Twister

Simon says meets breakdancing; or at least that’s what the picture on the box makes it out to be. Twister is the classic game that requires you to hold a position resembling a plank mixed with a pretzel for minutes if not hours. But who am I kidding. When you were a kid, who cared how long the game went? Most of us would have done anything back in the day to get that close to our crush ;). The longer you went, the longer you got to giggle as you brushed shoulders or accidentally touched hands reaching for the same colored circle. I don’t know if many of you have played the game since you left your 9’s and 10’s, but sheesh, I don’t remember sweating so much when I was younger. Nothing’s worse than being the person who gets out first. Who then has to humiliatingly sit there as people remind you how out of shape you are. It’s one of those games where you can either go into it with no expectations and find yourself giving up after 5 minutes of spot switching, orrrr like me, you start out pretty relaxed and then the competition sets in, and there’s no giving in until the fibers from your muscles are begging for you to slump over and relax. 

 I’ll give you a moment to re-live the anxiety that came with starting a game of Twister. The moment you place that first hand down, surrendering it to the game as if making a blood pact with the colored circle. Next, a foot. Then your other hand. And next thing you know, you’re entangled in an uncomfortable crab walk or a less than graceful downward dog that would almost certainly make any yoga instructor look away in shame. Minutes pass and people around you start dropping out like the Hunger Games. No cannons fire, but you summon your inner Katniss and fight through the burn. More time passes and you find your mind wandering. Anything to not think about the searing pain in your quads or the twinging discomfort in your deltoids. In desperation you close your eyes, squeezing your eyelids against your cornea. You feel yourself slipping into a deep, dark abyss. As you feel yourself on the verge of fading to oblivion, all of the sudden, you hear a faint thud as if in the distance. As if instinctively you open your eyes and daylight floods in, bleaching your vision. As your eyes come into focus you view your final opponent slumped, almost lifeless on the mat. All at once, you feel the neural impulse coursing through your body and one by one, your muscle fibers release from their unyielding grip. As you lay there fading in and out of consciousness and with the last drop of strength left in your mortal body, you shape your mouth into a pained grin. You think back to a lifetime ago when you settled within yourself to rest that first hand upon the mat, altering the course of your existence forever. A resolution that you will cherish forever.

  • Time to set up: 30 seconds. Comparable to setting out a blanket. If it takes much longer then you’re probably doing it wrong.
  • Duration of game: We decided this really depends on the level of contortionists that you will be playing with. For example, Cassidy who is very not flexible—probably a 5 minute round at most. Cassidy’s sister who was a cheerleader and dancer; she’ll whoop our trash and hold unthinkable positions for far too long. Take that as you will. 
  • Number of players that are needed/can participate: 2+. Personal opinion: the more the merrier. Make it awkward… just kidding. Just get a bigger Twister and just have tons of fun with a super large group. Just don’t play by yourself. Even if Alexa can call out the colors for you, have fun explaining to whoever walks in the room.
  • Where it can be played? Grass, sand, carpet, or other soft surfaces. Tile, hardwood, or cement can make for rough landings and potential injuries when you collapse on other players. Just use your brains people. I feel like it goes without saying but COVID-19 has made me start to question people’s judgement. 
  • How to play? Twister consists of a mat with 4 colors each lined up in rows, and a spinning wheel. Just add bodies. The spinner will spin the wheel, telling you which body part to put on what color. This will continue until people start collapsing like the dam from Frozen 2. Survival of the fittest. Or twistiest. (Is that a word?)

Backyard Buffs’ Rating: 16

Creativity/Originality: 5. Twister came out in 1966. After doing some research, we learned that it was inducted into the  American National Toy Hall of Fame. Since then, many games have tried to mimic the idea with similar games such as Hullabaloo and the Yoga Garden Game. You know your game is original when people start trying to rip off your idea. Twister is such a creative game that has led to other cool games in our modern age such as Dance Dance Revolution. 

Durability (packaging or game pieces): 3. For some reason I have never played a game where the spinning wheel stays in great shape for very long. They give you this durable tarp thing to stand and stretch and wrestle on, but just a lousy, cardboard spinner. Never made much sense to me…

Friendly for all Ages/Skill Levels: 4. You know… I’ve never thought about our poor friends whose mediocre range of motion may limit them from playing Twister. For this reason, the game nearly gets a perfect score. Regardless of how inept you are at playing this type of game, it’s pretty straightforward.

Fair Pricing: 4. At $16, it seems a tad bit pricier than it should be for a plastic mat and a cardboard spinner. For the amount of hours of active fun you get with young kids, we think that it’s worth the small investment.

Conclusion: I have fond memories of this game. It’s definitely one that I outgrew and forgot about for a time. Bringing it out again to review brought back the nostalgia of competition and pushing my body to the limit. It’s rare that a game teaches you life lessons. From this one I learned about grit. About pushing yourself even when it feels like it’s too hard to keep going, surpassing the limits you didn’t even know you had. Although it’s just a plastic mat and a cardboard spinner, I look forward to introducing this game to my children. So they can learn the life lessons that I learned from Twister. If anything, we hope you never look at Twister the same way again.