At its peak populraity between 1980 and ’83, around 200 million Rubik’s Cubes were sold. I think I bought half of them. I thought I’d seen the last of the infernal block when I hurled them at a wall in a pre-teen tantrum caused by anxiety that I’d never solve the damn thing unless I pulled it apart or reaffixed the stickers.
Now, in the spirit of everything old is new again, and with Christmas looming, it’s been given a modern electronic makeover as GoCube, complete with an app that promises to show you how to twist and turn it to completion in mere minutes.
Seeking a petty form of revenge for my mental scars of failure I took a minute for the flashback sweats to subside then dove right in, and I’m glad I did.
Not only does the GoCube live up to its promise of showing you how to twist and turn the beast until all six faces show full decks of their own colour, it’s a bunch of fun, with lessons, games and challenges.
First, admire the fancy packaging, then charge it up on its cool little pedestal, download the app, sign in and set up a profile.
You then synch your cube with the app by scanning it with the white logo-etched centre square at the top and the green centre square facing you. Now the app knows and will show on your device what colour squares are where and where you’re turning them.
Then you’ll go through some basic tutorials in the Academy that give you a feel for it all, then you can go to the solver option on the main menu and whip that cube into colour-matched shape.
There are also various patterns it will show you how to make as a way of getting more acquainted with the cube and its nefarious twisting ways.
Once you think you’ve got it beat there are timer options to see how fast you can solve it.
Then, when you get your confidence up, you can challenge friends or strangers to contests.
Full disclosure: After going head to head against a random stranger and losing by an embarrassing amount, I haven’t taken the challenge road again. I bet it was a kid in Europe, and he’s still laughing at me.
Also, if you don’t feel like doing the actual puzzle, there are a bunch of fun mini-games in the app that use the cube as a controller.
It’s simple, classic fun with a modern coat.
The unit itself moves very slickly, so it’s much easier to twist then the plastic ones of days gone by.
Even though you’re being told how to solve it by tech, it still gives you a burst of endorphins when you nail it.
Accurate stats and tracking help you improve your time.
You can’t pull it apart and put it back together to cheat like the old ones…
I bet the kid that beat me is still laughing at me with his friends.