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=== Bop-it FAQ ===
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Last updated 1/9/4 - html Version 1.3
by Tim Mannveille - ranma-tim@care2.com
latest version always available at www.juggler.net/tim

Contents:

1) Introduction

2) Bop-it
 2.1) Bop-it Basics
   2.1.1) Playing position
   2.1.2) Playing strategy
   2.1.3) Multiplayer variants
 2.2) Advanced
   2.2.1) Making it harder
   2.2.2) One handed Bop-it

3) Bop-it Extreme
 3.1) Basics
 3.2) Advanced
   3.2.1) Making it harder
   3.2.2) One handed Bop-it Extreme!

4) Bop-it Extreme 2
4.1) The Little That Is Known

5) Bop-it Etiquette - Instruments or Weapons?

6) Version updates and thanks


1)Introduction

   Bop-it and Bop-it Extreme are two excellent toys, yet hardly any attention is given to them on the net. This FAQ attempts to remedy this, as well as provide some inspiration for Bop-itites everywhere.
   If you've never come across a Bop-it, then first you should go here and check out the two Bop-it pictures. (Actually only the Bop-it Extreme is pictured there at the moment...).


2) Bop-it

   The Bop-it basic version resembles a small baton, and it has three switches: the yellow 'twist-it', the blue 'pull-it' and the large purple 'bop-it' button on either side of the central bulge. The 'pull-it' switches the toy on, and repeated pulling cycles through the three games: Vox-pop solo (makes a descending pitch noise, or 'Dwoo'), Vox-pop (makes a crashing noise, 'Crash'), and Beat-bop (makes a kind of grunting noise, 'Oink'). A game is initiated by hitting the 'bop-it' button.
   In Vox-pop solo, the toy gives out commands - 'twist-it', 'pull-it' or 'bop-it' - at random, while a funky beat is playing. The player then has to obey the command before the end of the funky bar. If the player is successful, the commands get ever faster, until ultimately 100 commands have been completed, which ends the game. If the wrong action is performed, or no action is performed before the end of the bar, the toy screams (loudly!) and the game is over.
   The score is then given; 'Dwoo' represents 10 commands completed, and each 'Crash' a single command. Thus 'Dwoo Dwoo Crash Crash Crash' represents 32 commands completed. The most recent score can be heard again by 'twisting-it' when in Vox-pop solo mode.
   In Vox-pop mode, a fourth command is added: 'pass-it'. At this point, the player is supposed to pass the toy onto another player, and it may be passed around between many players as the game progresses. This mode only ends when a wrong action is performed, or when no action is performed in time.
   Finally, Beat-bop mode is the same as Vox-pop, but the three commands are replaced by sound effects - 'Dwoo' means 'pull-it', 'Crash' means 'Bop-it', and 'Oink' means 'twist-it'.
   Scan of the instructions

2.1) Bop-it Basics

2.1.1) Playing position
   Whichever mode you play, you need to find a comfortable and reliable way to hold the toy. The best way seems to be holding 'twist-it' in one hand, 'pull-it' in the other, and resting the 'bop-it' button against a hard (durable) object, your body, or someone else's. In a position like this, you never need to move your arms: all actions can be performed from the wrist. Either hand may twist or pull to perform the appropriate command, and simply pushing the toy against your chosen surface will 'bop-it'.
   Preferred surfaces are the top of one's chest (holding the bop-it diagonally across the body), or sitting down and resting the 'bop-it' switch on top of one's thigh or knee.

2.1.2) Playing strategy
   It is very tempting to perform the appropriate action right at the end of the bar of drum music - that is where it feels natural to do something, and it keeps the rhythm going. Unfortunately, if you are delayed by half a beat (for example if you didn't manage to twist the 'twist-it' around enough), then you will have no chance to recover.
   It is probably best to try to do your actions half way through the bar. When you get used to it, the rhythm still kind of works, and there is time to recover from a slight delay.
   Once you get your head around it, it is possible to respond *immediately* after the command is given - your command is performed at the same time the first drum beat of the bar is heard! This leaves plenty of time for recovery from delays, but you will probably be so tense that if your concentration is broken for a moment, you will perform the wrong command. This is only to be advised if you are trying to complete it in a hurry, or if you are playing a multiplayer game against less experienced players.

2.1.3) Multiplayer variants
   In the multi-player modes, there are several possible ways of playing.
   I think the best version is 'winner goes out'. The players form a circle, and with each 'pass-it' command the toy is passed to the next player around the circle. When one player eventually fails, the player that went just before them - the 'winner' - goes out. The losing player then restarts the toy. This means that eventually you have one 'loser', and everyone else 'wins', which seems a little vindictive, but the main advantage of this way of playing is that the less experienced players get more practice, which is much better for everyone.
   The opposite of this, 'loser goes out', is only really suitable for players of equal ability. Play proceeds as above, but of course when a player fails, they must leave the game, and the player that went before them restarts the toy. Eventually only one winner remains.
   The game can alternatively be played in teams of three, each team member being assigned to one of the three actions. There can be any number of teams, and play can follow either 'winner goes out' or 'loser goes out'. This is also a good mode for getting people involved in a party - just start playing, and then when told to 'pass-it', simply hand it to someone nearby!

2.2) Advanced

2.2.1) Making it harder
   Besides trying to do something else at the same time, there are many intuitive ways of making playing 'bop-it' harder. One is to play with only one hand, which is described in the next section. The other natural variant is to alter the bop-it's position after every command.
   If, for example, you play with it diagonally across your chest, then there are 4 possible orientations it can take - the two possible diagonals, and right-way-up and upside-down. One can simply switch between these positions in sequence as you play, moving one position along after each command.
   Alternatively, if you play over a soft surface, you can try throwing and catching the Bop-it between each command! Throwing it by the long hand-grip, you should be able to have it complete a single spin in the air before catching it. You could throw it between hands, or always use the same one.
   Another possibility is the 'thumb roll'; holding the Bop-it in one hand by the long hand-grip, palm upwards, one can send the toy spinning around your thumb only to return to its original position.
   There are, of course, many other possibilities, and if you're fast enough, you could combine multiple moves between each command. Fun!

2.2.2) One-handed Bop-it
   Apart from making it harder, this important technique also means that you can play with two Bop-its at once - one in each hand!
   Hold the Bop-it by the 'twist-it' in your chosen hand, with your arm hanging by your side. 'Twist-it' can be accomplished by sharply twisting your wrist; the twisting part twists while the toy itself remains stationary. 'Bop-it' can be achieved by lightly bopping the 'bop-it' button against your thigh. 'Pull-it' becomes rather hard: to do this, you have to thrust the toy towards the ground, and then suddenly jerk it back, so the 'pull-it' is thrown away from the body of the Bop-it.
   Once you have mastered this with both hands, you are ready for double Bop-it! Take a Bop-it in each hand, select your mode (only vox-pop solo really works well), then start them off by bopping them against your thighs - preferably off-sync from one another, so that you complete the command of one while the other tells you the next.
   Good luck!


3) Bop-it Extreme

   The Bop-it Extreme is like the Bop-it, but with a funkier drum beat, and two extra possible actions: you can also 'flick it' and 'spin it'. These are fairly intuitive, but it is worth noticing that the 'flick-it' will register if you simply press it until it moves slightly out of it's socket, instead of literally giving it a hard flick.
   The Bop-it Extreme also has an extra single player mode, 'Beat-bop solo', where one player tries to get a high score with the sound effects rather than the voice commands.
   The maximum score of this little fiend is 250 commands, which will take you at least 5 minutes to accomplish! The only other difference is that operating 'twist-it' will give the highest score achieved in either of the two solo modes, instead of the most recent score.
   When you first try the Bop-it Extreme, do not be disappointed if it takes you many tries to even score a single point - almost everyone starts that way. If you've never even played Bop-it basic, you could try having someone else cover the 'twist-it' and 'spin-it' actions, so you can get to grips with the basics.
   Scans of the instructions: side a - side b

3.1) Basics
   As for the Bop-it, so for the Bop-it Extreme. A good playing position is now harder to find, since you only have enough limbs and body parts to cover every action if you use your feet. Since you're eventually going to try for over five minutes of continuous command-following, this will not be easy.
   Perhaps the best method is the simplest; hold it in both hands, using the left hand for the two functions on the left, the right hand for the those on the right, and either thumb to 'bop-it'. Pick one particular orientation in which you like to hold it - for example, with 'twist-it' in the upper-right corner - and then always play with it that way.

3.2) Advanced

3.2.1) Making it harder
   Just as keeping the orientation the same makes it easier, changing it makes it harder. The Bop-it extreme can be 'flipped' left over right (like turning the page of a book), 'spun' so the top comes towards you and rotates until it is at the bottom, or 'rotated' like a steering wheel. These three twists can be performed in two different directions. A nice way of using this is to have some set sequence of transformations (like 'flip' left, 'spin' down, 'flip' right, 'spin' up), and then to perform each one in turn in between the commands. In the example, this might lead to the following sequence of actions: Bop-it, (flip left), twist it, (spin down), pull it, (flip right), pull it, (spin up), flick it, (flip left), etc.
   As if that wasn't hard enough, you might like to try assigning certain transformations with certain commands - so, for example, you could always flip left, but change to right (or back again) each time a 'bop-it' command is completed.

3.2.2) One-handed Bop-it Extreme!
   In your chosen hand, grip the Bop-it Extreme by the 'twist-it', with the 'pull-it' end sticking out in front of you. With your arm by your side, it is then possible to perform 'twist-it', 'bop-it' and 'pull-it' in the same way as you did when playing the normal Bop-it one handed. You can 'flick-it' by pushing the flicker against your leg, and you can 'spin-it' by running the wheel along your thigh. This is very difficult, but that's the whole point.
   You can now play Bop-it with one hand and Bop-it Extreme with the other! But can you complete 100 actions? 250?! I can't... yet.

4) Bop-it Extreme 2

   Let it be known that Bop-it Extreme 2 exists! I don't own this, so I'm afraid I can't tell you that much about it for sure.

4.1) The Little That Is Known
   By reading about the many that are on sale at eBay.com, I've discovered the following:
-Essentially the same as Bop-it Extreme 1, but with some added features.
-Different shell - more stylish, and the spinner is a cog instead of a wheel
-Volume control with 3 levels
-Headphone/Speaker socket
-4 different beats - R&B, Rock, Latin and Pop
-Further(?) beats unlockable by playing well
-3 different Games and 2 Modes (Not sure what this means - there seems to be a 'one on one' mode, which I would guess involves 2 players taking it in turns to complete actions
-The highest score possible is the same as for Bop-it Extreme - 250. (Thanks to Kylboy06 for telling me this!)


5) Bop-it etiquette - Instruments or Weapons?
   There are two kinds of people in the world; those that love Bop-its, and those that hate them. The former may view it as a kind of instrument; the latter as a weapon of mass distraction. This is largely due to the loud and repetitive noises that Bop-its tend to make.
   If you wish to remain friends with Bop-it haters, then either avoid playing Bop-it in their presence, or devise some kind of muffle for your Bop-it. I have found that putting masking tape over the speaker reduces the volume dramatically, and is easily removed afterwards.

   Go forth and bop!

6) Version updates and thanks
-01/09/4 v1.3: For completeness, I've now added scans of the instructions for both Bop-it and Bop-it Extreme!
-16/10/3 v1.2: Thanks to Kyboy 06, I now know that the maximum score for the Bop-it Extreme 2 is 250! Also inserted anchors for easy reference from the contents.
-Earlier versions: Thanks to Richard Loxley and other denizens of the Bristol juggling scene, for introducing me to the Bop-it (I think), and encouraging me to come up with further ideas for it.

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This document copyright Tim Mannveille 2003, and if you want to reproduce or distribute it, ask me first (ranma-tim@care2.com) and then I'll almost certainly say yes.

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