Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Another Furby Comeback

Last week I was happy to find that Furbies, the interactive toy which had been the Christmas craze in 1998, are returning for Christmas 2012. I first heard of Furbies when Marshall was listening to a shopping channel years ago. They were demonstrating these cute creatures and he said to me “We have to get one of these.” I silently questioned this decision; what was special about an overpriced toy? He was always fascinated with new gadgets.

By Thanksgiving, the country was enthralled by these adorable creatures. I was willing to stand in line at five AM on Black Friday to purchase one for my step grand daughter and us at our local Wal-Mart. By the time 8:15 rolled around, all the Furbies were gone. I took a rain check and paid the sale price of $30. My Furbies would be in right after New Year’s. On January 4th, I went with a shopper bringing our new toy home.

The challenges were nonexistent and with sighted help Marshall learned where to insert the two double a batteries. The rest was simply learning by doing. We learned the original language of Furbies is “Furbish,” and they learned English words and phrases astonishingly fast. According to wikipedia, all the English words and phrases are pre-programmed, so they didn’t learn new words from their owners.

According to Hasbro and wikipedia, the robotically controlled creature has sensors in its head and body, enabling them to hear, open and close its eyes, move its mouth, and make dancing movements. It will smile, snore, and purr when you stroke its back, too.

Our homemaker was fascinated with it as we demonstrated it could make dancing movements, tell us it was hungry, or go to sleep and softly snore. This first model was short-lived, when we turned it upside down a few times it would say it was scared, make funny noises, and completely shut down. Restoring batteries did not restore its functionality, and after two weeks, we had to replace it.

When I looked on Wikipedia, I discovered this toy made one other revival in 2005. That one had more facial expression, but no additional vocabulary. This new one combined the 1998’s wealth of language with features such as an app for smart phones.

Today is cyber Monday there are several places you can order these adorable toys. Go to www.hasbrotoycompany.com and email them at customerservice@hasbro.com, or phone them at 1-800-408-0052. Check Speak to Me, a novelty and blindness catalog, as they may also have them. There phone number is 1-800-408-9965. The price for a Furby ranges from $59 at Walmart, but it’s $54 at Target and Toys R Us.

One caution on buying Furbies is that they are for ages six and a half and above, according to Hasbro and information on wikipedia. Children and adults can enjoy these cute toys, and they help enhance creativity, giving hours of endless pleasure to their recipients.

Have other readers gotten or given a Furby? What was your experience?

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