Today, Google is celebrating one of the most ubiquitous and frustrating puzzle toys ever conceived–the Rubik’s Cube. Originally called the Magic Cube, the Rubik’s Cube celebrates its 40th birthday this spring. Google has honored the occasion with a (you guessed it) playable Doodle on its homepage.
Hungarian inventor and architecture professor Ernő Rubik invented his now-famous puzzle in 1974, but was not marketed worldwide until 1980 when it was licensed to the Ideal Toy Corp. Though the 1980s were the complex puzzle game’s heyday, the Rubik’s Cube remains popular today. In fact, with well over 350 million units sold, the Rubik’s Cube is the most-popular puzzle game of all time.
Of course, it’s also one of the hardest for those who pick it up without first devising a strategy. The goal of the game is to twist and turn each face of the multicolored cube until each side sports only one color. The standard model has nine individual squares on each face of the cube, with six colors: red, white, yellow, blue green, and orange.
The popularity of the original cube has spawned many variations–additional colors, bigger cubes (like a 5×5 model, instead of the traditional 3×3). But the original Rubik’s Cube remains the gold standard of puzzle games.
Though some people will go through their whole life without ever successfully completing a Rubik’s Cube, there is a whole culture of record-seekers that are obsessed with shaving seconds off their cube times. The fastest a human being has ever solved a Rubik’s Cube is 5.55 seconds (more than two seconds slower than the fastest robot, by the way). Other Rubik’s Cube competitions include blindfolded solving, underwater solving, and solving with the feet. The record for the former, if you’re interested, was set last year and is an impressive 23.8 seconds.
The iconic toy is said to have over 43 quintillion permutations.
Google’s Doodle on its homepage today is playable, making it even harder to concentrate on a Monday. Google counts your moves too, which shows quite a bit of faith in the average Google user. After fumbling around with it for a while, I looked down to see my move count approaching triple digits.
If you’re having trouble solving Google’s Rubik’s Cube, there are thousands of tutorials available on YouTube.
Image via Google