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Excitebike (NES) Retro Review

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Game Name: Excitebike

Publisher: Nintendo, Hudson Soft

Developer: Nintendo R&D1, Hudson Soft, Arika

Release Date: February 3rd, 1986 (CAD) and October 18th, 1985 (US)

Platforms: NES, Famicom Disk System, Sharp X1 and Gameboy Advance


I first played this game on the 82 in 1 game. I spent many hours back in the day playing along with the custom options of creating my own level. At that time, I believe it was either one of or the only game that allowed a player to customize a level to your liking. Let us see if this game holds up after all of these years.


So you play the part of a rider and you race against other computer controlled opponents. The goal like any racing game is to finish the race first and also beat the best timing scores. Until now this is pretty standard.

The controls are pretty simple. You have the directional pad that can make the rider change lanes during a race. Then you have the A and B buttons. The B button would be a limited turbo button. If if you used it for too long or too often, your bike would overheat. Also what is cool is while you are in the air, you can control you bike to go forward. When you are on the ground you can use the back left direction on the D-Pad to do a willie.

One thing was pretty original at the time is that there was an option to create your own levels. back in 1985 it was pretty innovative. Not many games, if any, had this feature.

Here is a sample gameplay below from Excitebike on NES

Sample Gameplay


Does this game hold up after all of these years? It does yes and no. The actual game itself could get boring fast. may be it is because I am older and I am not as interested in this game. However I found myself getting my fix after 5 levels. Then I was good.

The part of the game that always makes me coming back is the customization. I can create my own levels. Now for that I can do this for hours. Probably why Super Mario Maker is very popular with the Nintendo crowd.

This is an original Nintendo title and like anything Nintendo it was innovative in its own way. You can customize you own levels. The races were obstacle based. You can see the Nintendo stamp on this game. At around the same time you had games like F1 Racing and Mach Rider which were 3rd Person vantage points. This still a side scroller and it has that Nintendo feel.

What also makes this game better is when you play with a friend. Racing one another makes it that much more exciting. especially when creating unique levels on your own. I would try to create the most complicated levels and ask my brother to play them. Many hours of frustration but also fun were had.

I think that this has kind of aged well. I am not sure a younger crowd would be interested in this game. However if you are a collector, this should be in your collection.

Rating: 7.5 Excitebikes out of 10

Let me know what you think below. Am I in left field somewhere or am I spot on?

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