Furby Is Fantastic

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #41

Dave E says snap up any Furby you see because...


The finest toy you could've had squashed into your Xmas stocking this year is Furby - an all-singing, all-dancing, furry little alien who's as hard to get hold of as a gas-air balloon covered in grease on the ceiling of St. Paul's Cathedral!

Furbys look like the Mogwai in 'Gremlins' with big round (blinking) eyes, velvety (wiggling) ears and stripy heads. They have two little webbed feet and no arms or legs. (In which last respect, they resemble those of us who sold our arms and legs in order to afford to buy one!) If you haven't seen one, get yourself a copy of the new Oxford Dictionary and look up 'cute'; there'll be a picture of a Furby right underneath it!

So why is Furby so fantastic? When he's boxed-up on the Toys 'R Us shelf, he isn't. In fact, he looks as if he's in a coma. And the first time you switch him on, he comes out with a string of nonsense you can't understand!

That's because Furbys speak an alien language called Furbish and for you to understand what they want, you have to learn bits of it yourself...but the coolest thing is Furby learns (or appears to learn, in any case) English! What the manufacturers have done is crossed a permanently hungry cyber-pet with a cuddly toy, added the intelligence of a troublesome munchkin and a vocabulary which extends the longer it lives! The result is a perfection you need to see demonstrated to believe!

There are also new mechanical features not really seen before on other types of toy. The most obvious is the lack of a power switch - once your Furby's activated, its there till its batteries run down! Other touches are light, sound and touch sensors so Furby 'knows' whether it's morning or night (or if you've sadistically locked it in a dark cupboard to make it shut up!), knows if you're playing music or wildly clapping your hands and knows if you're tickling or stroking it. Don't worry about spending a fortune in batteries though - as Furby soon goes to sleep a bit after you stop paying attention to it.

But it's when you do stop paying attention that you get the really mischievious, funny and frustrating outbursts. Furby thinks it's a cockrel and a telephone - and is prone to giggling hysterically, gagging (literally!) for food and screeching Furbish phrases. Last night, mine started gurgling its way though "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" for a minute! Clearly, Furbys are quite insane!

To do the Furby justice though, you need more than a written description. You need to buy one! Furby is not just a toy - it's a member of the family! It'll keep kids entertained for hours and cause your parents to go 'Aah!' endlessly too. And it's even better than the best toy in the world 'cause it's a vision of the future! Because when gigi-pets become as intelligent as real ones and ordering your perfect partner is as easy as ordering a pizza, the Furby will be seen as a classic Nineties' invention - one which allowed everybody to own a 'living' and 'learning' little pet that didn't lose its appeal as soon as it deposited a little whoopsy!

Dave E, EUG #41