In the film Ready Player One, Parzival uses a special Rubik's Cube that he bought.

When he uses it, everything but him (and Art3mis) goes 60 seconds back in time.

How does this Rubik's Cube work?

What do the other players see and feel? Did they see everything without being able to do anything?
And why is Art3mis included with Parzival? Does the cube have an active area/radius?

  • 1
    I am positive the movie is littered with just as much extra detail as the book and there is an answer that we need to research to find... I was not paying enough attention when he got the cube but the name was 'z***'s rubiks cube'. I'm not sure what that name was, but I'm 99% sure it started with a 'z'. The guy who created it was named Erno Rubik so it wasn't 'his' cube. I like to think that we find that name and there might be a link that connects all the dots... and I am also sure that the extras on the dvd will reveal much...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 1:09
  • @Odin1806 you're probably right, and maybe I will not get an anwser before the release of the DVD and its extras !
    – Neyt
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 7:24

3 Answers 3


It's a nod to Back to the Future

Robert Zemeckis directed Back to the Future, and it's a Rubik's Cube that turns back time. Thus "Zemeckis Cube". Further evidence is that when Wade uses the cube, you can hear those three notes that play right before Doc Brown says "Erased.... from existence".

As for how those being turned back in time experienced it, we don't rightly know as it is never covered in the book. White Prime is probably correct that the players simply lost control of their avatars until time was reset.

Additionally, the Rubik's Cube didn't play any significant role in Back to the Future, so we can't intuit anything from there. It just looks like a simple reference to a period appropriate movie that Spielberg produced that involved time.

  • 5
    Speilberg produced, but did not direct Back to the Future. However, Alan Silvestri did both film scores
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 17:41
  • Ah, my bad. Right you are.
    – amflare
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 17:50
  • no worries - i'm sure it was just a typo since you rightly said Bob Z directed it at the top
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 17:55
  • @NKCampbell all 4 movies, I believe Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 21:03

It works because it was simply programmed to work that way.

As the cube wound back time, the other players would've had no control whatsoever as their avatars retraced their steps. All they could do was watch their surroundings through the eyes of their avatar.

The cube must have had a bubble-radius protecting the user and anyone else touching him. Or, maybe he was able to instruct the cube to include Artemis. We can't be 100% sure.


Just to add to AMFLARE's response, the 3 notes from that scene in BTTF play when the cube is triggered, but you can also hear three notes from the film series theme song while P is solving the cube. (Using Fridrich CFOP finger techniques, by the way.)

  • 5
    This seems to be a comment rather than an answer to the question.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 19:13

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