The Fascination With Twister

For years people all over the country, and all over the world, have been playing Twister. What is it about this game that causes such excitement? Why does it keep selling so many years after its creation? I was always curious how total strangers could get involved with playing a game like Twister. Depending on the crowd, it can be one of the most obvious game to choose.
The Twister game is a little difficult to nail down as far as a year of origin. For the sake of argument let us say that Twister was created somewhere around the early 1960’s in the United States by Charles F Foley and Neil W Rabens. They even have a United States patent on the game. Twister itself is extremely simple. You have a mat with large colored circles on it. There is a spinner that has an area for left foot, right foot, left hand, and right hand. Within each hand or foot area is a dot for each color on the big mat. So let’s say you spin the wheel and it winds up on the green dot in left foot. Whomever is up for that turn has to put their left foot on a green dot on the map. The problem is that they cannot put their left foot on a green dot that is already occupied by someone else. They have to find a vacant green dot. That is the essence of Twister. You have to twist your body into all kinds of shapes to follow the directions you are given by the spinner. The first person to lose their balance and fall is the loser. Simple in its design, Twister is brilliant in its execution. It seems simple but yet it is such a great idea for a game.

People have been playing Twister for years and there is usually some variation on it depending on what kind of crowd you are talking about. College students have turned Twister into a drinking game that I would imagine, over the course of the evening, can cause someone a great deal of pain. There is also a version of Twister played in college dorms called Naked Twister that I am not even going to discuss. All of this sprung from a game intended for kids.

Kids play Twister as well. Kids seem to find a lot more enjoyment out of the falling down associated with Twister than adults do. I remember playing Twister once when I was a younger adult and dreading the eventual tumble to the mat. But I have watched kids play Twister and they seem to enjoy the game a lot more than adults do. But the fact is that Twister is a game that has caught on with people of all ages and has crept its way into our culture as both a game played at adult parties and also played in children’s nursery schools. Both with apparently the same enthusiasm. But why is that?

I think children look at Twister as a chance to get in silly positions and then eventually collapse in a pile on the floor with their friends. When I observe children playing Twister that seems to be the essence of the game for them. They do try to put their hands and feet where they need to go but they also seem to revel in the end of the game. Adults, on the other hand, see Twister as the ultimate challenge in balance. They seem to want to outdo each other with their ability to reach over each other without taking the tumble to the mat. When sober adults come crashing to the mat the ones that are usually laughing are the people watching the game and not the people playing.

Twister is a child’s game that crosses generations. It is a game that people can play all of their lives and a game that is fun for different reasons to different people. It is something that never changes as we grow older but yet our attitudes towards it change through the years. That is the beauty of Twister, it refuses to grow up.
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