Another thing is the cubes are a lot better now. I also got myself a "speed cube" for Christmas. You can make a turn or double turn with just a flick, although I'm sure it takes some practice.
I was always really slow, since I created my own methods. More interested in playing with congugates (ABA'), commutators (ABAB'), and other stuff from group theory & group representation theory...than doing it fast. 219 space groups (3D) & 17 wallpaper groups (2D, also called "plane symmetry groups"). My Dad used to be an X-ray crystallographer, so he talked about this stuff a lot at home when I was a little boy.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_grouphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallpaper_group
I liked creating patterns on the cube (and writing down who to make the patterns).
Have you tried blindfold cubing?
They now have sequences for every possible bottom arrangement, which is where the 80's method spent most of the time. I think there are short cuts with the middle level too. The downside to today's much faster times is a lot more memorization is required.
A college friend in 1983 could do 23 sec (if I remember correctly), and I thought that was wicked fast.
I hear what's common in speed-cubing is called Jessica Friedrich's CPOP method (1997).
a) David Singmaster published a layer-based solution in 1980.
b) Guus Razoux Schultz was using an early F2L system in 1982 (solves the first two layers simultaneously).
-> (1) Cross (2) F2L ... rather than (1) Layer-1 (2) Layer-2
-> People also do "color-blind" starts; e.g. start with the most suitable start side (not always white).
c) Friedrich developed better OLL and PLL algorithms (orienting the last layer pieces, then permuting them into their correct positions), which together allowed any last layer position to be solved with two algorithms and was significantly faster than previous last layer systems.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFOP_Method
The "big 4" methods are CPOP, Petrus, Roux, and ZZZ.
Philip Marshall's The Ultimate Solution to Rubik's Cube averages only 65 twists yet requiring the memorisation of only two algorithms.
The cross is solved first, followed by the remaining edges, then five corners, and finally the last three corners.
Lars Petrus method - a 2×2×2 section is solved first, followed by a 2×2×3, and then the incorrect edges are solved using a three-move algorithm, which eliminates the need for a possible 32-move algorithm later. The principle behind this is that in layer-by-layer you must constantly break and fix the first layer; the 2×2×2 and 2×2×3 sections allow three or two layers to be turned without ruining progress. One of the advantages of this method is that it tends to give solutions in fewer moves.
Roux Method, developed by Gilles Roux, is similar to the Petrus method in that it relies on block building rather than layers, but derives from corners-first methods.
ZZ method, short for Zbigniew Zborowski (2006). The method was designed specifically to achieve high turning speed by focusing on move ergonomics, and is the combination of a block-building method and a layer-by-layer method. The initial pre-planned step is called EOLine, and is the most distinctive hallmark of the ZZ method. It involves orienting all edges while placing two oppositely placed down-face edges aligned with the correspondingly colored center. The next step solves the remaining first two layers using only left, right, top and bottom face turns, one of the advantages of ZZ. On completion of the first two layers, the last layer's edges are all correctly oriented because of edge pre-orientation during EOLine. The last layer may be completed using a number of techniques including those used in the CFOP method. An expert variant of this method (ZZ-a) allows the last layer to be completed in a single step with an average of just over 12 moves and knowledge of at least 472 algorithms.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik%27s_Cubehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedcubing