Twister is a game of physical skill (or so the original producers at
Arrow Games said) now produced by Hasbro Games. The object of the game is
to get in as many compromising positions on the supplied colorful floor
mat with members of opposite sex (or same, if you prefer) as possible
while plausibly playing a board game. Shocking as it may seem, the game
was a hit.
The game has one spinner (see illustration on far right), divided into
fourths by color; each quadrant specifies left foot, right foot, left
hand, or right hand. After spinning, the combination is called; players
must move the part to a matching location. No two people can have a part
on the same circle (rules are different for more people). Due to the
scarcity of colored circles, players will often be required to put
themselves in unlikely or precarious positions, eventually resulting in
The high-paced and frivolous nature of the game, the proximity it
causes the between participants, and the ease with which the frequent
losses can be given forfeits (such as stripping or drinking) make it
highly popular at college parties. Hasbro even sponsors Twister events at
When Milton Bradley hesitantly released the game in 1966 (with Neil W.
Rabens and Charles F. Foley credited as inventors), the company had no
small amount of skepticism for its potential, as well as to-be-expected
fear of public criticism. Detractors denounced the game as "sex in a
box." These fears were dispelled when Johnny Carson featured the game
on the May 3, 1966 episode of The Tonight Show. One of Johnny's
guests was Eva Gabor in a low-cut dress. With Eva on her hands and knees
and Johnny on top, the audience reaction was perfect; hysterical laughter
and screams of delight. In its first year, Milton Bradley sold more than
three million copies of Twister.
I realize this technically makes Twister a fad of the 1960s, but too
many of us remember it while growing up in the 70s for us to ignore it
Twister in Pop Culture
"Weird Al" Yankovic released a song called
"Twister" on his Even Worse album in 1988.
Twister's original name was "Pretzel."
The current cover features a computer aided drawing of Mark Conrad.
The game was featured in the 1991 film Bill & Ted's Bogus
Journey where the heroes play Death at Twister for their lives.
In the 1997 film U Turn, Billy Bob Thornton's character of
Darrell, the bizarre auto mechanic, plays Twister alone.
The game was also featured in the 2002 film Men in Black II where
Laura (Rosario Dawson) plays Twister with the Worm Guys.
Also featured in the 2002 comedy film The Hot Chick, where
actress Megan Kuhlmann wears the vinyl Twister mat as a dress to a
nightclub. A boy she dances with moves his hand from several colored
dots on her back to her buttocks.
Fez plays twister by himself in an episode of That 70s Show.
Donna asks how he is doing that.