x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Parents: Be afraid, it’s the high-maintenance Furby

The Life: Hasbro's revamped Furby has more interactive features that children will love but may drive mum and dad up the wall.

Hasbro is hoping Furby will appeal to children. Hasbro via Bloomberg News
Hasbro is hoping Furby will appeal to children. Hasbro via Bloomberg News

After 14 years, Furby is back and by all accounts it's a psychotic, attention-hogging animatronic terror that parents will loathe and children will adore.

The revamped creature has expressive LCD eyes that are an improvement on its formerly blank 1,000-yard stare. But reviewers point out that its constant crazy, darting looks may scare younger kids.

This being 2012, there is an accompanying app available for iPad and iPhone. This allows Furby's owner to feed it by flicking food from the top of the screen. The app also translates Furbish - the gibberish it speaks - into a language of your choice. Hasbro, the toy's maker, also claims that owners can teach the toy their own native language.

While each original Furby may have seemed to have its own personality, extended playing revealed the limits of its uniqueness. The updated version really will develop differently depending on how it is treated, according to Hasbro.

Kept happy by tickling or hugging, Furby will chatter, dance and be quite charming. Put with other Furbies, it will interact with them - maybe even falling in Furby love.

Neglected or abused, however, it turns into a moaning, screeching, whining banshee - and it is, by all accounts, a trial of epic proportions to win back its affection.

It also prone to sudden, schizophrenic personality changes, shouting "I'm changing", squeezing its eyes shut and reawakening as a new incarnation of itself.

At the height of the previous Furby craze in 2000, Hasbro reckons that half of girls and a third of boys aged 9 to 12 in the US owned a Furby. The furry critter also generated US$500 million (Dh1.8m) in yearly sales. Hasbro will be hoping for similar demand this time around.

lgutcher@thenational.ae