People of Earth, Furby has returned. And its beady eyes are aimed at your wallet.
For those not in the know, the original Furby was the Christmas gift of 1998, an animatronic, Mogwai-like fuzzball that spoke its own language when it wasn’tmaking rude noises. Like all fads, Furby was dying before its second birthday, and gone by 2002.
But wait! Furby returnedwith an upgrade in 2005, andagain in 2012. New versions have launched eachyear since. The $100 Furby Connectisthe most recent edition.
As with all Furbies, the Connect is plush and effusive and so annoying that one simply cannot comprehend its enduring popularity. It is designed for nostalgic hipsters and small children (6 and up per the box), andany parent who purchases one for their tyke is setting themselves up for immediatepsychological ruin. Let me put it this way:In my 25-plus years of writing about tech, thisis the only device I’ve tested that left my entire family pleading with me to turn it off within minutes of unboxing. Let me put it another way: Google “Furby” and the top question in the “People also ask” section is, “How do you turn off a Furby?”
And let me tell you: It is freakin’ hard to turn off a Furby.
Discretion has never been Furby’s strong suit. He hollers in pidgin English (aka “Furbish”) in an especially loud and shrill voice about nothing in particular, begs to be played with or sung to, and incessantly wiggles about like a kid jonesing on too many Froot Loops. There is no power button. With the Furby Connect, the toy ships with a “sleep mask,” which, when positioned perfectly eventually shuts the thing up. This is not instantaneous, however, taking as long as10 seconds to kick in. If you’ve slightly misaligned the mask or find yourself at all inebriated, Furby won’t go down at all, and you maywell fear that Furby has become self-aware and refusing toobey instruction, at least for the six hours of play time that four AA batteries will supply.
Of course, one Furby is buta gateway to a whole pack of them. Multiple Furbies will talk, sing, and fart in unison. The toy also is a gateway to the even more nefarious side of the Furbyverse: Furby Connect World, a mobile app that lets your Bluetooth-enabled Furby interact with a rudimentary video game designed for the 8-and-under set. Furby Connect World is a game where you hatch Furbies—dozens of them if you stick with it—and put them to work like virtual (yet cuddly) slaves. The reward? More Furbies, all of which mustbe exhaustingly fed, cleaned, and medicated in the increasingly chaotic virtual world. Your real Furby can even take an e-shit on a massive toilet that speaks volumes about the target audience for this game.
Paired properly via Bluetooth (which was not always a given in my testing), your real-world Furby will offer a running commentary about the goings on in the virtual-world game, hollering and screeching and laughing at the same damn thing, over and over. The game is playable without a real-world Furby, but doing so activates a Freemium version of the game. Some of the upgrades cost a pretty penny—so think carefully before handing your phone over to Junior.
I want to be clear: I’m not saying the Furby Connect is a bad product. It does exactly what it says it will do. What I am saying is that if you allow one in your home, you are mentally deranged.
To my family, I apologize deeply. That is all.
2/10 – Sad, really.
Read more: http://www.wired.com/