Twist and shout: Rubik’s Cube continues to puzzle 40 years later

BY Justin Scuiletti  April 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM EDT
Photo by Flickr user William Warby

Photo by Flickr user William Warby

The world’s best-selling toy is 40 years old.

The first Rubik’s cube was created in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a professor of architecture in Budapest, Hungary. Then known as the “Magic Cube,” it took its creator more than a month to solve originally. After a worldwide distribution deal was reached in 1979, the world got to try it’s luck. With around 350 million cubes having been sold around the world and an estimated one in seven people alive having played with the puzzle, the colors of its success are not difficult to decipher.

The goal of the Rubik’s Cube is easy enough on paper: each of the 3x3x3 cube’s six sides must end up having all nine squares be one color. To get there, however, one must twist the puzzle in several different ways until that goal is achieved — a goal Rubik had trouble convincing people was possible.

“I made something I found interesting and my idea was, ‘It’s good and I wanted to share it with other people,’” said Rubik in the leadup to the launch of a Rubik’s Cube exhibition in Jersey City, N.J. “I was not thinking about the size of the popularity and that kind of thing. It’s happened because of the cube, not because of me.”

Forty years after its debut, one can find cube speed runs, robots designed to solve the puzzle and even an international governing body dedicated to keeping world records and overseeing competition.

Still aching to solve the puzzle without resorting to peeling off and rearranging the colored stickers? Rubik’s Cube’s official website has your guide.