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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Hoopla of Twister

I think that I have played quite a few board games during my early childhood. Before I donated most of them to charity shops, or sold them at yard sales, or gave them as gifts to other people, I had a collection of at least three dozen. I had the old standbys such as “Monopoly”, “Clue”, “Trivial Pursuit”, and “Sorry”. But I also played with board games that maybe weren't as well known. Have you ever heard of games like “Shark Attack”, “Jig Jag”, and “Garfield: The Board Game”? It's okay if you haven't. Who knows? I may end up doing blog entries on these lesser-known board games in the near future.

For today's blog entry, I thought that I would take a look at a game that millions of people have owned, or at the very least played at least once.

This is a game that I have never owned...and the one and only time I did play the game, I ended up doing so terribly at it that I never played it again.

You see, unlike most board games, this was one in which you had to display your flexibility. In fact, this game actually encourages you to flex your muscles and bend your body in ways that you never believed were possible.

That's we're going to be looking at the classic game known as “Twister”.

Twister” was created by Charles F. Foley and Neil Rabens, who submitted the patent for the game forty-six years ago in 1966. The game immediately took off after people watched Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor playing it on the set of the “Tonight Show” for the May 3, 1966 broadcast.

Developed by Milton Bradley, the game's rules were very simple. In each game was a plastic mat with sixteen dots...four red, four blue, four yellow, and four green. There is also a spinner that looks like this.

Each turn, the wheel would be spun, and wherever the arrow pointed, the person had to stick either their hand or foot on one of the coloured dots. For example, if the arrow pointed to “RIGHT FOOT BLUE!”, all the players would have to place their right foot on blue. Then on the second spin, suppose it landed on “LEFT HAND GREEN!”, the players would then put their left hands on green WHILE keeping their right foot on blue. Just like the number of dots, there are sixteen possible combinations that can be called on the Twister spinner, and as the game proceeds, it becomes harder and harder to stay upright.

In order to win the game, you have to be the last player remaining on the board without falling down...and depending on the combinations that can be spun, that can be challenging. I dare you to try having both of your hands on red, and then trying to have one foot on blue, and the other one on green. That's the combo that did me in on the one game that I attempted to play.

Now, there's really no limit as to how many people can play the game. You really only need a minimum of three to play (one to spin the wheel and the other two on the mat), but if you have more than four people playing, it becomes a bit of a tight squeeze. It's recommended that if more than four people play, that they tape two or three Twister mats together to expand the fun.

When “Twister” was first released, it immediately became a cultural phenomenon, and it was praised for being a game that people of all ages could enjoy. However, the game was also the subject of criticism by other toy manufacturers, claiming that the game of “Twister” was nothing more than “sex in a box”.

Which is an allegation that I find absolutely ridiculous...well, unless you were playing the game naked...which is cool if you like that sort of thing.

Now, there have been various versions of the game that have been created since the original one was released in 1966. “Finger Twister” is similar to a travel-sized board game, where instead of your whole body, you just use your fingers. There's a “Twister Hoopla” game which eliminates the game mat, and instead forces you to play with coloured rings. I could explain the game to you, but I think Ellen DeGeneres does a better job down below.

And would you believe that there's a “Twister Dodgeball” game? I've never played it, and I am honestly not even sure how you would play it, but here's the visual aid for it below, if you're interested.

And did you know that the board game “Twister” is associated with several world records? When I was doing research on this board game, I never really realized just how many records there were.

For instance, did you know that the world record for the largest Twister game board was set in June 2010 in Belchertown, Massachusetts? The board was made up of 1,008 Twister mats, and covered an area of 24,156 square feet! The construction of the mat was for a great cause though, as the mat was designed as part of the kickoff for a school fundraising drive.

The largest game of Twister ever played occurred in April 2005 in the Netherlands, with a game board that measured 2,453 square feet. There was also a record for most players to ever play a Twister game, which was initially set in 1987 by 4,160 people at the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. However, this record was later disqualified due to officiating inconsistencies, and the category was temporarily banned between 1988 and 1992.

Oh, and for those of you who may be suffering from colour blindness or have vision impairment, fear not...there are ways in which you can play too. In fact, I found a set of rules on how to play the game which I will post for those of you who cannot tell the difference between green and red. Instead of focusing on colours, one way is to cut out four different shapes, and assigning each colour to a shape. For example, using the suits in a deck of playing cards...


All you really have to do is place the shapes on the dots, and when the spinner is spun, just shout out “LEFT HAND SPADES!” instead of “LEFT HAND YELLOW!Simple as that!

All right. That's all I have to say for today. If you excuse me, I'm going to try playing another game of Twister now.


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