As the world’s eyeballs continue to turn toward screens everywhere like flowers to the sun, there are some flights of fancy of yesteryear that don’t involve looking at flat grayness and are surprisingly having a resurgence.
Remember Rubik’s Cube? The simultaneously simple and complex symbol of the 1980s is seeing an uptick in sales, according to the New York Times. The latest wave of speedcubers dominated the attendance of the 2012 World Cube Association’s U.S. National Championship last weekend in Las Vegas. “Anybody blessed with the basic human senses can instantly ‘get it,’ ” said the toy’s creator, Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik, to the Times.
While that quality certainly helps the Cube (a brand owned by Seven Towns Ltd.) in its longevity, its appeal transcends play. “You can use Rubik’s Cube to teach engineering, you can use it to teach mathematics, and you can use it to talk about the interplay between design and engineering and mathematics and creativity,” said Paul Hoffman, president of New Jersey's Liberty Science Center, which will mark the Cube’s 40th anniversary in 2014 with an exhibition. “I’m hoping the Rubik’s Cube will excite a new generation and get them into engineering.”
Another retro toy attempting to make a comeback is the Furby, the electronic, robotic toy pet that sold more than 40 million units in the three years after being introduced in 1998.
It isn’t likely that the Furby will reach those kinds of sales numbers again, but Hasbro is going ahead and selling it again for the upcoming holiday season in the hopes that it can catch the fancy of kids and teens — or more accurately, adults who remember the furry critters from their first go-round.
The new generation of Furbies are Day-glo and eyes that are “represented by two lidded LCDs that show a range of dot matrix pupil sizes, to show moods,” including the ability to “flash graphic designs such as rainbows and peace signs,” according to Gadgetbox.
To bring the Furby into the modern day, the creature boasts its own Apple app so you can “feed” the critter from your iOS device.
All that can be yours for just $60, which would likely buy more than a few Rubik’s Cubes, unless you are buying one made of solid gold encrusted with jewels.