Friday, September 30, 2011

Solving a Rubik's cube: Yahoo! offers advice from 1981; but, then again, we are living in 1981

Yahoo's main page had a link to a story about solving a Rubik's cube. Today. September 30, 2011. They really did. I took a picture of it, because I couldn't believe it:


Rubik's cubes were immensely popular when I was a small child. They were the "pet rock" of the 1980s. I'm pretty sure that for awhile, in Holland, they were used as currency. Then, they fell out of favor. I even made fun of them in one of my "Dr. BJ" shorts.



Anyway, do you know why these fell out of favor? First of all, they were a fad, and fads come and go. Second of all, most people either figured out how to solve them and therefore became bored with them, or they didn't figure out how to solve them, and therefore became bored with them.
While millions of people were stumped, frustrated, and yet still obsessed with their Rubik's Cubes, rumors began to circulate as to how to solve the puzzle...

In response to the massive demands of the public for a solution, several dozen books were published in the early 1980s, each spouting easy ways to solve your Rubik's Cube. ...

While some Rubik's Cube owners were so frustrated that they began smashing open their cubes for a peek inside (they hoped to discover some inner secret that would help them solve the puzzle), other Rubik's Cube owners were setting speed records.
The Rubik's cube was also part of a furious debate in scientific circles, as some people felt that it verified the hundredth monkey myth:
According to Paul H. Smith, the Rubik's cube was much more difficult to master when it was first introduced than it was after many people had mastered it, even by someone who had no previous experience with it.
Of course, the myth of the hundredth monkey is just a myth, which is why I called it a myth. Like the Rubik's cube itself, that whole idea was a fad that caught on for awhile, then fell out of favor. Although it does occasionally rear up again from time to time.

Speaking of rearing up again, apparently enough time has passed that the Rubik's cube is making a bit of a comeback itself.
While the extreme popularity of the Rubik's cube subsided around 1984. it has recently made a significant come back. This has been a result of impressive marketing efforts by Seven Towns. In the future, this marketing effort should continue to increase sales of the Rubik's cube.
People have forgotten why it was that they stopped playing with the things the first time around. Now, apparently, I guess, if this one article is to be believed, people are buying them again. The original yahoo article says that,
In the 37 years since Erno Rubik first created his famous cube, it's sold over 350 million units, making the man himself a household name and propelling his cuboid conundrum into the history books.
But it doesn't say how many of those have been sold since its original, massive popularity. This about.com article claims that over 100 million had been sold by 1982. That same article claims that Mr. Rubik invented the toy in 1975, and that it first went on sale in Budapest toy stores in 1977. So it sold more than a third of its 350 million units between 1975 and 1982. In the 29 years since then, it's sold over 200 million units.

Not bad. But, other than doing a google image search back when I made my hilarious third "Dr. BJ" episode, I haven't seen any since I was a kid.

Around the same time the Rubik's cube was spinning its magic around the hearts of Americans, 3-D was making a comeback in theaters (following a giant fad during the 1950s). Movies like Comin' At Ya!, Parasite, Friday the 13th Part 3, Amityville 3-D, Jaws 3-D, and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn allowed us to kill time between Rubik's cube sessions. Also, listening to Duran Duran on our Walkmans.

3-D fell out of favor. The effects were cheesy, and often used to service poor scripts. The glasses were uncomfortable, and the 3-D itself gave some people headaches. 3-D mostly disappeared, until it recently made another comeback. And now, it is falling out of favor again.

So okay it's cyclical. Rubik's cube really is back, I guess. I just haven't seen it. I've been too distracted by the return of 3D movies. Speaking of which, I have a suggestion. Given the "astounding" success of the recent 3D re-release of Disney's "Lion King," is it too much to ask that some enterprising film studio put together a few episodes of the classic "Rubik, the Amazing Cube" animated television show and 3D them up, and release them into theaters?



Don't tell me you don't think this could be a huge hit. Nostalgia is big right now. Nostalgia is always big, but especially in a down economy (I have no empirical evidence to back up this claim, but check this out: There is even nostalgia for the Cold War). "Lion King" isn't the only cartoon from our youth that's making a comeback. "Thundercats." "Bevis and Butt-head." "Transformers."

And let us not forget those damned Muppets.

Holy crap we really are living in the past.

The puzzle box used to call the Cenobites in the "Hellraiser" films was inspired by the Rubik's cube. Actually, I just made that up. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. You should ask Clive Barker about that. By the way, the "Hellraiser" remake is now on hold. But you know it's coming.

Bonus: A pretty funny stand up routine by a comedian called "Crazy Davis," featuring some nostalgia jokes, and the song "This Rubik's Cube is Driving Me Crazy!"

1 comment:

Jack said...

Yes! I remember seeing them the other day..

5 Rubik's Cube tips