He sounds like he’d be fun at a dinner party doesn’t he? Well he wasn’t – he was probably in the corner twisting a white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow box around instead of commenting politely on the pavlova.
In the 80s, EVERYONE had a Rubik’s Cube, whether you wanted one or not. It was the law.
For anyone not around in the 80s, it was a small plastic puzzle with 54 different coloured blocks making up a six sided cube. To win, you had to make each of the six sides the same colour by rotating each face.
SOUNDS EASY RIGHT?
Well, did you ALSO know there are exactly 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 permutations of the Rubik’s Cube – that’s approximately forty-three quintillion.
And this is a present they gave to ten-year-olds. That’s the equivalent of being a forty-three quintillion piece jigsaw – and at least you get a pretty picture of a dinosaur when you finish that. With the Rubik’s Cube, all you got was a cube with six coloured sides – completely useless except for throwing at the cat.
To me, this was just a gift designed to make you feel stupid, angry and bored – in exactly that order – then go back to watching your Ghostbusters VHS.
Anyone who told you they could complete the Rubik’s Cube was lying. Nobody could do the Rubik’s Cube – unless they did it the way I did: peel off all the coloured stickers and re-stick them so all the sides match up. Then take it into the playground the next day and look smug.
(One man who could do it was Feliks Zemdegs, who holds the world record for completing the cube in 6.65 seconds)
An even easier way to solve the cube was merely to twist off the smaller individual cubes, then shove them back on in the correct order. I reckon I could do that in 6 seconds. EAT THAT FELIKS ZEMDEGS.
Poor Professor Rubik could never quite match the success of his multi-coloured cube – but I did own his follow up, Rubik’s Magic. Bored of squares, he’d come up with an exciting new innovation – circles. Basically you wibble-wobbled connected titles around ‘til you made a picture of a circle. This one was more annoying than the Cube because there was no way of dismantling it and cheating.
(BONUS FACT: Yuxan Wang holds the world record for completing Rubik’s Magic in 0.71 seconds.)
The Cube, however, remains an iconic image of the 80s. Every household really did have one, even though 99 per cent of them would just use it as a paperweight. Somehow Prof Ernő managed to convince the world to buy his useless plastic puzzle even though few had the brains to solve it. Now that’s real genius.
By Luke Chilton