A YouTuber modded a recent iteration of the classic Bop It! toy into a fully functional contro
A YouTuber modded a recent iteration of the classic Bop It! toy into a fully functional controller and successfully played Minecraft with it.
The legendary creative sandbox game Minecraft was entirely based on the concept of creative freedom, but one particularly techno-savvy player has taken it to a new extreme by modifying a Bop It toy into a working controller to play the game with. By swapping out a few control boards, and adding a dash of complex technical wizardry, YouTuber Seth Altobelli transforms the toy into a fully functional controller to play Minecraft with — which admittedly requires some practice.
Most millennials will remember the Bop It as one of the world’s most popular toys in its heyday when it was released in 1996. That enduring popularity translated into a number of reincarnations over the past two and a half decades, so while Gen Z may not be as familiar with the toy, they may recognize the iteration that Altobelli uses, the Bop It! XT, released in 2010. The toy’s basic premise has remained the same over the years — it’s an elaborate game of Simon Says, where players listen for cues from the toy’s speaker that prompt them to twist a crank, pull a lever, or bop a button, with more commands added in later incarnations. Since player input is basically reliant on buttons, in theory, turning it into controller actually isn’t much of a stretch, given that Minecraft, like almost every other video game, is also dependent on player input via buttons, albeit buttons on a keyboard or console controller (and more recently touch screens).
YouTuber Altobelli took up the challenge and documented his process online for fellow streamer and Minecraft player Technoblade, with the intention of sending him the controller to actually play the game with on a livestream. Altobelli begins the transformation by exchanging the toy’s original internal control board for a Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller board, although as his video below demonstrates, there’s a lot more to it than just swapping out a control board. He also added an accelerometer that responds to tilt, so that players can actually move their avatars by tilting the Bop It! in the corresponding direction, which also required calibrating the accelerometer via vector math and computer programming. Anyone interested in the semantics can check out Altobelli’s video below.
The method that Altobelli describes may make some eyes glaze over, but there’s no denying the ingenuity of what he’s accomplished, particularly with a toy that’s over a decade old and was never meant for the sort of work he modded it to do. Minecraft is certainly no stranger to mods, but those are more often than not in-game, and very rarely involve a toy made popular before the game itself was even a concept. The controls, from what Altobelli’s video describes, take some getting used to, but anyone who grew up with a Bop It! could probably master it fairly easily.
Altobelli’s creation has earned a lot of attention online, and with good reason. While most examples of Minecraft ingenuity take the form of staggering, awe-inspiring creations inside the game, such as a recent impressive church build, fans are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done. This Bop-It! controller proves that when it comes to Minecraft, the only limit is one’s imagination.
Source: Seth Altobelli
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Michelle Ballestrasse is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and baker born and bred in the Bay Area. She starts every day with coffee and a keyboard, and winds down with wine and whatever’s new on Steam. Also an avid admirer of alliteration.