June 19, 2007 -- Since 1980, all it took to experience endless hours of mind-boggling puzzle-solving -- and its accompanying headaches -- was twisting and turning a brightly colored, 5.7 cubic centimeter block: the beloved and iconic Rubik's cube.
But today's kids, who may not be satisfied with the original's simple goal -- to get each color on one side of the cube -- can feed their Rubik's rage with a new twist on the classic toy: the electronic Rubik's Revolution. Complete with lights, sounds and numerous puzzles, players can play the updated version by themselves or with friends.
Known for its seemingly impossible solution, which requires fewer than 26 moves to complete, the original Rubik's Cube is estimated to have sold 300,000,000 copies across the globe. In the updated version, instead of twisting and turning, players play timed light games reminiscent of Simon, another 1980s classic.
In an effort to keep up with an increasingly high-tech gaming industry and the children who are raised on it, it is no surprise that classic toys are getting updates. The kids' classic CandyLand has been transformed into a computer game, while 1980s standbys like Cabbage Patch Kids and transformers have also been given face-lifts.
"There is an overall trend toward trying to modernize classic toys," said Eric Levin, executive vice president of Techno Source, the company that helped launch this new cube. "Kids today grow up in an electronic world from their time in cribs."
Anita Frazier, a toy industry analyst at the NPD Group, agreed.
"Reviving classic brands is a tried-and-true tradition in the toy industry. It really depends upon the nature of the individual toy and the underlying play pattern," Frazier wrote in an e-mail. "For this product, I believe the technological updates do add an extra element of fun to what is already a very engaging toy and well-known and loved brand."
Despite the Revolution's features, the gadget, which is aimed primarily at children, may leave some fans nostalgic for the original model.
"By itself, it is a nice attractive game, but as a puzzle the Rubik's Revolution cannot be compared to the original Rubik's cube, as this new game involves very little strategy and brain work," said Tom Dennenbroek, a coordinator of the U.S Rubik's Cube Open, which determines finalists for the World Championships, held in Chicago last weekend. "I can only hope it will not disappoint the true Rubik's fans."
Rubik's Revolution debuts in stores this week.