Who could have predicted the commotion that would ensue when Ernö Rubik invented the "Magic Cube" in 1974? Since its introduction into the international marketplace in 1980, the Rubik's Cube has taken the world by storm with its addictive appeal. The game seemed to elicit compulsive behavior, as evidenced by the creation of "Cubaholics Anonymous" in 1980. By 1982, there were over one hundred million Cubes sold.
The world became obsessed with the Rubik's Cube in the early 1980s. The toy invaded Western culture, and it was given its own television show: Rubik, The Amazing Cube in 1983, and was featured in shows like That's Incredible, The Simpsons, and Saturday Night Live.
At the same time, a sub-culture of avid players called "Cubers" emerged. These players vied to solve the Rubik's Cube in the fastest time, and established the new sport of "speedcubing." The Cubers' obsession extended beyond the "simple" challenge of being the fastest — they competed blindfolded, with their feet, one-handed, underwater, etc. Still, others moved beyond the traditional Rubik's Cube (3 x 3 x 3) by competing with variations such as Rubik's Mini Cube or Pocket Cube (2 x 2 x 2), Rubik's Revenge (4 x 4 x 4), or the Professor's Cube (5 x 5 x 5).
Since the 1980s, many speedcubing competitions have been held on national and international levels, with the ultimate competition being the "World" competitions. The first world speedcubing championship was held in Budapest in June 1982. After the heyday of the Rubik’s Cube in the early 1980s, the excitement calmed, and there were no official "World" competitions for 21 years. However, the Cuber culture persisted as they continued to search for faster solutions.
In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Rubik's Cube, with a whole new generation of Cubers thriving on the Internet. This has led to more World Championships, giving Cubers the opportunity to clock faster "official" world records. Today, audiences can view the official fastest times in various categories from the last 25 years on the World Cube Association's (WCA) website.