Madhouse Compulsion Review
In 2008 Rick and Nick at Madhouse Yoyo began producing yoyo’s with the idea that the same old design and the same old finish just wouldn’t do. They wanted to do something different and eventually created a company around this idea with the release of the 5150 which was named aptly after the police code for a mentally disturbed individual. The company is known for trying new designs and really pushing what we as players view a yoyo to be. The latest release from Madhouse, the Compulsion, is a testament to Rick and Nick’s desire to incorporate traditional and stable design technique with new, state of the art finish techniques. The Compulsion uses a process that is completely new to the yoyo world and has been patented by Madhouse. The finish on the Compulsion literally fuses the design onto the aluminum body creating a stunning effect which honestly makes you want to take it apart and try to find a seam.
The Compulsion I received came in the red and blue circle design that sports the Madhouse logo over the entire body of the yoyo. I’ve been playing this throw for weeks on and off now and wherever I am I get asked the same questions - “Is that a metal yoyo?” or “How the heck did they do that?”
Madhouse Compulsion Specs:
Standard C size bearing (.250 x .500 x .187)
Madhouse flowable silicone response
The Compulsion comes in two designs, the log with red and blue circles or the plaid, both of which are very stunning when you consider that it is an aluminum yoyo underneath all that crazy pattern. The new finishing technique is great and while it does offer some minor drawbacks it is still a nice throw to add to a collection.
In the Box:
Madhouse Compulsion yoyo in all its near-seizure inducing glory
A red pouch for the yoyo
2 TFS green strings
Madhouse has created in the Compulsion a butterfly shape packed with a bit of attitude. I am a firm believer in pushing the envelope. So many industries today just skim on their way doing the same old thing day in and day out. I respect Madhouse for jumping off the path with the Compulsion. When I first opened the box, took the yoyo apart in search of a seam in the design (which I did find) the first thing that came to mind was the Magic Egg dye kits I did when I was a kid…the ones where you dipped the poor defenseless egg in that odd oil slick of dye and sparkle and when it came out it was covered in some psychedelic mix of colors and glitter. Now I am not sure how the yoyo was fused with its finish but this finish, in my opinion limits the final product a wee bit. The rounded, weighted rims offer suitable spin time for complex tricks and the feel in my hand was pleasant. The rounded rims lead to a catch zone that is a one step “V” shape that leads to a flat wall. Inside the cup I found an aggressively designed hub spike for matador tricks. You may have noticed though that I have not mentioned an IGR on the Compulsion. This is because there is no IGR. From what I can surmise the fusion process that results in the finish may have not allowed for an IGR as the film or whatever was used to complete the design would have left a void and therefore some potential faults in the final product which would have definitely detracted from the eye-catching finish. The shiny end result though caused my grinds to end in a shot to the head and a dent in my sheet rock when I attempted to grind with the Compulsion. The beautiful finish is just a tad too slick and if there were a way to tone down the polished look and blast it in some way I am sure the grinds would be incredible…but…would this same yoyo be the Compulsion though? I think that in this particular yoyo its a matter of wants…the want of an amazing, one of kind finish OR additional design features such as an IGR and a grindable surface. If you consider these things honestly there are very few yoyos that are going to fulfill all styles of play and still look this cool. An interesting thing to note with the Compulsion is that the finish is very string friendly. When I say this I am referencing how the slick finish accepts string contact well which is both great for string longevity but also helps the string fall into the catch zone very well. Not a major difference in play but when you consider the string destroying tendencies of some new yo-yos the Compulsion has no issue with string life at the wall section.
On a Throw:
The Compulsion is one of those yo-yos that I picked up and to be honest threw once and put back down. Upon the very first throw I had to check the specs because I felt something had to be wrong. The yoyo felt lighter than its purported 67.9 grams. I pulled out a scale and sure enough the specs were spot on - 67.9 grams. The yoyo sat on my desk for a day until I picked it up again. I was skeptical at first that I would be writing a review on it but I felt it deserved, like any good yoyo, a fair chance and every time I looked at it on my desk I just couldn’t help but pick it up and stare at the finish. So I played it and included it in my rotation of throws and after some time it grew on me. The feel in my hand was just nice. That feeling you get when you switch from a sharper rimmed throw to one with rounded, organic rims. The Compulsion has one of those designs that is simple enough to just play nicely and puts a smile on your face. Even on those days where I find myself unable to sleep and I decide to venture off to throw I couldn’t manage a bad throw no matter how tired and uncoordinated my insomnia had left me. The design of the Compulsion is truly physics well applied: weight distribution done so well that the yoyo holds weight that you just can’t feel on the string. It doesn’t feel like a rock on a throw and floats like a much lighter yoyo. Impressive in my book. As I mentioned the hub spike allows for matador play but here again we meet with the minor limitation of the finish - a polish-like finish does not make for the best friction reduction so when holding the spikes in any way the momentum is deadened noticeably. In a way the Compulsion is one of those yo-yos you want to just play because it does handle throws with some great consistency but you are limited in play with the lack of the IGR and grind surface.
Stock Bearing and Response:
The Compulsion comes with a standard C size bearing which on my yoyo played well at first but needed a cleaning. I threw in a ten ball and continued my play which of course reduced the noise a bit. For those who prefer a string-centering bearing the Madhouse plays well with center trac, kk and grooved bearings. The design though of the Compulsion plays well on the string and being stable and very forgiving on a throw I can see anyone preferring a centering bearing being happily surprised as how well the Madhouse plays on a flat bearing. The stock response system is Madhouse’s own flowable silicone mixture which provides some excellent tight binds. At first I found the response to be a tad on the “sticky” side but once broken in the play became more consistent and my knuckles were all the happier.
Overall the Compulsion is a good player. Solid and yet floaty on the string. Fast and controllable. Comfortable in the hand without being too large or small and this is truly a good yoyo for someone who wants to move from plastic to metal since the play is, as I mentioned, incredibly forgiving on a throw. While I would have liked to see an IGR and a more grind-friendly surface the Compulsion is still a nice yoyo to have in a collection and if you’re ever out throwing in public I am certain people are going to ask questions when they see a silver yoyo go plaid once it stops spinning.
Update June 17, 2012: So I’ve been playing only my Compulsion this week and one thing I have noticed is that the finish really does help when you are trying to learn a new trick. You know, those tricks where you end up killing spin because you are more focused on hand position and transitions than where the string is. Those are the ones that I find frustrating because you kill your spin trying to get the technical details down. The Compulsion is very friendly for new tricks since the finish when in contact with the string decreases friction which allows for longer spin. You can see evidence of this logic to the finish is some of the newer throws out there that have a blasted outer rim but a polished catch zone and wall - the best of both worlds! I set off to learn Matreska and although I am still cursing through the trick I have been able to increase my overall consistency through the process due to the great finish.