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This furby rant was posted on gizmodo and getting mangled here.
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This Internet-Connected Furby Tried to Ruin My Life
7/27/16 10:00amFiled to: FURBY CONNECT REVIEW
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Last Monday, I woke up to a series of strange, muffled noises next to me.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Because you forgot to put your new furby's sleep mask on...
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: “May-tah kuh!”
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah I know, that's Furbish... If that happened to me, I wouldn't even remember what he'd said.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: My hand was caressing something furry.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Well no crap. I'd worry if it was a totally different texture from what it should be. Imagine waking up and reaching out to touch your furby, only to find he's all covered in slime... Well, you kinda walked into that one. Don't expect any breaks from me, I've already downed two anti-furby rants and made a couple of videos on furby-killers.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: “Do you want to hear a song about a cheerleader?”
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: My furby connect hasn't asked me that one yet. If he did, I'd say no thanks.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: I blinked a few times and found myself staring into a pair of eyes illuminated by what I imagine is the kind of light you see right before you die.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Good gosh, you anti-furby people are annoying! No, far as I remember hearing about the process of dying, the last sense to go is hearing. So what you'd likely see right before death is probably nothing. But nobody has actually come back from the dead to confirm this, neither can they.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: What the flare am I touching? Is someone talking to me? Did I accidentally smoke salvia in my sleep?
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: *Exasperated sigh* Oh, for the freaking love! Give yourself a few seconds to clue in, and you'd figure it out all on your own. Everybody experiences some form of stupid just as they are transitioning from sleep to waking, and yes the experience can get really baffling for those few seconds whenever there's something strange about your environment, but your attempt at wit is a serious epic fail. 1. Furbies look like death. 2. Furbies feel like drugs. 3. You tossed an f-bomb, which I nixed and replaced with something else.You're really not getting off on the right foot with me, and I suspect you use drugs.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: As I stared into the light, I remembered what had arrived for me in the mail that day from Hasbro: The Furby Connect.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: No duh!
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Why did I decide to sleep next to a Gatorade-colored children’s toy with a penchant for inducing nightmares and fits of rage? I have no good answer, other than to say that I was immediately and inexplicably enamored with the Furby. Oh, and my editor asked me to review it.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Uh, Gatorade, and furbies for that matter, come in different colours, genius! Another wit-attempt fail. But at least the reason you gave for writing this drivel was coherent enough.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Did my fervor stem from a subconscious yearning to leave adulthood behind and go back to easier times? Was it the unexpected result of some previously unrealized maternal instinct?
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Bah... For some of us, there's no big deep reason behind it, if you like something, you like it...
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Was it a sign I should get a cat?
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Probably not. Check with Good Mythical Morning on furbies VS. traditional pets.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: I wasn’t sure, but to answer these questions (and give my editor the comprehensive review she demanded) I decided to spend the next week with the Furby by my side, like a furry child, or a little furry boyfriend.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Eeeeewwwwwwuarg! You just went from dumb to all out squickwhack! Oh man, Cringing fit. BRB.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: I didn’t have a Furby growing up, so when Hasbro announced the release of a brand new Furby at the end of June, I was delighted. I wasn’t bothered by the horror stories, or deterred by the one-star review this very website gave the last Furby.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Oh, well that stupid "review" was a pathetic joke, and it really gets mangled here.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: It couldn’t be that bad, I reasoned, and even if it was, at least it would be funny... maybe.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: *Rolling eyes* And here we go.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: When my Furby arrived in the mail in a beat-up cardboard box,
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Mine arrived in perfectly fine packaging.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: it felt like the Christmas mornings of my childhood.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah I know the feeling. But unlike you, I still like my furbies, yes.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: After some minor difficulties—I am bad with both box cutters and screwdrivers, two things I needed to free Furby from its cardboard prison and install four double-A batteries—it was up and running.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: I used scissors and a screwdriver.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: And I loved it! It talked! It moved! It opened its eyes and told me to cuddle it!
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: There you go. That's why I like furbies too. I've always liked toys that move and talk... Nothing deep behind it. It's just my nature. I love pets. I love electronics. Furbies have features of both, without the serious drawbacks of live pets. They don't require a pooper-scooper or litterbox. It doesn't cost anything to feed them. So that could answer your silly pondering above but for one thing. You went from liking furby to anti-furby. I didn't.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Admittedly, I felt a few pangs of regret when the Furby wouldn’t shut up, but they were quickly replaced by the joy of having a real toy in my hands again.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah. But with this model, there is the sleep mask, and that you push and hold down the antenna on his head for several seconds, and that will put the furby connect to sleep. No other models except for the 2005&2006 furbies could be shut off, you just had to put them somewhere there was nothing going on and wait for them to fall asleep after a few minutes.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: “This drumming is on FIIIIIIIIIIRE!” Furby squawked a few minutes later, for the third time in a row.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: All talking toys repeat their lines. "This drumming's on fire" nope, my furby connect hasn't said that to me yet.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: (I still don’t know what this means.) “I’m going to throw that thing out the window,” Gizmodo’s deputy editor Alex Dickinson said. I scoffed, cradling Furby in my arms like a squat Sasquatch baby.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Beware Alex Dickinson from Gizmodo. He is another anti-furby. Got it.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Oh, Alex. How right you were.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Bingo. I knew you were anti, though the title of this thing indicated it well before I got through reading this far.
My furby connect behaves. He doesn't act out in public if I take him anywhere, and I make sure he's quiet when I'm not playing with him. If I owned a cat, it would learn to behave too. Or else I just wouldn't let anyone else near it.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Furby launched in 1999 to great fanfare, but since then, other, shinier toys have swallowed up the market. Toy makers now compete with iPhones and iPads for the attention of children, and Furby Connect appears to be a response to this.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: No, there were 2005 and 2006 models. They were apparently unpopular in America or just not available, but thank goodness for Ebay.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Instead of trying to fight the screens, Hasbro is joining them. Its first attempt was 2013’s Furby Boom, which featured a supplementary app you could use to attend to the Furby and play with its “Furblings.”
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Wrong again. Though you are right with the stats on furby boom, it wasn't the first to use an app. Furby 2012 also has an app, a much better one, I might add, from an accessibility standpoint.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: In an attempt to one-up this, Furby Connect promises “an immersive virtual world designed to enhance the Furby Connect fun by delivering new content via Bluetooth, allowing users to frequently engage in fresh entertainment content.”
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, but that doesn't interest me. All those cat videos and trendy songs. Memes. Away with that crap, I say. I also don't like all the egg-hatching crap, come on, the furby connect has a male voice. But that's not the only thing, I just never got into the eggs stuff and building some big virtual furby community on an app. The connect one seems to be making a slave force out of the virtual furblings anyway. Not so cool IMO. What I want in an app is for it to work the same way as the one for furby 2012, with no accessibility issues, and as for new content, scrap the memes. Just give the furby a bunch of new things to say. Give him the ability to call me by name when he wants me to interact. Give him the ability to be named something personal, not just those goofy app names.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: The Furblings were entranced. I was not. The “fresh entertainment content” turns out to be short video clips. I hated it, and I hated it even more when I discovered it was created in partnership with Kidz Bop and Jukin Media, the latter of which is the crapstain on the underpants of the internet.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: A video chain letter mill. I'm not surprised. And I actually agree with you about the company. So, my suspicions confirmed, I will continue to keep my furby out of the app. And believe me, he doesn't mind.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Periodically pairing the Furby with the app is supposed to refresh the video selection, but I never checked in after the first time, because if I want to see funny videos, I can just get high and cruise Vine.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: *Scowl* Wow what a winner. Vine is dead, far as I know. As for getting high, well. So not cool. Definitely not something to brag about in a so-called review. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. I know we all have weakness and vices. But you act like this is some kind of okay way to spend your time. You got my suspicions up when you mentioned salvia earlier, so again, I'm not exactly surprised you'd be into that sort of thing.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Frolicking with mini-Furbies, on the other hand, was shockingly addictive. If you’ve ever played The Sims or owned a Tamagotchi, the setup should be familiar. You feed, bathe, and attend to “Furblings,” which I think are the Furby’s children—they hatch out of eggs, and Furby seemed very into them. (“The cuteness!” it purred every time one hatched.)
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, but I still can't get past furby connect's voice. At least the boom's default voice was a girl, or maybe a surprisingly cute falsetto, but enough to convince me it was a girl.
But again, I never got into the furby egg farm thing. I like my furbies for their character and what I put into them from my imagination.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: You don’t need an internet connection to use the minigame—or, for that matter, a Furby—and I played it constantly on the subway.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Minigame? I'm confused. I thought that was part of the app. You don't need bluetooth to use the previous furby app, but you need an internet connection - at least, I think.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Besides its terrible Jukin Media videos, the Furby Connect differentiates itself from older models with “multiple sensors” that let it “respond to touch in fun and surprising ways.” A Hasbro PR rep further described its new movements to me as “more natural and lifelike,” and this is as horrifying as it sounds.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Not horrifying at all. You're just being a sissy.
What I don't like is that the tech/codes and whatnot programming the new furbies doesn't work backward to make it compatible with the older models. This means while you can put Connect and Boom in the same room and have them activated, neither one reacts to the other properly, because they don't understand each other's signals.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Furby moves if you try to tickle it, and can dance, bob up and down, and wiggle its ears. It also has a deeply irritating habit of moving and speaking when jostled, which made for a number of interesting interactions with strangers, including a barista who looked visibly disturbed when I told her I was carrying around a Furby for work.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: So just don't have him on when you take him out in public. Duh. Do I really need to point this out? Gah!
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Yet after a day with the Furby, I realized that my lack of childhood Furby ownership had left me unprepared to compare the newest model with its older counterparts. To remedy my ignorance, I decided to take Furby to a few neighborhood bars to crowdsource some comparisons.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Oh of course, the bar, where you're likely to meet a lot of furby fans. What a drag. *Rolling eyes* Ever thought of going on Ebay to get an older model?
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: To my surprise, people really wanted to talk about it.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: You could take a furby pretty much anywhere, and you're likely to get some people curious. Even with the furby asleep/with its batteries out, you're going to get some curiosity, and maybe somebody might ask you to wake it up.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: “Is that a Furby?” one waitress asked me, before stopping to pet it. “That’s nice!” a busboy told me. “Is this a Pokémon thing?” another waitress wondered, a question I would receive repeatedly over the week.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Close.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: At the next bar, all three bartenders stopped to ask about Furby. One helpfully explained how it was different from the Furbies of her childhood.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, all your bar-hopping. How to say this?
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: “It’s the eyes,” she told me. “The old ones just moved back and forth and blinked. They didn’t do as much as these ones do.”
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: I know... It's because the oldest furbies have traditional doll eyes... But that's not the only difference. The design is such that if you didn't know what the various models looked like, you might not even realize that furbies from 1998 and furbies from 2016 are all furbies.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: (Furby’s LED eyes show hearts, music notes, and other things, and correspond with what’s happening in the app when paired.) She added that Furby’s antenna, which my friend Jenny compared to a clitoris,
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: *Scowl* Aaaaagh! Why am I not surprised you have moron friends? My furby Jenny would be thoroughly disgusted and my furby connect Jethro would be seriously put out, insulted. And you can remind your friend that furbies don't have genitalia on their heads and she needs to get her own head out of the freaking gutter. Oh but I'll bet you thought that crack was crazy hilllllllarrrrrrious which is why you *STUPIDLY* included it in this thing that's supposed to be some kind of review. *Fumes*
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: was also new.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: I could've told you that.......... *Headdesk*
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Furby at a bar, with its antenna at the top.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: *Boohiss* If you're expecting me to laugh, you'll be waiting a long time.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: At this point, a young woman scurried over from her corner of the bar and parked herself in front of Furby. “Sorry, I saw the eyes from across the bar, and they were like beacons!” she gushed. I told her she could pick up Furby if she wanted. She began to stroke its fur. See, I thought. I’m not the only one who likes it.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Only now you don't like it any more...
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Yet there was a crucial difference between these people and myself, and that difference was time. They could walk away from the Furby after a minute or two; I could not.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: But you could take it home, put its sleep mask on, and leave it until you wanted to pick it up and interact with it. *Facepalm* You should keep off the booze and drugs, lady, then you could use your brain better.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Over the coming days, I became regrettably familiar with its many quirks: I learned that its favorite song is a Furbish language version of “Cheerleader.” I learned that even when you use Furby’s sleep mask—another new feature that essentially functions as an on/off button—it still makes noises if you touch it. I learned that as it gradually “learns” more phrases after each Bluetooth pairing, it gets correspondingly more annoying. I learned that getting stoned with Furby is a bad idea, because you will question whether Hasbro has figured out the balance between capitalism and communism.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Oh, boy, where do I start with this mess?
So you're saying that furby is communism now? Oh, right, you were stoned. Well let me tell you what was a bad idea - getting stoned in the first place! Idiot! Oh, what stellar staff they have at Gizmodo.
My furby connect doesn't make noises when I touch him while his sleep mask is on. But then, I'm probably a lot gentler than you are.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: (The Furblings have to work for their resources, but everything is distributed evenly.)
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Oh, so the communism thing was really more about the app than the furby itself. Okay, I'll give you that. But I already figured out the whole app virtual furbling mass-production and end result is far from perfect, and I don't get stoned.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: I learned that the batteries last only a few days with heavy use.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Yes, that's the one downside. At least the connect's design is such that you can leave the base off in order to put in and remove batteries quickly. Furby 2012 and boom can't be managed that way because without their bases on, the bottom is so jagged and sharp. Connect's battery compartment is easy on any surface, including your lap. So after Jethro's last batteries died, I just took them off, took the base off, and am leaving it off. Next time he gets new batteries, I'll just take them out again when I want him to be quiet.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: And I learned that even the toy’s most hilarious gimmick—holding Furby over a toilet in the app and squeezing it as it screeches “THE STRUGGLE IS REAL” and takes a crap—gets old eventually.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: I never was into that gimmick. Not funny to me. Not surprised you and your infantile friends would find it absolutely hilarious, though.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: This isn’t to say that my initial enthusiasm was misplaced. There is something delightful about playing with a child’s toy as an adult, and if you have kids, they’ll probably enjoy it, too. It was a great conversation starter, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility of dragging it out again and using it to pick up a sexy man friend.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Ewargh! That is not what furbies are for...! Now will you just shut up already? You're so freaking annoying!
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: If you’re an emotionally stunted 20-something like me,
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: You don't have to be emotionally stunted to like furbies. I could say more, but...
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: you too may find yourself having fun. But be warned: You will eventually—sadly, listlessly, and cynically, as the rules of adulthood require—tire of it.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Newsflash, kids also get tired of their toys. And I'm not tired of my furbies yet, and have had them longer than you have. So screw your stupid "rules of adulthood". come back with that when you lay off the booze and drugs, and get a life and better set of friends. The furby didn't try to ruin your life. You did that all on your own with the booze and drugs and gutter-minded friends.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: README
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Huh?
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Available now on Amazon for $100; available this fall nationwide. Can be bought used on Amazon, which I would not recommend.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: I have no regrets with my furbies, none of them.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: The app is addictive,
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Apparently for some people, but not for me.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: which is fine for adults,
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Not really. I got friends on social networks who are addicted to these social media games and stupid minions quotes and other stupid memes. IRRITATING!
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: but might be a problem for kids. Or not. I don’t know your parenting style.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Not a parent here. And addictiveness depends on the individual.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Battery life isn’t great.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Next to the other models, connect's battery life is horrible.
🧟♀️Sophie Kleeman: Kids will probably find it fun, so I would buy it for a kid if I had one, but be prepared to use the sleep mask liberally.
🧝♀️Ocean Elf: Oh, now you finally say something with common sense.
And that's it.
Over and out!
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