Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Rubik's Cube Returns

Remember the Rubik's Cube, that frustrating, distracting, absorbing little puzzle that drove more than a few folks to the end of their tether in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Where, today, you find iPod wearing, cellphone chattering, laptop tapping dorks in every corner, their place used to be occupied by demented, exhausted-looking folks whose fingers just couldn't stop twisting that damned multi-coloured cube.

Like all the best puzzles, it's challenging and addictive. You either "get it" or you don't, and communities of cube solvers sprang up just as quickly as cube-related obsession caused quite a few relationships to break down. And now, according to the Telegraph, the Rubik's Cube is making a comeback - just in time for Christmas.

Of course, to the millions of puzzle addicts out there, it never went away. But the impact of Cube-related obsession on the current, high-tec generation will be interesting to see. However will the brats of today cope with a puzzle that doesn't require them to push buttons? Worse, they'll have to put down their mobiles - texting and cubing just aren't going to go together, are they, so how are they going to call their mates for help? The idea that they might actually have to TALK to someone will fill a few minds that I can think of with dread!

It's no surprise that the the Cube was popular on its first outing, and I predict a fair degree of popularity this time out, too. Although some kids of today won't like the idea of a puzzle you can touch, especially if it means they have to come off MSN to play, their parents will love it. How many people could actually put their hands on a working 1980s (or earlier) Rubik's Cube? Not many, I suspect. But but many will be overcome with nostalgia when they see one in the shops and buy it for their own amusement? LOADS.

How do I know this? Simple, really. Britain is going (or has gone) to the dogs. Economic doom and gloom stalk the land, folks fear for their jobs and lament the cost of living - especially essentials like fuel and energy - and things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Many of us remember the better times of our younger days, even if they were only better from our point of view, and the opportunity to relive even a little bit of those apparently good times is irresistible.

Hence the popularity of Indiana Jones, Dr Who, The Incredible Hulk, Star Wars etc., and now the Rubik's Cube. It may not take the world entirely by storm, as is did first time out, but then it's a different world, with different expectations. Nonetheless, it will give a good account of itself in the festive sales, and I, for one, am glad to see it return.

Billy Seggars.

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