I picked up one of these a few weeks ago, sitting on a friend's table, having not touched a Cube for years. It's such a beautiful design. The end goal is almost instantly clear, and you can twist it any way you like without hard limits. It's like six degrees of affordication.
In motivational psychology, a pacer is a stimulus that maintains interest by providing a challenge just beyond a person's current level of skill. Rubik's Cube was a transgenerational, transcultural pacer. Part of its success was timing. Released in North America around the same time as Pac-Man (think of each successive level of a video game as a pacer), it was everything video games were not: tangible, portable, and for the vast majority, ultimately unsolvable.
The ultimate puzzle game toy. Six faces (red, green, white, yellow, blue, and orange) and nine partitions lead to a myriad of combinations. Although Rubik's Cube International competitions continue today, the toy is the visual icon of the 1980s for me.