilo (June 18, 2010). "Mega Man 2, Yoshi's Island Among Teased 3DS Sorta-Remakes". Kotaku.com. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Craig Harris (June 15, 2010). "E3 2010: Classic NES in 3D! - Nintendo 3DS Feature at IGN". Ds.ign.com. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "3D Classics Excitebike Will Be Free in North America - News". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  16. ^ Paul, Ian (July 14, 2016). "Nintendo's releasing a miniature NES console packed with 30 classic games". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  17. ^ Lane, Gavin (2020-03-13). "Guide: Every Arcade Archives Game On Nintendo Switch, Plus Our Top Picks". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  18. ^ "Excitebike (NES Classic)". 1up. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  19. ^ "Excitebike [Classic NES Series] - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Miller, Skyler. "Excitebike - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  21. ^ Takoushi, Tony (15 December 1987). "Mean Machines: Reviews". Computer and Video Games. No. 75 (January 1988). United Kingdom: EMAP. pp. 134–5.
  22. ^ "Complete Games Guide" (PDF). Computer and Video Games (Complete Guide to Consoles): 46–77. 16 October 1989.
  23. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (April 6, 2004). "Classic NES Series: Excitebike". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 10, 2004. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  24. ^ Harris, Craig (June 4, 2004). "Classic NES Series: Excitebike". IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  25. ^ a b Birnbaum, Mark (March 21, 2007). "Excitebike Review". IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  26. ^ "Classic NES Series: Excitebike". Metacritic. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  27. ^ Roberts, Mike; Phipps, Steve (September 1985). "Coin-Op Connection". Computer Gamer. No. 6. pp. 18–9. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 252. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 January 1985. p. 27.
  29. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. Vol. 11, no. 3. December 1985. p. 4.
  30. ^ "1985 Operator Survey: This Poll Says Go Gettum!". RePlay. Vol. 11, no. 2. November 1985. pp. 91–102 (94).
  31. ^ "Top 100 NES Games". ign.com. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  32. ^ Trinske, Connor (December 19, 2016). "The Best (And Worst) Games on the NES Classic Edition". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  33. ^ Cork, Jeff. "Game Informer's Top 100 Games Of All Time (Circa Issue 100)". Game Informer. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  34. ^ Schreier, Jason. "All 30 NES Classic Games, Ranked". Kotaku. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  35. ^ Gifford, Kevin. "Super Mario Bros.' 25th: Miyamoto Reveals All". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  36. ^ Horowitz, Ken (30 July 2020). Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games. McFarland & Company. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-4766-4176-8.
  37. ^ Shigeru Miyamoto (December 2010). Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary - Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto #2 (in Japanese). Nintendo Channel. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  38. ^ Williams, Andrew (16 March 2017). History of Digital Games: Developments in Art, Design and Interaction. CRC Press. pp. 152–4. ISBN 978-1-317-50381-1.

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