Few games have the risque reputation associated with Twister. Then again, few games have ever asked you make body contact with your opponents as you practice your contortionist skills. Competing toy companies have tried to paint the game as nothing more than a precursor to sexual activity, but that hasn’t slowed the popularity of Twister one iota, a family friendly game firmly entrenched in pop culture ever since it arrived on the scene in 1966.
The premise is simple. A large vinyl mat is spread out on the floor, filled with rows of colored circles. Two to four players take turns spinning a color-coordinated wheel that instructs them to place a specific appendage on the corresponding dot. Some are easy to reach, others require the nimbleness of a circus acrobat. As the game progresses, players become more and more intertwined, until someone’s knee or elbow touches the mat, thus ending the game.
The public first learned of Twister primarily via The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1966, when Johnny took to the mat alongside Eva Gabor. Sales of the game skyrocketed, causing competing game companies to dismiss Twister as nothing more than “sex in a box.” But as they say, all publicity is good publicity, and despite efforts to harm the game’s reputation, Milton Bradley had a clear winner on its hands, selling millions of copies of Twister over the years.
Twister can be played by all ages, despite what it’s reputation might suggest. Now made by Hasbro, it can still be found in toy aisles everywhere and the original version hasn’t really changed over the past four decades. It’s still a party favorite, certainly a classic, and fondly remembered by anyone who ever had the opportunity to spin that unforgiving wheel.
Do you have any (G-rated) Twister memories you would like to share with us? We welcome all your recollections in our comments section.