Hailing as one of the hottest holiday toys of the late ’90s, Furbies were a firm favorite throughout the early millennium. Were they based on Dante’s Gremlins? Could you turn one evil? Find out how cute and cuddly got creepy real fast.
In the late ’90s, kids across the globe ripped open shiny plastic packaging to reveal wide-eyed, large-eared ‘robots’ that blew Tamagotchis out the water – these were ‘pets’ you could physically pat and the world went wild for them. Furbies were a firm favorite throughout the early millennium; for one, they spoke ‘Furbish’ and to every kid’s delight, with a little dedication, could even learn cuss words.
The more you talked to it, the more it would learn. You could even say that it spoke too much, because despite continuously topping Christmas lists, these initially coveted creatures snored, sneezed and jabbered their way into the back of most people’s airing cupboards… even after the batteries had died. That’s right – cute and cuddly got creepy real fast.
For Starters – Are Furbies based on Gremlins?
Yep, it didn’t take toy lovers long to recognise that Furbies looked an awful lot like Gizmo from Dante’s Gremlins, nor much longer for the masses to admit that they were just as menacing.
Despite the ‘unintentional’ similarities, Warner Brothers didn’t proceed with the once-expected court case but rather partnered with them in 1999, releasing a limited edition Furby that was directly based on the fan-favorite Gremlin, voice and all. A real treat for Gizmo fans at the time, they’ve since become a horror-fiction collectible on eBay.
Are the rumours true? Can you turn a Furby evil?
The short answer? Yes. If you’re wondering why your Furby is already evil, or if you can actually turn it evil, you’re not alone. Hasbro released the Furby Boom back in 2013, an updated version that not only came in an array of new colours but could be connected to an app that allowed you to virtual feed, play and even X-Ray your Furby.
Unlike the original Furby, it also came with twelve unique personalities which were unlocked depending on how you chose to treat the ‘it’ toy of the era. Furby fans quickly worked out that you could actively turn the AI evil, or activate what was called, ‘The Viking’ personality. Actions such as over-feeding the Furby Boom (i.e holding your finger in its mouth) and pulling its tail would eventually send the Furby into a frenzy, its digital eyes would slant and the verbal shenanigans begin.
Is it possible to turn an evil Furby good again?
Good question. In theory, the Furby Boom was designed to showcase multiple, interchangeable personalities for you to play with, but consumers found that once something wicked this way comes, turning your Furby good again was not an easy feat.
Online blogs suggest hugs (despite its protests), stroking, feeding treats and music can help unlock ‘nicer’ personalities. Or you can simply reset it back to factory settings by turning it upside down and holding the tongue sensor and the tail. Despite the interesting updates, the Furby Boom discontinued shortly after its launch (we’ll ignore the rumours of Furbies used as Chinese-manufactured, secret-stealing bugging devices, for now) and it was the 1998 version that had consumers confused over their Furby’s allegiance.
The O.G version had none of the personality features, yet was the model that continued to haunt households for years on end. Let’s be real – if you had a Furby growing up, you’ll be all too familiar with a few frightening Furby tales; the sounds of ‘FEEEEED ME’ forever ringing in your ears. Actually, ‘90s nostalgia hunters will be pleased to know that there’s a whole subreddit thread dedicated to evil Furby stories.
Evil Furby stories, you say? Read on…
Still not convinced? Check out these evil Furby commercials
Haunting. Whoever made these evil Furby commercials had to base it off something, right? Can we be sure “u-nye-loo-lay-doo?” means “do you want to play?”
Sweet dreams, folks.
HasEvil Furby peaked your interest? Read our guest post on Long Furby!
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While not as sophisticated as AIBO, Poo-Chi was the first robotic pet to attain widespread commercial success. Whether you remember him being from the 90s or 2000s, join us as we look back at the legacy of this electrifying pooch!