Fifteen years ago, fuzzy electronic toys called Furbies were at the top of every family’s Christmas toys list. Truth was, these little Gizmos, which danced, wiggled their ears and eyes, and gabbled in “Furbish,” appealed to a lot of grown-ups, too.

Christmas presents 2012 Furby

Remember that silly little Furby toy from way back in the late 1990s? Well, guess what Christmas toy is selling like hotcakes this year?

They weren’t exactly robots as such, but they were a big step up from Tamagotchis (if you remember those). Millions of units sold from 1998 through 2006. And they worried government officials enough that they banned Furbies from the National Security Agency, lest they learn classified information.

A-hem!

Later Furbies learned how to sing songs and dance better, but by the late 2000s the big-eyed mutants were nearly as thoroughly forgotten as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, if more sorely missed.

Well, Furbies are back as of September 2012, to enchant a whole new generation of kiddies and parents. Are they yet another effort on the part of corporate America to strip-mine your childhood? Of course they are. But they’re cute as the dickens, and the sales figures are already climbing for the sky.

Indeed, it appears the Furby may well be the go-to children’s gift for Yuletide Y2.012K.

The New Incarnations

The jury’s still out on the new Furbies, but early reports emphasize their more expressive LCD eyes (surely better than the old clacking mechanical ones!), a greater emotional range (but can they do Stanley’s Stella yell from “Streetcar”?) and their own iOS app for the iPhone4.

Which, of course, any kid who’s anyone these days also has. Consider this: iPhones didn’t exist when Hasbro released the latest round of Furbies in 2006.  Which was before some of the kids wanting these new ones as Christmas presents were born.

Let’s Talk Price

Like the originals, Furby 2012 has its own personality and learns as your kiddo plays with it. It may start out speaking Furbish, but it’ll eventually learn simple English, and may end up interacting with little Tommy and Suzy in surprisingly sophisticated ways.

But don’t worry, they haven’t taught any kids to backtalk yet. You need TV for that. Oh, and they don’t encourage you to punch little old ladies and steal police cars, like some video games I could name.

Anyhoo, these brightly colored little critters don’t come cheap. Expect to pay on the order of $50-60 each, and maybe more if parents end up trampling each other and throwing punches in their zeal to buy the things, like they did last time.

One Final Note:

If Furbies can make a comeback almost 15 years along as the kiddy Christmas gifts of choice, let’s all just pray that 2013’s hot new Christmas toys aren’t those ridiculous Power Rangers, for heaven’s sake!

 

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