Yesterday, I talked about the POGS, and the feeling I get when I look back in the days when we used to play the original game. While enjoying teleporting my imaginations back to the ’90s, I remembered the Furby! And by the way, if by any chance you still own one of these today, it may be worth some good bucks now.
Yes, that chubby furry robotic toy of the ’90s that has managed to exist through all generations and still remain relevant.
Historical Background of the Furby
Before we embark into the history of Furby; for those who don't have a recollection of Furby, this video will remind you of exactly how the original Furby looked and sounded!
In November 1998, at the American International Fair by the American toy manufacturer Tiger Electronics, when the Furby was revealed. Dave Hampton had worked tirelessly for eighteen months to design and develop this toy. Previously, Hampton was a famous expert in toys and medical products. The toys made children go wild back in the days. He was also knowledgeable in electronics and had developed the Mattel product. He had a passion for robotics and wanted to make a robotic creature that felt alive. Together with Caleb Chung, who they had partnered with to make the Mattel product, came up with the Furby. Hampton then developed a language for the Furby. The Furbish language was a 200 vocabulary word formed from a mixture of languages he picked up, including Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and Hebrew, among others. No company had earlier produced such domestically aimed robot toys of such caliber.
A Furby was easily recognized by its pink ears separated by tufts of hair. It otherwise resembles an owl with a big beak and round eyes.
The Magical toys
In the '90s, toys were magical things to have. They could smile, sing, talk a lot with shutting up and sneeze, the toy was just adorable. The Furbies are electronic robotic toys that are American based. They were released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics.
I can remember with nostalgia how it was a must-have toy for children when we were growing up. The toy resembles an owl-like creature. With each toy going for about 35 dollars, the sales were good, over 40 million had been sold in the first three years. The unique thing about the Furbies was they had their language. The speaking capabilities were translated into 24 languages. Over time there was an improvement in the toy.
Jones and Sims, who were the head of the marketing department, made sure the product sales and acceptance was high. The Tiger research and development team also made recommendations in the changes of the Furbish. The language was then improved gradually. This led to the skyrocketing of sales by the 2000s. The ability to communicate with each other made Tiger believe that children would be inspired to buy more than one Furby. Commercials could even prod kids into collecting entire colonies.
The most popular type was the classic Furbies; this was due to their apparent “intelligence” reflected in their ability to develop language skills. They would communicate via an infrared port located between their eyes. They had their language called the “Furbish” – a language that comprised simple sounds and words. The language also had simple syllables.
Other Furbies were introduced. In 1999, Furby babies were introduced and could switch to English only and produce higher voices. Nevertheless, they could not dance like classic Furbies. Furby friends were also introduced .other types like the Emoto –Tronic Furbies, Emoto –Tronic Furby babies, Emoto Tronic Funky babies,2012 Furbies, the Furby part Rockers, Furby boom, Furling’s which was a toy version, Furby Boom crystal, Furby Boom crystal furblings, Furbacca and the Furby Connect which was developed in 2016.
The bad and the good
Everything has a bad and good side. The Furby as far as entertainment is concerned helped in keeping children busy for hours. The device made most of our parents wonder where we were. The time spent on these toys was immeasurable. “The thing never shuts up!” these were words of most of our parents. There is no switch off, only the slightly inadequate mask that mutes the Furby unless you accidentally move it. The Furby thing was not for the adults, and in my opinion, the bad side made no sense to us when we were growing up.
Does this look like a devil? Yes and No, depending on how well we know the devil.
When we were growing up, most of us were desperate to get a Furby. Who wasn’t?
Some were labeled to be demonic and that they would turn into evil. Overfeeding the Furby turns it into a devil and do not feed it after midnight. People believed that doing these two things would turn your toy into a devil. Did Furbies turn to devils? The answer to this question is open-ended. Some parents believed that these toys were ungodly.
Stories were told of the wicked and evil deeds associated with the Furby.
Here are some of the top stories that linked the plaything to the devil:
1. From the Grave-The story narrated how the toy came from the grave and never died.
2. Let the Furby sleep – this was a story in which a girl who owned the toy told his cousin’s Furby's scary tale. She was amused. It never slept to an extent; she asked her mother why it did not sleep.
3. Mom Knows Best- Christina, a toy owner, and a parent wrote the scary and horrifying encounters on her blog. She tells how the toy would behave differently based on how it was treated.
4. Furby has the power –the narrator explains how the toy never sleeps. He argues that the Furby never goes off even after removing the batteries. It will never surrender”, he said.
5. The Possessed Furby –Laura, a toy owner, narrated how the plaything she once has was possessed with evil. She tells of how she eventually threw it away.
Were some toys cursed, or Was it a scary belief for us?
The issue on the Furby being cursed cannot be overlooked. Some of the parents believed that the toys could bring bad omen. There were instances when a child used the Furby and got hurt, and it was said the toy was cursed. The whole narrative cannot stop the nostalgic memories reflect on those of us who enjoyed playing with the Furby. It remains unclear and somehow vague to most of us and others on these issues. Although some still hold that the Furby was associated with a curse, it doesn’t hold water.
Some myths around Furbies
Back in the days, people believed the Furbies would pose a medical threat. The low electromagnetic waves in the sensors made many believe that they could affect the hospital. It was thought that they would make hospital equipment go haywire. They were banned in Scotland, and o child would be allowed to carry them in hospitals.
Some Furbies resembled cats and dogs. This made some people believe that they were made from real cat and dog fur. A fake post from humane society press release went around, alleging feline and canine DNA in some of the toys. This did not augur well with some of the people. It instead strengthened the myth.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the NSA, and the Pentagon were not left behind in these mythical beliefs. The FAA thought that the toys would affect flight equipment.it was said the Furbies could be a Foreign spy. The NSA and Pentagon insinuated the impression that the toys would pose a significant national security threat. There was a widespread belief that the toys would record or repeat conversations. With all these myths, the Furby was under risk of being banned.
The National security Agency of the United States banned the Furbies in 1999 from entering their property. This was due to the concern of the toy being used to record and repeat classified information. The matter was taken seriously to an extent the NSA gave an order for anyone who says the Furby to contact the Staff Security for guidance.
Attempts by Roger Shiffman, the owner of Tiger Electronics, to clear the air on Furby's recording were futile. The NSA believed the toy was spying on their land. Dave Hampton also stepped in to demonstrate their innocence on the matter, but the agency could not listen. Hampton argued that the microphone on Furby could not record any sound at all. He added that only a single monotonous loud beep would be heard from the Furby, and no waveforms were made at all.
The National Security Agency lifted the ban eventually.
Despite the ban being withdrawn, NSA went on to involve researchers. The findings proved that the microphone on a Furby connect could be remotely activated and recorded via a Bluetooth connection.
A good number of families in the United States still have the toy. Might they be harboring a dangerous agent? The Furby had ears, and the technology behind it revealed it could record sounds. Is it an imminent danger these families are holding? The cute exterior of the Furby might be a cover for more covert activities. The toys were developed for play, and it was not clear whether they were spying agents or not.
Banning of the Furbies
The national security agency of the United States once banned the Furbies on grounds they would listen in on classified conversations. It was in December 1999 when the agency banned the toys. The Furby craze made may put tons of these toys under American Christmas trees. The NSA issued a memo prohibiting the toys from its offices in Fort Meade. The agency also believed that the commercial on Furby learning English would be used to spy America over time.
The ban was later lifted.
How much are Furbies worth now
The pricing of the Furbies has been changing with the type purchased. In the 90s, the toy retailed averagely at 35 dollars. The Furby connects the latest version of the plaything. It was developed in 2016 with features of more expressive eyes and movements and the release of an app. The toy does not change personalities, unlike the previous makes. However, it can sing songs it learns from the app. The price worth of the Furby currently ranges from $150 to over $450.It generally depends on where you are purchasing and the features. Sometimes the color may matter.
Here is a review of the original 1998 Furby, a priceless piece.
Where are the Furbies?
Times have changed. Furby Connect still babbles on with the occasional singing and inappropriate noises it makes. Modern Furbies can tap into the zeitgeist, latch on to viral videos, and convey its bright LED eyes. Furby now has a companion app, the Connect part of the puzzle that it uses to find out what is going on in the big world.
The Furby was the most loved toy of the late 90s. Every child felt the joy to own Furby. How I wish I would go back to the old days.