When I got a Rubik's Cube for Christmas a large number of years ago, I did what any kid would: I scrambled it and set it aside. But although I don't know where it is now, the unfinished business haunted me for years. What with robots and computers and children solving the dang things, I had to go back for another pass and learn. I finally did, and you should too.
If you want to start cubing, you will need a cube but don't fall for the hype: Rubik's brand cubes are some of the worst in the biz. Half the fun of trying to fire up a new cubing habit is choosing your weapon of choice. Speed cubes are, generally, the way to go, designed to spin much faster and more smoothly than the Rubik's cubes of old. There are endless variations at a number of price ranges, and options to go even further and pick up some lube if you really want to go wild.
Faced with the wide variety of choices I chose (and recommend) a somewhat midrange speedcube: the . At sixteen bucks, it's not the cheapest cube you can find, and if you really want to go budget, a will probably get the job done fine. The Yuexiao, on the other hand, is a little bit of an upgrade, as described by :
It's very tactile and quick, but is also one of the most stable cubes on the market. Its feel is extremely unique ... [It] has a somewhat silky feel when turning, and it feels amazing right out of the box.
It comes in both form. Or, as I picked, .
Of course getting the cube is only half of the battle. Fortunately, like so many things, the internet has made the process of learning this pointless skill much easier. If you, like me, had trouble understanding the paper guides of old, you'll be relieved to find interactive tools like . It not only includes the basic steps, but also interactive cubes you can rotate on screen, an absolute lifesaver if you, like me, have a hell of a time trying to imagine manipulating objects in 3D space in your head. Alternatively, hit on the same basic strategy from slightly different angles that may click better for you.
The real secret is that it's actually extremely simple, at least at the lowest level of sophistication. With the most basic (and nowhere near most efficient) strategy, you can solve a cube by applying just a handful of "algorithms" that, over a few hours of practice, slide into muscle memory. So if you never finished the job before, maybe give it another try. What else are you gonna do on a slow summer afternoon at the office, work?