Area man destroys Elden Ring's pantheon of bosses with a Bop-It

The Bop-It is a toy that many of us will know from childhood, and you either love it, hate it, or used it to beat your siblings around the head with it. The plastic device shouts out various commands which you have to respond to by manipulating it in a given manner. It's one of those gadgets that was so ubiquitous it felt like everyone knew how to Bop-It: a rainy day pleasure.

And now an enterprising streamer has taken the Bop-It to new heights. "I can't believe I just beat Margit with a fucking Bop-It dude," laughs Swoop Douglas as the demigod falls, "no way!"

Yes: You've seen Elden Ring conquered with one hand and dance mats, and one player even beat the game without attacking. Now it's time for FromSoftware's grandiose collection of demigods and fallen heroes to get bopped via the medium of the Bop-It Extreme 2. This is probably the most well-known variant of the toy, released in 2002, and features the original three commands ("Pull It!"/"Twist It!"/"Bop It!") alongside the addition of "Flick It!" and "Spin It!"

I imagine that, like me, you have one question: Why a Bop-It? "I've been playing Souls games for thousands of hours and wanted a fresh/unique challenge for the game and after some brainstorming decided combining it with some childhood nostalgia would be the most fun challenge I could do," said Douglas. "I never had my own Bop-It as a kid but a kid in the neighborhood had one and I would always find an excuse to go over and play it."

So Swoop Douglas has five inputs to play with, and one of the nice things about this challenge is that, while you'll see bosses being bopped away in the below videos, the streamer shared the whole learning process along the way. Turns out a Bop-It Extreme 2 is not the greatest fit for getting around the Lands Between, with Douglas initially having a bunch of trouble manipulating the camera as he'd like. All told it took just under a month to go from setting himself the Bop-It challenge to defeating all of Elden Ring's bosses using the toy.

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The jump in skill between the initial videos and the eventual achievement of beating all bosses is plain to see, but the most surprising thing Douglas told me is that, before setting himself this challenge, he hadn't done it using a gamepad. I asked what it's like re-training your muscle memory in this way and whether, after a time, going back to a 'normal' controller was the thing that felt weird.

...Once I got the hang of it, it was surprisingly much easier than I anticipated.

Swoop Douglas

"I had never actually beaten all of the bosses in Elden Ring before attempting to do it on a Bop-It," said Douglas. "And I had eventually gotten to a point where I felt more comfortable on the Bop-It than a normal controller. I think it had to do with having no choice but to use more focus while playing on a Bop-It that made me actually better versus a normal controller. And yes, after this run, I held an Xbox controller and it felt absolutely foreign."

Douglas adds the crying/laughing emoji, before adding that the intense focus this required probably contributed to the challenge ultimately turning out to be not quite as fearsome as he'd once thought: "It took a bit getting used to and was almost like re-training muscle memory, but once I got the hang of it, it was surprisingly much easier than I anticipated."

I mean, as someone who couldn't beat Malenia normally for quite some time, I'll have to take Douglas' word for that one: There's no way I'm entering that room with just a Bop-It on my side. But among the novelty controller soulslike challenges this is a good one, and what I find fascinating about this and all the others is how you see the game stripped-back to the fundamentals, with every input being absolutely precise and essential, with no room for all the panicked running around and flailing that is the game's default boss experience (well, for me).

It's funny to say but, when you look at Elden Ring being conquered via the medium of Bop-It, you start to see how the clockwork mechanisms turn: And how it so often manages to bop you.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."