A contender for the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Bop It! has Rochester ties

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Toy Hall of Fame nominee has Rochester ties.

Surely everyone knows the toy Bop It!, and the designer of the original one grew up in Greece.

That voice that you hear in the original Bop It! — that belongs to Bob Welch. Welch works for Parker Brothers.

“It was hysterical when you lost and 99.9% of the time you were going to lose,” says Welch. “So I think that was a big key to the success of the product, whether it was just so fun to play and to lose, right, and try to get better at it. And if you lost, it was funny. Your laugh and your friends are laughing and they say, let me try.”

The toy hit shelves in 1996, and Welch says he knew it was going to be a big hit.

“I remember going to the Hasbro Fun Lab, which was a test facility down at Hasbro. Parker Brothers was owned by Hasbro at the time – still is. And we would go down and kids would just love it. And especially with the screen, parents were like, okay, this is going to make me crazy now,” Welch said.

Now it’s a nominee for induction into the 2023 National Toy Hall of Fame.

“It’s thrilling not only in general, but it’s in my hometown,” he said.

Welch thinks Bop It! has been popular because of how accessible and easy it is to just pick up and play.

“And also, it’s it’s intuitive when you look at it. The twist looks like a twist. The pull looks like a pull. And you should definitely hit those buttons,” Welch said.

And Amanda Yeager, who’s never played before, agrees.

“It was easy to pick up. I was definitely nervous when I started because I thought I wouldn’t be able to get it. But it was easy to pick up and I liked it. It was fun,” Yeager said.

Welch also designed other games that you may know, like Catchphrase and Outburst!

And although the Bop It! has had different iterations, the original means a lot to Welch.

“People will still talk to me about this Bop It! or that Bop It! and I’ll say, well, the original was me. I kicked it all off, but I’m still happy to see it everywhere,” he said.

Fans can vote on their favorite toys from Sept. 13 through Sept. 20 here.