Most people probably remember Excitebike from playing it on a home game system like the NES or one of its derivative systems. In my case, though, I remember playing it first as an arcade game! So, this post is somewhat dual purpose, to talk about both Excitebike and the circumstances of its discovery for me.
PlayChoice 10 was an unusual arcade game concept, whereby instead of paying for playing an individual game, you paid for time to play whatever games you liked (of the provided set of ten, hence the name). The more quarters you put in, the more time you had to play. The game titles in the PlayChoice 10 games varied from game to game (all told over 50 possible titles were available through the early 1990's) but the one I found at our local skating rink had Excitebike, or more precisely Vs. Excitebike as this variant was called.
Excitebike was fascinating to me from the onset because there were some guys that used to play it that were really good. I spent a lot of time watching people play games as well as playing them, and it was really cool seeing someone expertly racing their bikes around the courses with (seemingly insane) jump combos, avoiding other bikes, jumping over dirt patches, weaving around oil slicks, etc. Some guys seemed like they could just play the game for hours.
Excitebike remains fascinating to me because of the personal difficulty I have in playing the game well. I've never been able to play the game well enough to go more than a couple of levels before I'd lose. I suspect if I practiced enough (like with many things) I'd be able to do better on it. However, this game was one of those that I never took the time to master.
Have you ever played Excitebike in an arcade setting? Seen a PlayChoice 10? What games fascinate you because they are difficult for you to play well?