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This article is about the Nintendo Entertainment System video game. For the character of the same name, see Excitebike (character).

Excitebike is a motocross racing game and the first installment of the Excite series. It was first released for the Famicom in Japan in 1984, and was later released as a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe, in the years 1985 and 1986 respectively. The NES release is a part of the Programmable Series. Excitebike eventually received an indirect follow-up for the Nintendo 64, titled Excitebike 64.


Gameplay screenshot

At the start of the game, the player can choose from five tracks in which to race. The player controls an Excitebike racer, who wears a distinct red suit. They can choose to either race solo or against computer-assisted riders, both having a certain time limit. The goal is to qualify for the Excitebike championship race by finishing at third place or above in the preliminary challenge race. The times to beat are located on the stadium walls for first place, and in the lower left corner for third place. In any race, the best time is 8 seconds ahead of third place. When the player character gets in first place, a message appears: "It's a new record!" Additional points are earned by beating the previously-set record time.

The player controls the position of the red motorcycle with the Y-axis of the directional pad, and controls acceleration with the A and B buttons. Using B causes greater acceleration, but also increases the motorcycle's temperature shown as a bar at the bottom of the screen. When the temperature exceeds safe limits the bar becomes full; the racer is immobilized for several seconds while the bike cools down. Driving over an arrow immediately reduces the bike's temperature.

The pitch of the motorcycle's airborne trajectory can be modified with the X-axis of the directional pad: left raises the front, and right lowers the front. In the air, this rotates the bike, but can also be used to perform wheelies on the ground. Pushing up or down turns the handlebars left or right, respectively, when the bike is on the ground.

If the rider crashes by colliding with an opponent or ramp, or by landing badly from a jump, they are knocked off the bike and land in the field. Pushing A repeatedly allows the rider to run back to the bike and continue the race.

Track times[edit]

By placing third or better in any challenge race, the player's racer advances to the race of the same track number. For example, if the racer placed third or better in track 4 of the challenge race, they go to the track 4 of the race. These are the best times on the tracks in the challenge races:

  • Track 1: 1:16:00
  • Track 2: 1:16:00
  • Track 3: 1:16:00
  • Track 4: 1:12:00
  • Track 5: 1:06:00

By placing third or better in any race, the player character advances to the next race. For example, if the racer placed third or better in track 4 of the race, he/she goes to track 5 of the race. The races are slightly harder than the challenge races, which is why the best race times are longer than in the challenge race (except in tracks 3 & 5). These are the best times on the tracks in the races:

  • Track 1: 1:24:00
  • Track 2: 1:22:00
  • Track 3: 1:10:00
  • Track 4: 1:20:00
  • Track 5: 1:06:00

If the racer places third or better in Track 5, then the player can replay it an unlimited number of times. The number of times the track has been raced on is indicated in the lower right hand corner with "T=(number of times raced)," right below the player's time.


Excitebike has three modes of gameplay. In Selection A, the racer races solo. In Selection B, CPU players join the racer. They act as another form of obstacle; hitting one from the rear causes the racer to fall off the bike, and any CPU riders hitting the player character's rear wheel causes them to fall off.

In Design Mode, the player can design race tracks. They can choose hills and obstacles of various sizes and place them, represented by the letters A-S. The player can also choose where to finish the lap, and how many laps there are (up to nine). After it is finished, the player's racer can race the track in either Selection A or Selection B.

The Japanese version allows saving the player-created tracks to cassette tape, requiring the Famicom Data Recorder peripheral. Since this peripheral was only available in Japan and intended for use with Nintendo's Family BASIC, track saving is effectively unavailable to American and European players even though there are "save" and "load" options present within the in-game menus of those versions. The instruction booklet states that "Save and Load menu selections are not operable in this game; they have been programmed in for potential product developments". These options were removed in Excitebike-e.

Courses created within the Wii Virtual Console release in all regions can be saved to the Wii's internal memory.

Alternate versions and re-releases[edit]

  • 1984/1985 - Released for the VS. System with the title, VS. Excitebike. A Famicom Disk System version was released in 1988.
  • 2000 - Featured as unlockable content for Excitebike 64. This is the first non-Japan release of Excitebike that has support for saving tracks, although the player can only save one at a time.
  • 2001 - One of the playable Nintendo Entertainment System games in the Nintendo GameCube game, Animal Crossing.
  • 2002 - Re-released for the Game Boy Advance's e-Reader peripheral as Excitebike-e.
  • 2004 - Re-released as part of the Classic NES Series / Famicom Mini series for Game Boy Advance. As with the Excitebike 64 version, the player can create and save one custom track.
  • 2007 - Re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console.
  • 2011 - A remaster, 3D Classics: Excitebike, was released as a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS's eShop on June 6, 2011. The game features 3D stereoscopic support, analog control support, and allows the player to save up to 32 custom created tracks that can be played in either 2D or 3D. To commemorate the eShop's launch, it was available as a free download for an entire month, until July 7, 2011. At E3 2010, prior to the 3D Classics release, Excitebike was one of the games shown on the Classic Games tech demo.
  • 2013 - Re-released for the Wii U's Virtual Console. Prior to Club Nintendo's closure, it was worth 200 points.
  • 2016 - Released as one of the 30 games included in the NES Classic Edition and Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer.
  • 2018 - Available as one of the 20 NES titles on the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service's launch in September 2018.

References in other games[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese エキサイトバイク


  • Excitebike is one of the video games used as a basis for the manga titled Famicom Rocky, published by Coro Coro Comics from 1985 to 1987.
  • Hobby is the main character of Excitebike, and is one of the video game characters that were adapted for the manga titled Hobby's Famicom Seminar (われらホビーズファミコンゼミナール, Ware-ra Hobīzu Famikon Zeminārulead) from 1988 to 1990.