The Revival Of The Rubik's Cube

Image of man doing rubik's cube in the post The Revival of the Rubik's Cube

A Legend Among Toys

They say that if you work hard enough, you can achieve almost anything. If this is true though, how come I still can’t solve a Rubik’s Cube? Although very difficult to accomplish, this puzzle has undoubtedly, brought so much joy to kids and adults alike, and rightfully so. The concept of this puzzle is simple, but the solution is far more complicated than a lot of people think. With this, let’s delve into the inception and revival of the Rubik’s Cube.

Image or robot solving Rubik's Cube in the post the revival of the Rubik's Cube
Robot hand solves the cube. Read more here
Image of different types of Rubik's Cube in the post the revival of the Rubik's Cube
Variations on the original

The Birth Of An Icon

Originally called the Magic Cube, the Rubik’s Cube is a 3D puzzle created by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor and architect. One interesting fact about the Rubik’s Cube is that it is widely rumoured that the cube was invented by Rubik to help his students understand 3-dimensional objects more. It was reported that he created the cube in order to show students how an object could have multiple moving parts without completely falling apart. 

If this is really true, then Mr. Rubik would have been extremely shocked to find out that one of his teaching-tools ended up becoming one of the most popular and loved toys of all time. 

Over the years, the Rubik’s Cube has won several awards and is one of the world’s best-selling toys.

What Is The Cube?

The Rubik’s cube is well… a cube, that has nine stickers of the same color on each of its six sides. Each side can be turned individually, and by doing this enough, you, in turn, mix all of the colors up. The goal of the Rubik’s Cube is to get it back to its original state, with all faces of the cube showing the same colors. 

Although it may sound easy, the truth is that majority of people are unable to solve the Rubik’s Cube. The challenge arises from the fact that the Rubik’s Cube has over 43 Quintillion possible positions. To put it into perspective, that’s 43 with 18 zeros after it! This means that in order to solve this puzzle, you need to get a Rubik’s cube to 1 specific position, out of all the other 43 Quintillion positions.

The Original Rubik’s Cube Craze

The height of the popularity of the Rubik’s cube was really in the ‘80s. Several countries recognized the Rubik’s Cube as one of the best puzzles ever created, and in the year 1981, the first competition for speed solving a Rubik’s Cube was held. 

Almost everyone at the time knew what a Rubik’s Cube was, and there were also several books, shows, and movies that featured the Rubik’s Cube. Not surprisingly, media that featured this puzzle also seemed to sell well. In fact, the best-selling book of 1981 was a book by James G. Nourse, which gave the world a solution to solving the Rubik’s Cube. 

It was clear that a lot of people, young, middle-aged, and old alike, were interested in solving the Rubik’s Cube for themselves.

Image of the world's smallest Rubik's Cube in the post the revival of the rubik's cube
The world's smallest Rubik's Cube
Image or Erno Rubik in the post the revival of the rubik's cube
The man who started it all - Erno Rubik

The Rubik’s Cube’s Revival

After the initial Rubik’s Cube hype, the popularity of the puzzle seemed to fizzle out. The cube was still being sold in toy stores and malls, but it didn’t have the same appeal as it had before. However, seemingly out of nowhere, the Rubik’s Cube started gaining popularity again. In the early 2000s, the Rubik’s Cube’s sales started doubling, and people’s interest in the Rubik’s Cube was returning.  Once again, the Rubik’s Cube was making waves in society.
Image Contestants at the first Rubik’s Cube Championship in France. in the post the revival of the rubik's cube
Contestants at the first Rubik’s Cube Championship in France in 1981. Brendan Monks / Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Back In 20th Century Pop Culture

Just like that, owning a Rubik’s Cube was cool again. By the year 2008, the annual worldwide sales of the Rubik’s Cube were reaching the 15 million units mark. Rubik’s Cube speed solving contests were reignited, and everyone seemed to have a Rubik’s Cube once again.

People were also finding new twists to make the Rubik’s Cube more exciting. As if solving the Rubiks’ Cube wasn’t hard enough, here are a few ways people made solving the Rubik’s Cube even harder: 

  1. Solving the cube with only one hand
  2. Solving the cube while blindfolded
  3. Solving two cubes at the same time
  4. Solving the cube behind one’s back

The Rubik’s Cube also found its way into the magic world. Magicians would utilize Rubik’s Cubes in their magic acts – they would show spectators a mixed Rubik’s cube, throw it into the air, and by the time they caught the cube, it was already completed. Rubik’s Cubes have then become one of the most favorite props used by several magicians. Thus, Rubik’s Cube Magic was born. 

The internet really played a big part in the revival of the Rubik’s Cube. Platforms such as YouTube allowed people to share tutorials on how to solve it, and social media helped make the puzzle go viral once again.

Once a new way to use the cube was discovered, it would be shared on social media, causing millions of people to be more and more intrigued by the puzzle.

Image Rubik with Miss Great Britain, Michelle Hobson, at the Toy Fair in Earl’s Court in the post the revival of the rubik's cube
Rubik with Miss Great Britain, Michelle Hobson, at the Toy Fair in Earl’s Court in 1981. Brendan Monks / Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Imitation Is The Highest Form Of Flattery

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and this proves to be true for the Rubik’s Cube. 

Several other companies have for so long, seen the influence and popularity of the Rubik’s Cube. Now that the patent of the Rubik’s Cube has expired, these companies now had the opportunity to try and get their share of the pie.

Several imitations of the cube were made, and in addition to this, more modern iterations were invented. A few of the most popular modern iterations for this puzzle are those which include more pieces per side: The classic Rubik’s cube had 3×3 sides, but now, we are introduced to numerous other variants, including cubes with 2×2 sides, 4×4 sides, 5×5 sides, and the like.

Although nowhere near the popularity of the original Rubik’s cube, these variants offered a new challenge to the people who have already learned how to solve the classic Rubik’s Cube.

Back In The Game

Truth be told, the Rubik’s Cube was never dead. It has always been alive, waiting for another chance to reignite its fire and become popular again, and once it did, people welcomed it with open arms. 

The Rubik’s Cube is back in mainstream media, and people have been finding more and more ways to make this icon more interesting. 

Who knows, maybe the Rubik’s Cube will quiet down again after a few years. All we know is that it will only be a matter of time before it resurfaces again. The revival of the Rubik’s Cube is inevitable, and this classic will surely live on for more and more decades to come.

Can you solve the Rubik’s Cube? Let me know in the comments section below.

For more cool things from the 80’s, read our full post, 17 Cool Things About The 80’s.

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Rubik's Cube Gift Ideas

There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.

With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.

Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉

Melted Cube Tee

Rubik's cube t shirt in the post the revival of the rubik's cube

Show your love for the cube with this all cool melted cube tee. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Speed Cube

Image of rubiks cube in the post the revival of the rubik's cube

Show your skill with the speed cube.

Check it out on Amazon.

Rubik's Cube Socks

Rubik's cube in the post the revival of the rubik's cube

Very cool cube socks. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Rubik's Cube 3 x 3

Image of rubiks cube in the post the revival of the rubik's cube

The original cube.

Check it out on Amazon.

6 thoughts on “The Revival Of The Rubik’s Cube”

  1. Hi Murray. I enjoyed reading your post a lot. Rubik’s cube was one of my favorite toys in childhood and your article brought back lot of memories. I learn also lot of new things and curious facts. Thank you for detailed and interesting review, and for bringing back times which I forgot many years ago.

    1. Glad you found my article on the revival of the rubik’s cube interesting. It really is a fascinating puzzle toy that has captivated the world for decades.

  2. Thanks for taking us back in time with this post.  I remember spending hours as a kid with my brother playing with the rubik’s cube.   I also recall catching my brother changing the colored stickers on the cube to cheat as if he solved the puzzle, lol.  Eventually we got the hang of solving it regularly.   I’m impressed with some of the other complex versions of the cube and how there are many experts all over the world competing using their speed.

  3. The Rubik’s cube was a stupendously popular thing with my classmates in school. I think I have pretty good spatial awareness and vision; but, I could never solve the thing! Frankly, it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that. This was with the original 3×3 cube. I cannot imagine trying to solve the 17×17 cube that was completed in one of the videos in your article. I think it would be good to reintroduce the cube to today’s youth. It takes some logical problem-solving to finish the cube and I think it would be good for today’s youngsters to cultivate that ability.

    1. Totally agree William, the youngsters of today would do well to put down the iPad and pick up the Rubik’s cube. For the record, I still haven’t solved the damn thing either!

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