Monday, October 8, 2007

The Rubik's Cube is back: 12M cubes going on the shelves this year

Japan's Yu Nakajima won the Rubik's Cube World Championships on Sunday in Budapest. According to AFP Nakajima averaged 12.46 seconds in arranging a six-sided classic 3x3 cube. The fastest single attempt was a cool 10.88 seconds, pretty close to the world record of 9.86 seconds. Hundreds of competitors from 32 countries took part in the three-day World Rubik's Cube Championship 2007 which took place in Budapest, Hungary on October 5-7, with prizes awarded in 17 categories.

If you happened to be in school during the eighties like I did you must remember the Rubik's Cube cult as a partially solved piece was pretty much in the hands of every boy and girl I knew. Today, with more than 300 million cubes sold overall and 12 million going on the shelves this year alone according to the World Championship organizers, it certainly look like this mechanical logic puzzle is experiencing a revival.

"You could see it spread around the world and it was great to watch. The fashion is back. There are young people who hadn't even been born then and are now discovering it for themselves." Gabor Koncz, director of the Hungarian Culture Foundation in Budapest told Bloomberg reporters last week just before the opening.

The Rubik's Cube was invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1977 and became a world success in the early eighties. According to Wikipedia, Rubik is known to be a "very introverted and hardly accessible person, almost impossible to contact or get for autographs" and "typically refuses to attend speedcubing events". Yet, regardless of this statement being correct or not, things went pretty well for Rubik nevertheless and his phenomenal invention has already been exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art and entered into the Oxford dictionary.

I wonder if this spectacular revival of a mechanical logic game has anything to do with Sudoku becoming the world's most popular puzzle? Could it be that more people getting closer to their logic sides? I wonder what Dave Green from Conceptis, and a few of my other friends who have been evangelizing intellectual entertainment and logic puzzles for years, would have to say about that.

Official Rubik's Cube website
Full coverage list
ABC 2007 Championship Photo album


  1. I guess it is back (12 million coming to stores). I bought my son a cube and I find myself trying to use it more than him.

  2. I think this is not the same as the Sudoku boom. Hopefully not because that would mean that Sudokus would not be popular in a while and came back after 20 years.

    I had a cube in the 80's but never actually liked it :) but the logic puzzles hooked me immediately.
    There have been other trends like that coming an going. One was yo-yo. It was popular when I was a teen and again when my chilren were. Another was the hula-hoop.

    My daugter who was about 3-6 at the time had a very practical solution to the cube. She removed the coloured tapes and clued them back...

    Once again I have to boast with the Finnish success. The competition had several categories and the winner of the category: "solving the cube with feet" was won by Finnish Anssi Vanhala :)


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