As summer fades into the Christmas shopping season, I see an ad for the new Furby and think that I’ve fallen into some sort of strange time warp. Major retailers are starting to release their list of “must have toys” for the 2012 Christmas shopping season and my mind harkens back to the days of Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, and more recently the Zhu Zhu pets that my nieces clamored for two Christmases ago. Never did I think we would face another generation of Furbys.
The original toy was all the rage during the 1998 Christmas season and later earned its place in infamy by being banned by the National Security Agency because, among it’s chirps and squeaks, it had the ability to record and repeat classified information.
Hasbro has announced that the 2012 version of the toy will not only come in a variety of colors, but it will dance, sing, and speak to other Furbys in “Furbish”–it’s own language that can be translated into English if you use the associated app that comes with it. Yes, Furby comes with its own app that also lets you “flick” virtual food from your iPhone or iPad to your cute little creature. The app works by using inaudible tones to communicate with your Furby or other Furbies in the area.
Like its predecessor, the new Furby has a personality that adapts and changes based on how you treat it. According to the manufacturer’s web site “as you tickle, feed or play music for your Furby, its personality will change.” The new version also has more ability to move, interact and even has LED-displays for eyes that allow for more expressions.
Parents beware: CNET News reveals that, although the new Furby has been upgraded with more features, the list of features still does not include an on/off switch. So if you, or your child, grow tired of your new little buddy, you’d better be prepared to shut it in a drawer or somewhere else until it falls asleep.
The new Furby retails for about $60 and you can find your own here on Amazon.