Bop It is a highly addictive, hand held, electronic, reaction game. It is a follow-the-leader-style music game consisting of various levers that you either pull, twist, spin or flick according to the directions given to you by the toy. You may also be asked to ‘Bop It’ where you would depress the central button. Once the command has been issued by the toy, you have a very short time to perform the action or you lose. If you get it right, you carry on with the next command. The game is played to a musical beat and the actions are supposed to be performed in time to this beat, which gets faster as you continue through the game.
This game tests your mental skills and reaction times. You have to remember where each lever is and find it before your time is up. Forget about hand-eye co-ordination, this game is all about hand-ear co-ordination. The game can be played by a single player or multi players taking turns to reach a collective high score.
The latest version of the game is suitable for players aged 8 years and over.
The game was originally released in the mid 1990’s and has been tweaked into different versions ever since. The older versions of the game are more difficult to come by and as such can command high price tags.
Original Bop It
Back in 1996 the original BopIt was released onto the toy market. It was a black, baton shaped toy with the now well known, round Bop It button in the middle. At either end were coloured Twist It and Pull It levers. The toy asked you to either Bop It, Twist It or Pull It and you had to find the right button or lever in time to carry on with the game. You were scored on how many correct instructions you followed and the aim was to either beat your own score or that of the person you were playing against.
There were three game modes: Solo Bop, Vox Bop and Beat Bop. (See later for game mode explanations.)
This version of the Bop It game was the least complex and as such is more suitable to younger children than the later versions. Even five and six year olds will enjoy it.
Bop It Extreme
The original Bop It was developed further into the Bop It Extreme with the addition of the Flick It and Spin It commands. The two extra commands meant the shape changed from a stick shape to a non complete steering wheel shape although the shiny black colour was maintained.
An extra game mode was added by changing Solo Bop into Vox Bop Solo and Beat Bop Solo. (See later for game mode explanations.)
Bop It Extreme 2
In 2005 the Bop It Extreme 2 won “Electronic Game Of The Year”. It had not changed much from its earlier version with only minor amendments to the levers and to make the layout a little more aesthetically pleasing. Four music styles were also included to ‘bop’ along to – pop, rock, Latin and R&B – and the longer you played, the more the beats evolved and changed as new ones were unlocked. A useful volume control was added along with an extra game mode called One On One, where you could go head-to-head with a friend. The shiny black casing was replaced with a grey and black combination and a pink version was also made. With the added complexities, this version was recommended for ages 16+.
Bop It Extreme Download
Taking the Extreme game one step further, the mainly white, ‘Bop It Download’ version introduced 15 difficulty levels. It also included a USB cable to enable new beats, sounds and voices to be downloaded and played on the toy. You could even record your own voice. This meant that when you were tired of the factory set tunes you could simply download some more from the Bop-It website or get very personalised and record yourself being your very own beatbox.
For this you just plugged the accompanying microphone into your computer's audio-in port, launched the software and started recording. You had to watch what you said though as you never knew who would be listening when you heard it back hundreds of times during game play. The addition of flashing lights on the toy unit enabled the designers to randomly issue commands via these lights making the game even more confusing.
One of the limitations with previous versions was the relatively low high score of 250 points, which stopped the game once reached. This version had a 1000 point high score so along with the addition of 15 difficulty levels made it far more challenging.
Bop It – New Version
Confusingly named Bop It, just like the original game, the latest invention in this series of toys reverts back to the 3 lever system (Bop It, Pull It, Twist It) but adds on a Shout It command where you shout into the inbuilt microphone. This new version includes special difficulty levels which are unlocked as your high score passes predetermined values and it includes a new Party Bop mode where you get to ‘bop it’ against body parts, such as your belly and elbows – owwww!
This Bop It now has 300 difficulty levels and is suitable for players aged 8 and over. It is predicted to be one of the top 10 best sellers for Christmas 2009 along with the new version of the Rubik's cube - the spherical Rubik's 360.
Vox Bop mode is where commands are issued by a voice from the machine.
Beat Bop mode is where commands are sounds instead of words. For example "Bop It!" becomes the sound of a bass drum and "Pull It!" becomes the sound of a slide-whistle. It makes game play much more challenging.
The One on One mode available in later versions allows for simultaneous multi-player game play. Two players hold the toy, one on either side, and when the "Bop it!" command is issued each player must bop their colour to score a point.
Is The Bop It Game Any Good?
All Bop It games are simple to understand but difficult to master. They teach coordination between sound and action and encourage teamwork when playing in the taking turns mode with other family members or friends. They are great for improving dexterity, memory, reflexes and concentration and they are a game that children can play and practice on their own or with others. The multi player options bring out the competitive streak in players.
The more recent versions offer more challenging levels but even the original version has Beat Bop mode where commands are issued as sounds which is very tricky to master.
The games are very addictive and you will find it hard to just sit and watch as others play.
The ergonomics of the toy’s design are impressive as it is easy to hold, easy to use and made of good quality materials. The inclusion of an ear phone socket in later versions ensures that the game can be played anywhere.
Some downsides of earlier versions, such as easily attainable high scores and levels being too hard for younger children have been answered in later versions where higher scores and varying difficulty levels have been added.
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TnFlash from Tampa, Florida on November 14, 2009:
Thanks for the Christmas shopping ideas for my Grandsons. I so out of touch with kids toys. Great Hub!
Mark Jenner on November 13, 2009:
This post brings back memories of Christmas mornings some years ago - and many noisy mornings since. This is an addictive game - now where did we put it?
Erin Bower from Georgia on September 23, 2009:
Wow! I had no idea that Bop It was that old! I have never been good at Bop It, but I try :). Thanks for the interesting article!