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Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Release Date: Nov. 30, 1984
Why this game mattered: This was the first racing game released on home consoles that left players with the sense that they couldn't put the controller down. The addictive quality of this relatively simple game is still appreciated today, and the biggest reason is choice. It was just plain fun and gave players multiple options to choose from (which was a first at the time) so they could set up their ideal ride for races. On top of this, Excitebike's theme song was catchy and varied enough that it easily stuck in your head. It captured the hearts and minds of everyone at the time, not just people who enjoyed racing or motorcycles. However, it's most unique feature was the design mode, which allowed players to create their own tracks.
Fun fact: Excitebike and its main character, Hobby, inspired multiple manga series released in the late '80s.
Future games influenced by this title: Motocross Madness, Jet Moto, and eventually Trials Evolution all feature major components first found in Excitebike. That fast-paced gameplay with lots of options may seem fairly common now, but it really did all start with this title.
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