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Multiple Personalities but a Successful Reboot!
on September 17, 2012
I am an owner of one of the original Furbys so I pulled it out (a couple of them actually) to give a good comparison.
A quick crash course in Furby: Furbys are interactive robotic pets with various modes of interaction to which they respond, Furbys are loud and have no off switch (You have been warned!!!) but will go to sleep if you leave them alone for a bit. To wake them simply tilt them. Furbys begin to speak in "furbish" which is their own simplistic language. As time goes on they learn English one word at a time replacing their own furbish vocabulary. These take 4 double-A batteries which are not included and have 9 methods of interaction: Shake Furby, tilt Furby, feed Furby (with your finger or a free I-pod app), pet Furby, tickle Furby, talk to Furby, pull Furbys tail, introduce two furbys to each other, and play music for Furby.
First the original gen furbys had specific differences: stripe mane or poof with tail, pitch of voice, names, eye color, etc. The new gen Furbys come in different colors but there are no real differences between them... that is until playtime starts.
How you play with Furby will change it's complete personality including the tone of it's voice and it's LED eye shape. The personalities have a huge range from a "tough guy" Furby to a "Valley girl" type, and everything in between. The personality is triggered by how you treat them, for example you can overfeed Furby and I've found that when I do so he always changes into the tough guy mode soon after, if I pet my Furby a lot it changes to a sweet and cuddly personality, and so on. Changes are very obvious, it will wiggle, close it's eyes and emit a seizure-inducing series of flashing lights while exclaiming "Me change!". When it opens it's eyes it's a whole new Furby. It shifts personality very quickly at first but seems to shift less frequently as time goes on.
So how good is it? Well it's fun! It was fun then and is arguably better now.
Some of the improvements include the new LED eyes which are very expressive and highly visible, new animatronic animations that allow it to stretch scrunch or wobble (the original could tilt back and forth only), an expanded vocabulary of furbish terms (original furbish dictionaries will still work for most basic words as those have not changed), and new interactivity such as dancing to music, and working with the I-phone app.
The materials are also very soft and Furby is surprisingly sturdy unless you're really rough with her. I think she could stand up to most heavy play just remember that electronic toys DO NO LIKE WATER. Water = dead Furby.
I would recommend for most ages as it would be very useful as a "pet" for kids, or to help develop skills in young children for translating from other languages. Also makes a good desk toy for adults as long as you're okay with the level of noise. Makes a good gift for those who grew up with one of the originals, as it has that nice level of nostalgia about it. :) It's an A+ toy and not too pricey at retail (do some research on price before you buy)