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Twister Celebrates 50 Years

Twister Celebrates 50 Years

The ultimate family party game, TWISTER, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and five decades of tangling players up in knots!

Originally starting life as a game called King’s Footsie, Twister has now become a game night staple and pop culture phenomenon, and Hasbro is inviting fans, young and old, to come play and join the party in honour of the 50th anniversary.

In the game of TWISTER, the spinner announces to move a hand or foot and to which colour. The challenge is to keep your hands and feet on the mat! Right food red! Left foot green! If your knee or elbow touches the mat, or you fall over, you’re out. Be the last player standing to win! Two new moves include Spinner’s Choice and Air. With Spinner’s Choice, the spinner makes up a move for the other player to do. If the spinner lands on Air, the player must put a hand or foot up in the air!

The game however didn’t start out as we know it today.  It all began in 1964 when toy inventor Reyn Guyer developed a game that used people as the playing pieces and a mat on the floor as a game board. He called the game King’s Footsie, since the original concept only allowed players to use their feet, and pitched the idea to 3M, where it was rejected.

Undeterred Reyn hired two game developers, Charles Foley and Neil Rabens, who rearranged the coloured dots on the mat and changed the rules so players could also use their hands and renamed it Pretzel. The team presented the reworked game design to Mel Taft at the Milton Bradley Company where the game was accepted and renamed TWISTER. However, the game was not set to become an overnight success.

TWISTER struggled when it was initially released in 1966. The game faced social resistance from retailers, who felt it was inappropriate to encourage customers to get tangled up on a mat together. TWISTER was also the first game to use players as pawns, so consumers were confused by the concept and TWISTER was soon pulled off shelves and all advertising cancelled.

It appeared all was lost, until Taft remembered that a paid appearance for Twister had been set up on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. This one appearance would change everything.

During the show, Johnny Carson challenged his celebrity guests to a game of TWISTER. The audience roared with laughter watching the two celebrities bend and stretch in challenging positions while trying to keep their balance, and TWISTER was forever saved! People flocked to stores the next day demanding their own game and by 1967, more than three million TWISTER games were sold.

“The 50th anniversary marks a tremendous achievement for the TWISTER brand. Over the years, we have connected with TWISTER fans on new levels by teaming with their favourite celebrities, working together to challenge world records and by incorporating today’s hit music into new products…. With multiple platforms to tap into fans’ interests, we strive to keep the one-of-a-kind TWISTER brand as popular as ever with the modern gaming generation,” says Tiffany Vibert, Brand Manager – Games, Hasbro Australia.

“Twister broke the rules from the very start in that it was the first game that used players as the game pieces, and we look forward to more exciting developments over the next 50 years!”

The TWISTER game is available for $39.99 at major retailers nationwide.

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