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Fun for a fortnight; now just annoys everyone
on 23 January 2014
So you're considering spending some of your hard-earned cash on a raucous, vulgar, unpredictable electronic toy with no off button and no volume control... why? Because your child is asking repeatedly for one?
Two Furby Booms provided good entertainment over Christmas, having kept the whole (broad minded) family amused with their movements, bodily noises and phrases. Downloading the app onto a Samsung Galaxy phone (a feat which took my software engineer husband the best part of two days) extended the play value somewhat - now we can 'feed' the Furbies and are rewarded by watching them poop sometimes surprising items into an on-screen toilet bowl. We've also had the app working - from time to time - on a Galaxy tab 3.
But I'm afraid the only interaction we have with them three weeks later is to pull their tail to subdue them into slumber every time they (spontaneously and unpredictably) spring into life. Their phrases, while plentiful, become repetitive. They do each incorporate their name (chosen via the app) into their speech but other than this we have seen little or no evidence of genuine interaction, either with each other or with our real, live children. We have occasionally seen a second personality emerge, which is rather weirdly represented by a fairly deep male voice, but this lasts a few minutes before the toy reverts to the nasal tones of an over-excited pre-teen female high on cherry cola.
So are they worth the money?
Possibly; your child will probably be thrilled to open one and it will occupy them for a while, particularly if you can persuade the app to work. But for £50 you could get quite a few toys which involve more traditional interaction such as board games / jigsaws / art materials. Or indeed a real hamster, which despite being nocturnal is less likely to wake you up at night. You could even afford the hamster food with the savings you'll make on batteries. Or, spend £5 on a ball and go and interact with your child yourself down the park...
There you have it; there are lots of alternatives for much less outlay.
Resist the pester power, comrades!