One of the best things about writing about playing every game ever is solving weird mysteries and tracking down bizarre little connections between the games that have been released. So here’s a pretty weird one. First of all, we already know that Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally and Cannondale Cup are in fact the same game. They were made in 1994 by Radical Entertainment, who would go on to make the relatively successful Prototype last year. Now here’s where it gets weird.
At one point after the release of Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally, Radical made a deal with Life Fitness, who are the inventors of the first ever computerized exercise bike. These guys made an exercise bike peripheral for the SNES. I’m not even kidding. Ask the internet. This probably was a failure. Now at some point, Radical had two titles on their hands and likely thought that they could sell both together as a pack-in. The second game was Speed Racer in My Most Dangerous Adventure.
And so, Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer, a game that simulates mountain biking in mode 7 with demons and stuff, and a game based on a Japanese franchise made by Vancouverites about racing in mode 7 with spring wheels and stuff. One can’t help but wonder who made the decisions to propel this cartridge down its dark path to obscurity and… value?
In addition to being a failure so great it nearly defies mention on the internet, EMB/SR is the 5th most valuable SNES cartridge, ranking only below a whole bunch of LE cartridges on account of rarity and below Chrono Trigger because everyone has seen the shrinkwrapped copy in a game store/pawn shop for like 300$ and somebody wants to buy their childhood. It is the upside-down airplane of 16-bit video games. An unhappy accident that has become a sought after collection item by the few nebbishes with the necessary dollars and obsession level.
It embodies one of the weirdest paradoxes in collecting, a huge and consistent chink in human reasoning: Why would we want something that does nothing and does it poorly? Because someone else, somewhere does? Can it even be explained? I’m just glad I didn’t have to play the thing.