I don’t get excited about new drops. I just don’t. I’ve always been pretty patient about getting the yoyos I want. The Gamer by Rain City Skills and Eternal Throw was an exception. I saw it and knew immediately I had to have one.
The recent resurgence in responsive play, particularly responsive metals, is pretty exciting. I began throwing around the time the necessity of modding a yoyo or changing its setup to make it playable was starting to fade out completely. Modern yoyos come out of the box ready to rock and roll. That sort of removes some of the challenge and satisfaction of tinkering with setups and carefully going after your new yoyo with a drill or some sharp object in an effort to achieve a feel that suits your style and needs. It was a way to individualize your yoyo and express yourself in the setup. Part of me is a little sad I didn’t start playing sooner so I could really appreciate more of that and benefit from it.
Fast forward to 2017. Yoyos that require some tinkering seem to be making a comeback. Basecamp introduced the Moonshine (so much fun). Core Co. brought us the Alley Cat (fantastic yoyo). One Drop stepped up with the Deep State (haven’t yet had the pleasure). And now Rain City Skills and Eternal Throw bring us the Gamer. Designed by Justin Scott Larson, a guy who LOVES old school yoyos, the Gamer promises to be fun.
Weight (with slim bearing) 66.4g
Weight (with standard bearing) 67.5g
Width (with slim bearing) 32.2mm
On to the review…
OUT OF THE BOX:
The first thing I noticed while unpacking my Gamer was the crazy amount of stuff that comes with it. You get spare pads, slim and wide bearings, a case, a bottle of thick lube, bearing removal tool, and even decorative Lego pieces to snap onto the hub. All that for $40? Crazy.
The yoyo itself has a sleek, smooth finish but isn’t tacky at all. You can grind with this thing. Out of the box, it’s set up for non-responsive play with a string-centering bearing. The machining appears to be on point and the material used does not appear to be subpar, despite the low price point and generous amount of extras. I was able to get mine half-swapped in silver and black (go Raiders!) and could not find any ano flaws to speak of. Overall, everything you get will be high quality and an extraordinary value.
ON THE STRING:
I spent the first half an hour or so with the Gamer playing it non-responsive. It’s a ton of fun. The spin times are amazingly long for such a small player and the narrow width adds a fresh challenge to worn-out tricks. The binds are super tight with the larger-than-normal custom pads. There’s a little vibe in mine but it’s hardly worth mentioning. The Gamer is not a yoyo you buy if you’re looking for your next dead smooth competition player.
Switching over to responsive play is as simple as swapping out to the slim bearing. The bearing seat is extremely tight. This is not a complaint so much as a heads up. Be patient and use the included bearing tool and the bearing will come right off. Don’t go crazy or you’ll trash a perfectly good bearing.
Responsive play is where the Gamer really shines. The response is silky smooth and ultra- consistent. Stalls are effortless and the weight distribution is awesome for kickflips and dump trucks. I would warn prospective buyers to go easy on your throws. Hard throws on a yoyo with this level of responsiveness pose a huge threat to your knuckles.
If I had to pick one thing to complain about with the Gamer, it would be that it’s too responsive with it’s stock setup. Which really goes to show how spoiled I am as a yoyoer. Some of you will probably really dig it as is. I’m currently working on breaking in the pads to a point where the play is right where I like it and can maintain it with proper amounts of thick lube. I’m also considering other possible setups. Honestly, it’s a real joy to have to actually work at getting a yoyo tweaked and tuned to my personal perfection. I’m enjoying the experience. There’s pleasure in the process.
TO BUY, OR NOT TO BUY:
Both. Maybe. As far as I know, the Gamer is currently pretty much sold out everywhere or at least pretty close to it. As such, there’s a big part of me that hates the idea of players buying something in short supply just to have it. This is a yoyo that’s meant to played, not kept in some case never to see the light of day. With that being said, it’s also a yoyo everyone should experience. It provides an opportunity to go back in time and play like a legend. It demands smoothness and accuracy while punishing your failures. It challenges you in the funnest ways possible while encouraging a whole different world of trick exploration. So, yeah. Buy it. But also play it. If you don’t, get it in the hands of someone who will.
Colorful photos: Trevor Janvier
Not colorful photo: Waylon Crase