Thrift Treasure:  Top Spin

Thrift Treasure: Top Spin

In the late 70’s I lived in West Germany. We were stationed there due to my parents working as government-employed civilians. Back then the selection of toys available wasn’t near as vast as today’s offerings, and even worse if you lived overseas. Sure, there were German toy stores, but the prices were nearly double what we were used to paying in the U.S. and I couldn’t read the instructions! If the toy wasn’t in the PX catalog, we usually never knew it existed.

This week’s Thrift Treasure brings back memories of one toy we did find while overseas, and to this day is still a cultural icon – Rubik’s Cube. Top Spin by Binary Arts is also a hand-held puzzle game that while simple in its design, is actually quite a complex challenge. Originally released in 1989, it enjoyed great success in an era when game companies were trying to out-do each other with harder and harder puzzles.

Top Spin by Binary Arts is a classic hand-held number puzzle with over 2 quintillion possible combinations! -

The goal is simple – get all 20 numbered pieces in order by rotating them around the outside oval and using the smaller circle to ‘flip’ four of them at a time. Doesn’t make sense? Watch this quick clip to see what I mean.

Looks easy, right?  Wrong! There are actually a total of 2,432,902,000,000,000,000 possible combinations! Not quite as many as Rubik’s 43 quintillion, but considering this is a 2D puzzle (instead of 3D), the number is impressive.

Think you’d like to give it a ‘spin’? There are a number of good sites online that have tutorials and hints to help you get it solved. While this isn’t a game you’ll find at the store any longer, there are a number available on eBay for under $10. Money well spent for hours of frustrating entertainment!


About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as, and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

15 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Top Spin»

  1. Oh wow that looks like a fun game.

  2. This is my kind of game. I love puzzles and trying to solve them!

  3. susan says:

    You find some of the coolest games, I really have to check my good will to see if I can find some cool games too.

  4. Mellisa says:

    What a cool game!! I think my son would really love this.

  5. Lena says:

    That is so cool – I wanna try!

  6. Thanks for sharing…….great review!

  7. Great alternative to Rubik’s Cube! A cousin recently suggested we try Rubik’s Cube 4 x 4 rather than 3 x 3. This too looks like a good option.

  8. Zach B says:

    This looks like a cool game. I have found myself revisiting a lot of games from my youth recently, especially since they keep turning up at second hand stores! 🙂

  9. Ronni says:

    My son would love this! He spends hours in his office playing brain games when he works night shift. This is totally his kind of thing!

  10. This looks like one of those games/puzzles that are much harder than they look! My kids would love this!

  11. Angela says:

    I enjoy games and puzzles that are a bit of a challenge. This looks neat!

  12. This looks like it would get under my skin just like Rubiks Cube did. And I never solved that, even when I unpeeled the stickers.

    1. Scott says:

      Guess what – no more stickers! No cheating for you!

  13. rachel says:

    Oh what a neat game. I have never seen or played this before. It looks like a fun challenge! Thanks for sharing.

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