Furby is a robotic pet toy that was released by Hasbro and TIGER Electronics in the holiday season of 1998. It was widely popular for its time and sold millions of units.
In 1999, they released the Furby Babies, which were smaller, but also had a higher pitched voice and more baby-like tendencies. In 2001, Shelby, a clam-like Furby with a more interactive personality, was introduced.
They were unique robots in which they would start out knowing only their own language, Furbish. As time went on they would start using more English. They would also talk to each other if placed near the infrared sensors on their head.
Furby was revamped in 2005 as the Emoto-Tronic Furby. They were much bigger than the original ones. It looked more organic and implemented more interactivity, such as playing games and telling jokes. It and both its variations, Babies and Funky Furby, were ultimately discontinued in 2007. Another revamp was made in Fall 2012. This was shortly followed by an even more-interactive model called "Furby Boom," which could lay eggs and hatch "Furblings" via an iOS/Android app. A bigger model came out in 2016, "Furby Connect," which offered even more interactivity with iOS/Android devices.
There was a PC game dedicated to them in 1999 known as Big Fun in Furbyland. In 2005, a 45-minute animated special called Furby Island was aired on Nickelodeon and Teletoon to promote the then-new emototronic line of Furbies.
The Furby was intended to be a follow-up to Tiger's previous digital pet toy, Giga Pets.
The toy provides examples of:
- Animesque: The 2012 and Furby Boom ones have anime eyes, complete with "^_^", "-_-", and other stock anime expressions.
- Calling Your Nausea: Use an unconventional phrase for this, to indulge in Vulgar Humor, by first saying "Dinner is served!" and then gagging. Given that they don't have stomachs, Furbys can't throw up, so nothing happens afterwards.
- Crossover: near the end of the original run, dolls based on the likeness of both Gizmo and E.T. were made to serve as friends of Furby, complete with the ability to interact with one. A Yoda doll using the same technology was also made, but its place in the line is highly debated due to its lack of compatibility with the others. Figures of Pokémon's Pikachu and Meowth, and Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. were also planned, but were unproduced, leaving it unknown if they would have been capable of interacting with Furby or not.
- Cute Kitten: Invoked. Furbies look a bit like cats mixed with hamsters and owls.
- Cute Owl: Also invoked. Furbies bear a strong resemblance to owls, with their round bodies, beaks and large eyes.
- Delinquent Hair: One of two styles Furby's "hair" could come in was a mohawk. The other was a tuft on the top of the head and a short rabbit-like tail. Subverted in that Furby isn't known for being a trouble-maker (maybe).
- Expy: Of Gizmo. In fact, their resemblance to Gizmo actually caused Warner Bros. to file a lawsuit against Hasbro claming the toy's design was too similar. This led to Hasbro redesigning the Furby's look. An officially licensed Gizmo Furby was released near the tail end of the original toy's run, however.
- Faux Furby: The Trope Maker. Furby proved so popular that it inspired multiple parodies in works of fiction and plenty of bootlegs and cash-ins of varying degrees of quality.
- Medical Game: The app has a mini-game about diagnosing and treating your Furby. The diagnoses are usually punny versions of normal diseases, whereas the cures are nonstandard things such as honey for a stomach virus.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Kind of look like a combination of hamsters, cats and owls, with the round furry bodies of hamsters, catlike ears and the large round eyes and small beaks of owls.
- Nonstandard Character Design:
- The "Shelby" variation, which was pretty much Furby with a clam shell.
- There were also Furby bean-bag toys. The difference with them is that they are smaller, and they don't talk (much to the relief of parents everywhere).
- The McDonald's Happy Meal Furbies, which enjoyed a decent shelf life at toy stores and other places. There were a few different ones, each with its own color and hair variations (tuft vs. mohawk). They batted their eyes; waggled their eyes and ears; made a high-pitched "moo" sound; played peekaboo with their ears...
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Furbies are adorable cat-hamster-bird hybrids, though some people view them as annoying.
- Spinoff Babies: The Furby Babies. There was also an equivalent to the 2005 revamp that came out in 2006, but is not as well-remembered as the 1999 Furby Babies. The "Furblings" that were sold alongside Furby Boom could count as these as well.
- Translation: "Yes": "Why will you not play with me today?" translates to "Yoo?" in Furbish.
- Urban Legends:
- Back at the height of its popularity, an e-mail began circulating claiming that Furby could record messages and that spies were using them to gather information. In reality, Furby has no such technology and cannot record anything. The rumor spread due to Furby's programmed "learning" of Furbish to English (It only has a set number of phrases it can speak). You're still not allowed to take them onto US military bases, though.
- Another (though not as well-known) legend claims that Furby's "fur" is made from animal fur (most versions of the legend claim it to be cat fur). In reality, Furby's "fur" is made from a synthetic fabric (most likely polyester fibers).
- There was also a legend that claimed Furby could be taught to "swear". As mentioned above, Furby can only "learn" what's already programmed into it.
- Yet another one is that they talk with no batteries after reaching a certain age. Apparently, they store power somehow... explanation
- Waddling Head: They resemble the head of an owl or a hamster, but without a body.
- Wingding Eyes: All Furbies since the 2012 versions are capable of this, thanks to LCD technology in the 2012 and Boom versions, and LEDs in the Connect version.
- You No Take Candle: When Furbies learn English, they use “me” in place of “I” and remove linking verbs.