Sora Ishikawa rips through some champion-level 3A play in this new video, and puts everyone on notice that he’s making a run for the 3A title at 2014 Japan Nationals.
Yoyo used is the Diamondback by YoYoJam.
Sora Ishikawa rips through some champion-level 3A play in this new video, and puts everyone on notice that he’s making a run for the 3A title at 2014 Japan Nationals.
Yoyo used is the Diamondback by YoYoJam.
Everyone’s favorite most amazing offstring player in the whole wide world, ever, of all time, is Rei Iwakura. If it’s not, you’re doing something wrong. Rei dropped a quick video filmed while testing out the prototypes for the upcoming revamp of the YoYoJam Rextreme, and there is some crazy ambidextrous offstring stuff in here. Pretty sure Rei is an alien.
I’m not sure how many yo-yo’s I’ve played since I first picked up a Midnight Special in the late 80’s. In any case, the number has been significant enough for me to feel appropriately entitled to write this article, whether or not my opinion has merit. Though most people know me as a pretty positive (and/or flakey) guy, and it may not seem like the kind of thing I’d say, there really IS such a thing as a bad yoyo. A yoyo can be “bad” in a few distinct ways. For example, it can not perform as intended or as advertised. It can be fragile, breaking into a dozen poorly-designed pieces upon its first tentative throw. It can LOOK or SEEM so hopelessly dorky that even massive dorks will, themselves, wish to eschew yoyoing so as to improve their social standing.
I have no hope of possibly encapsulating everyone’s least favorite yoyo’s in any top 5, as this kind of list could only ever be subjective. In terms of play, I bet the old Bandai/Yomega Firestorm could probably run literal circles around the first Flores models. Does that alone make them “better”? Sweet lord, child, NO IT DOES NOT. You have to consider the historical context, and in so doing recognize that by the time the hopeless Firestorm came out, there was SUCH A THING as an awesome yoyo, making its craptastic qualities shine all the brighter in relief. And keep in mind, that piece of garbage didn’t even make the list!
It’s definitely important to celebrate the good in our community. Honestly, I think we do that quite a lot. However, there’s also a place for pointing out the idiotic, absurd, and downright horrific, not necessarily to jeer (although in this case, I probably will) but to say, collectively “Good lord, how did the world allow that to happen?!” And thus, I present for your consideration my Top 5 Most Egregiously Awful Yo-Yo’s of All Time:
5. Yomega Panther: This was such a trainwreck on so many levels. I’ll grant you I’ve only played it once, at the home of Virginia yo-yoer Tony Basch, who gingerly presented it as a mad scientist might some medical oddity in a jar of formaldehyde. Anyway, that was plenty. Honestly, it’s kind of like when Gandalf ALMOST touches the Ring of Power and senses the Eye of Sauron’s presence within it. Where true evil is concerned, a touch is all you need. So Yomega wanted to make a wooden fixed axle yo-yo, which given their yeoman’s effort spent popularizing transaxles, I guess, seemed like a no-brainer (PUN!). Unfortunately, they elected to take a brick-like wooden profile, paint it black, and emblazon on an exquisitely boring graphic which looks more like a double-jointed kid’s sock puppet than an actual panther. All this would be forgivable, had Yomega not then opted to slap a pair of rubber rims over the gap’s circumference. Ostensibly, the rims were there to “protect the yo-yoer’s hands”, which is kind of funny since their addition makes the yo-yo snag unpredictably and somehow dart directly for the user’s skull (JUST LIKE A PANTHER!). Even at a time when Yomega dominated the scene and decent yo-yo’s were relatively few and far-between, there was no risk of running into any sane person who would admit to liking the Panther, which legitimizes its position on this list.
4. Duncan Yoffy: I’m sorry, Drew Tetz. I know you can do awesome stuff with it. Honestly, you could probably do awesome stuff with some bungee cord attached to my idiot beagle who, just like this yo-yo, eats cat poop. Is this even a yo-yo? I dunno. It seems like the manifestation of some marketing executive’s 2-day-old sushi-infused dream. You know how Pizza Hut is always coming up with new things to DO to pizza (the Insider™, the Edge®, the CheesyBites© – HOW BOUT YOU JUST MAKE A GOOD PIZZA)? The Yoffy is basically the yo-yo equivalent of the P’Zone©™®, and was just as gross. I really want to know how the idea was initially pitched. “Ok guys, let me ask you… what is it that kids love more than anything? RAINBOW RIBBONS, right? And we KNOW they love not being able to make a yo-yo work…” It was a marriage made in the putrescent, bile-stinking sewers of heaven. Needless to say, the Yoffy is pretty much an Imperial, but with one of Mork’s suspenders replacing the string. As such, the only hope this thing ever had for redemption was to be picked up by Drew as a novelty. I’m being merciful in placing it at #4.
3. YoYoJam Big Kahuna: YoYoJam is kind of like the Jurassic Park of the yo-yo scene – just because you have the TECHNOLOGY to wrap a yo-yo in purple lightning bolts does not mean you HAVE TO USE IT. Indeed, when running down the list of yo-yo’s which cause me to barf in my mouth a little, roughly half of the offenders are YoYoJams.
The Triple Jam. The JamBoo. The Phat Boy. Oh sure, YoYoJam knows how to make an ugly yo-yo. But unfortunately (for this list), most of their stuff plays pretty well. There have been some fragile models (original X-Con), some horribly named ones (Speed Maker?), and some abysmal players (Evo) in YYJ’s history, but nothing that represents the perfect storm of awful play and aesthetics which would land them the dubious distinction of inclusion on this list… Nothing that is, except The Big Kahuna. This model was released way back in YYJ’s early history, and they’ve certainly righted the ship since. Still, this thing was a sucktastic wrecking ball (or would be, if wrecking balls were thin and cylindrical with heavy, bladelike rims). The Kahuna had no response mechanism aside from its tapered gap, which was so narrow and unforgiving as to snag unbidden more often than not. As a result, the yo-yo would dive-bomb its user at random, bludgeoning his knuckles and palms into a pulpy, quivering mush. Add in the hot-stamped party font and the striking graphic (which may or may not represent a breaking wave), and we’ve got a winner. By which I mean loser. To their credit, YYJ discontinued this guy after just a few months, but that’s still a few months of kids beating themselves about the head and neck with a sharp, ugly yo-yo.
2. Throw Down Lucha Libre: It’s hard for me to put this on here, because at one point I was sponsored by Throw Down, but the Lucha Libre definitely finds a home on this list. It’s not every day that a yo-yo is released which is so hopelessly bad that it results in the complete obliteration of the company which made it. The Lucha Libre was intended to be a delrin version of the popular Luchador, an angular metal model which sold out in 3 different versions. The first prototype of the LL I received was way too light, but played great. It had one of the enormously thick Dif-e-Yo style axles and recessed silicone response. I was worried that the plastic bearing seat would develop problems, but other models (the Gung Fu and the Silk) had similar guts and were reasonably well-liked. Without consulting its team on the design, however, Throw Down elected to go with a cockamamie, over-complicated design, using a thinner axle, spiked hex-nuts, metal shims, and [most unfortunately] paper-thin walls around the bearing seat. The final version was never tested by the team, and I received a pair of them in the mail on the day after they released at Yoyonation.com. The first one broke within an hour of playing it, cracking in a concentric circle around the hex nut. As became clear to everyone who bought it, the Lucha Libre would fall apart under the lightest contact imaginable, either in the way I experienced or with the bearing seat itself snapping off. I heard of LL’s breaking when they hit the ground, when overtightened, when regular-tightened, when CAUGHT. How does a yo-yo break when it hits your fleshy palm?!?! Throw Down’s owner was a good guy, and he promised to refund or replace any and all broken Lucha Libre’s. Unfortunately, in the span of a few weeks, at least 90% of the run had fallen apart in this way. Financially, Throw Down was just as fragile as its yo-yo’s, and there was no way it could afford to replace an entire run of failed stock. The company folded under the weight of its impossible promise and broken reputation. A sad but cautionary tale to all manufacturers who would try to bypass adequate testing.
1. Revolution Rev-G: This is so obvious that I’m afraid it may be an anticlimax, but I guess that alone tells you something about the legendary Rev-G. Personally, I have never been more disappointed with a yo-yo than this one, and that includes the Lucha Libre, which ended my first yo-yo sponsorship. I first tried a Rev-G in my local shopping mall around Y2K. Most yo-yo’s were still pretty cheap back then, and its $80 price point put it right up there with the Cold Fusion and SB-2 in terms of “luxury” expectations. And honestly, I’ll admit that my late-90’s ridiculously-wide-jeans, bleached-hair self thought the Rev-G looked pretty flippin’ sweet. For one, it had a carbon fiber body. CARBON FIBER. Like in Formula One cars and the bones of those Avatar aliens! And yet again, it not only had rubber o-rings stretched around the rims, but also came with a protective, adjustable, silicone finger sleeve which further cushioned your squishy hands from that evil bully, yo-yo string. It was like Yo-Tape that you could use again and again… or would have been, if ANYONE had EVER wanted to use the Rev-G more than once. Sadly, this is the kind of product you get when otherwise intelligent people get together to design something they know nothing about. Revolution was a kite company. Know what would happen if I tried designing a kite? Me either, but it would probably involve some kids in a park with subdural hematoma and a whole lotta lawsuits.
There were a couple things wrong with the Rev-G to put it in this echelon of suck. Most notably, it just didn’t work. Like the aforementioned Kahuna, it had a super-thin gap and a huge diameter, making it uncomfortable to hold and difficult to catch. It was “rim-weighted”, sure, but the whole structure was way too light and unstable. Like some horrible belligerent drunkard, it would wobble and convulse and constantly try to pick a fight. And despite its “aerospace” billing and luxury accoutrements, it was easily outplayed by far less expensive yo-yo’s. Most people will buy an expensive yo-yo, and after doing so will attempt to defend it from criticism, even if it stinks. No one wants to feel like a big dummy for being duped into dropping $80 for a carbon fiber paperweight (which is only heavy enough to hold down like 8 papers). Incredibly though, I have NEVER spoken to anyone who has played or owned a Rev-G who had anything good to say about the way it played. (Granted, it’s hard to talk to most of the people who bought one, since they have changed their name and left the country, their reputation in shambles). Over the years, the Rev-G’s legend has only grown, as like a mighty Spartan warrior, it has fought and clambered its way over the corpses of the most atrocious yo-yo’s to sit, unchallenged, atop the throne of ultimate lameness…
And there you have it! Hopefully, I didn’t tick anyone off too bad. I’m actually a big believer in having fun with any yo-yo. Still, I can’t imagine that even in a vast internet world populated by flame-spewers who will say anything for attention, no one will cop to really liking any one of these. And I have to assume that most of the people responsible for their design either inadvertently blew themselves up in a makeshift lab somewhere or else are incarcerated. If nothing else, each of these yo-yo’s certainly represents a “crime against humanity”. Got a problem with my picks? Have a better awful yo-yo in mind? Let me hear it in the comments. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go heat up this P’Zone.
To celebrate the announcement and upcoming release of their new collaborative yoyos, YoYoJam and Yomega have released videos for the Odyssey and Firestorm, featuring both YoYoJam and Yomega players using the new models. Both videos were shot and edited by Ben Conde and Grant Johnson.
Firestorm video featuring Tylor McCallumore and Daniel Dietz,
Odyssey video featuring Eric Koloski, Grant Johnson, Tylor McCallumore, and Daniel Dietz.
Journey video featuring Ben Conde, and players from the Cat & Mouse Games YoYo Club in Chicago, IL.
The 2014 International Toy Fair will be taking place in New York City this weekend and Yomega will be there showcasing their latest products for 2014. Here is a preview of what they will be showing.
First up from Yomega’s licensed line of Star Wars Yo-Yos we have the String Bling and YoMen. These were first announced last year, but are finally now in full production and available in retail outlets.
The String Bling are Fireball yoyos with all-new Star Wars designs featuring Yoda, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Clone Trooper. The yoyo comes with a collectable Star Wars character rings that are used to protect your fingers while yoyoing.
The YoMen are display stands that showcase your yoyos with the characters Darth Vader, Clone Trooper, Yoda and General Grievous. A Yomega Fireball yoyo is cradled on the stands and sculpted in the character’s likeness.
Next up we have Yomega’s range of kendamas. Yomega was the first yoyo company to manufacture and market a kendama, and their response to the growing popularity of kendama in the United States has been to steadily improve and refresh their line of kendama offerings.
They are also introducing an addition to their Pro line called the Coyote Kendama
“Inspired by the American Desert COYOTE KENDAMA is an all-new special collection from our premium KENDAMA PRO line. This first assortment includes Painted Desert, Malachite… and of course, the Trickster! He is the Coyote, the legendary “Trickster” in Native American folklore. Kendama players demand high performance and the coolest new looks, and COYOTE KENDAMA delivers!”
Also relating to kendamas, Yomega is introducing a new skill toy called the Ticayo. Similar to the traditional bilboquet, the Ticayo should appeal to kendama players, and anyone interested in another challenging skill toy.
“The Ticayo is a classic ball and catch game originating in Mexico. Yomega’s Ticayo is crafted in Germany of premium hard wood. The style of play is similar to the Kendama, but the shape of the ball and the handle areunique,creatingitsownchallenge. Packaged in an environmentally friendly kraft paper box, the Ticayo comes with its own cubed-styled stand for display. The Ticayo is available in four colors and natural. Available in the US and Canada only through Yomega.”
For Yomega’s higher end pieces we have the Raider, Maverick, Dash, Yo-Mods, Glide, and my personal favorite the Prodigy!
Things to note from this part of the catalog is that the Star Wars line is featured on the Glide with Boba Fett, Darth Vader, the Imperial insignia, and the Rebel insignia. The Maverick is also getting a new look, and the yoyo itself has undergone some design tweaks to improve performance. Better balance and weight distribution has made this my new favorite carry-around yoyo; it’s a must try for 2014! And the Raider is being released with th original logo, for fans of that classic Yomega look!
The biggest announcement for Toy Fair is the new collaboration between Yomega and YoYoJam! Three performance plastic yoyos, designed and manufactured by YoYoJam and distributed by Yomega!
The Odyssey, Journey, and all-new Firestorm will begin shipping to retailers in March. We’ve got full pics and specs on all three models….click through for details.
[button color=”light” link=”http://yoyonews.com/2014/02/13/yomega-yoyojam-announce-new-collaboration/” target=”blank”]Click Here For Details On The New YoYoJam x Yomega Releases[/button]
Yomega Corp and YoYoJam have announced a truly unusual collaboration…three new plastic yoyos manufactured by YoYoJam that will be distributed exclusively to specialty and mass-market retail outlets by Yomega!
I spoke with Yomega President Todd Rywolt about the collaboration, and he gave me some insight into the project.
We are launching three “YoyoJam X Yomega” models at the International Toy Fair in New York this month; the Journey, Odyssey and Firestorm. As you are well aware, Journey has been a beginner’s staple for years but has never been broadly marketed. We think it’s significant that a legendary throw (previously only sold at “boutique” toy stores and websites) will now reach a mass audience. The Odyssey is a re-vamped version of the original Surge design, with a new name and logo, again brought to a broader audience than ever before. Firestorm is an all-new design – an incredibly solid, super-smooth new plastic yoyo.
All three will be responsive out of the package with a half-spec bearing, but can be made unresponsive by cleaning the bearing or replacing it with a standard C-size bearing. All three models will continue YoYoJam’s tradition of being made in the USA, but with all-new package touting YoyoJam X Yomega. We think this is pretty exciting news and will help bring in new players!
All three models should begin shipping to retailers in early March, and should be on shelves shortly after. We won’t know until after Toy Fair if any mass market retailers will be stocking these, but we’ll update if we hear anything!
Specs and pics of all three models below. And YoYoNews has a FULL SET of these new yoyos that we’re giving away! Just reply to this article and tell us why you want them…we’ll pick one lucky winner on Monday, February 17th to get all three yoyos before they are available in stores!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Christian, our lucky winner!
Rei Iwakura is, hands down, one of the most inventive and flawless yoyo players and performers in the world. If you think you’d like to argue that point I’ll save you the time: you’re wrong.
The solo ham section that starts about a minute in to this video kicks off with a dead smooth solo ham fast mount, and escalates quickly to be some of the cleanest and best solo ham play I’ve ever seen.
Huge thanks to YoYo Store Rewind for putting this video together!
Clint Armstrong, Michael Kurti, and Eric Koloski throw down some gems in this new video, Denny’s Sessions. Looks like it was filmed at the Denny’s in Chico during US Nationals…but now that I’ve said that, it’ll turn out to have been filmed somewhere else. Hard to tell with Denny’s…they all look the same.
Polish Team YoYoJam members Adrian Koniecki and Piotrek Śmietana started 2014 with a fresh new video, another sweet and great-looking production from Backspin!
If you missed their video from last year, check it out as well!
The Hitman is a classic example of the first wave of what we would consider modern performance yoyos. In the hands of the BZZZT supremely gifted and driven Johnnie DelValle, the Hitman won every title that mattered in 2003 and became the number one throw for aspiring champions everywhere. The Hitman X is a great modernization of that contest-killing yoyo, although it BZZZT lacks the in-hand charm of the original. The larger diameter gives this model increased spin time and stability from the original, but at 69.7 grams it packs a whallop in the hand. The yoyo binds a bit loose with the stock response, but this is easily and quickly remedied with the 19mm pads of your choice.
YoYoJam has always been high in performance and innovation, but low on the BZZZT looks and packaging. The aesthetic of YoYoJam is primarily utilitarian and the Hitman X is no different. A basic hot foil stamp on the usual clear caps, and that standard YoYoJam box that most of their yoyos use. There’s nothing really BZZZT worth looking at here, but the nice thing is that it keeps all of their models intended for one thing only: playing it until you destroy it.
At only $45 retail, the Hitman X is a much better deal than most players realize. The extraordinary weight distribution thanks to YoYoJam’s patented metal rims make their hybrid models some of the longest spinning out there. For a hybrid yoyo in this BZZZT price range, there aren’t a lot of options but they’re all good ones including the Hitman X.