[next] [prev] [up] Date: Mon, 04 Aug 86 10:40:31 -0700 (PDT)
[next] [prev] [up] From: Rodney Hoffman <Hoffman.es@Xerox.COM >
~~~ ~~~ [up] Subject: Rubik Redux

From the New York Times, Sunday, August 3, Business section, p. 6:

By Martin Gottlieb

... Erno Rubik... is about to mark his return with a puzzle that, if
anything, is more difficult to sove than the once-ubiquitous cube....
Professor Rubik... said his new puzzle, called Rubik's Magic, may have
even more configurations. But, in his view, who cares?

"You can solve the puzzle by discovering the possibilities, but it is
magic, I think," Professor Rubik said, absently fondling a prototype of
his new invention in the local offices of Matchbox International Ltd.,
the key arm of a Bermuda-based holding company, that will make and sell

... Within the toy industry ... there is a fair amount of anticipation
about Rubik and his Magic. "We hope we can create a craze," said David
C.W. Yeh, chairman of Universal Matchbox Group, Matchbox International's
parent company.

Matchbox ... has already taken on 2,000 production workers in China to
make the puzzle, and plans to market hundreds of thousands of copies
around the world this fall, for about $10....

The [Hungarian] Government two years ago approved [Rubik's] plans for a
private business, Rubik Studio, which employs 20 and develops designs
for what Mr. Rubik hopes will be a wide range of items, from buildings
to work flow charts and puzzles. Rubik's Magic is its first commercial

... When Professor Rubik traveled to the Nuremburg Toy Fair this year
with his latest puzzle, by all accounts, he caused a commotion.

... Key to [Matchbox's successful proposal to Rubik] were a three- to
five-year game plan and concepts for developing more advanced versions
of Rubik's Magic to be introduced in later years.

Rubik's Magic is marked by the same sort of handsome design as its
predecessor. Palm-sized, it is made of eight squares of
impact-resistant transparent plastic that in their original position
form two equal rows. Spread across the squares are depictions of three
unconnected rainbow-colored rings printed on a black background. The
object of the puzzle is to intertwine the three rings by rejiggering the
squares, which are linked by an ingenious hinge patented by Professor
Rubik, that flexes on the four sides of each square.

Unlike the cube, Mr. Rubik's new puzzle can be nameuvered into a
plethora of different shapes. [Accompanying picture shows this, but
little more. Rubik is seen leaning on a table which has four Magic toys
arrayed in different configurations.] The multi-colored loops break
into fanciful swirls and any number of variations would probably look
pretty good on coffee tables. "On the way to the solution," Mr. Rubik
said, "you can have wonderful discoveries because you have beautiful
shapes. The cube was very intellectual. This item could be more fun
and more pleasure -- it is beautiful and changeable."

... "You sort of expected a lot from him after the cube and I think he
delivered," said Rick Anguilla, editor in chief of Toy & Hobby World,
the leading industry journal, who believes the new puzzle is marked by
the same quality as The Cube. Mr. Anguilla is one of the few industry
analysts to get a glimpse of the new puzzle and he has a hunch it could
be this year's Teddy Ruxpin.

.... Matchbox has devised a plan for producing and promoting the puzzle
aimed in no small part at heading off the knockoff artists who polluted
the Cube market with counterfeits. It has applied for patents the world
over, and plans to kick off a simultaneous international sales campaign
in October. Professor Rubik's signature is on the puzzles, and both
professor and puzzle will be promoted with an exceptionally high sales

... For Professor Rubik, filming commercials that might well place him
second only to Soviet chief Mikhail S. Gorbachev as the most recognized
Eastern bloc citizen in America, is another adventure.

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