It's the weekend, and TechLife enjoys taking a play break every now and then, so when Hasbro invited us to come take a look at the toys they'll be selling for this year's Christmas period, we jumped at the chance. Sure, Barbie's just a lump of somewhat-unrealistically-shaped plastic, but lots of toys these days have a technology angle.
Hasbro didn't disappoint; the very first tech toy off the rank carries Nerf branding, but this isn't much to do with soft toy darts. Nerf Firevision is a set of glasses frames that emit a light that reflects off a handball, basketball or football; the idea is that you all wear a pair and play into the darker summer nights. Glasses run to $36.99 a pair, but they're pretty robust, and as we found, they do fit over glasses and on adult heads as well.
It is a little scary only being able to see little pinpricks of light all chasing a ball, though.
Keeping with the Nerf branding, the inevitable Lazer Tag toy, but this time with an AR bent; the guns have a holster that can accommodate an iPhone or iPod, although it's not mandatory. AR apps allow you to play multiplayer games in the real world; while this isn't an entirely new concept, the multiplayer angle is interesting.
There's precious little technology inside the heavily stocked Nerf HailFire, but we want one anyway; a semi-automatic pump-action Nerf gun that can -- fully decked out -- carry 144 darts? We'll take three (and everyone else had better duck, quickly).
The usual Hasbro staples were also on show; a LOL Tickle Me Elmo that giggles, tells jokes and annoys parents, and even a fully blinged out version of Monopoly -- no really -- that teaches some kind of life lesson, although we're not entirely sure what it is.
The highest tech toy that Hasbro's got -- and the one it's pinning its big Christmas push on, having sold 250,000 of the original model some fifteen years back -- is a revamp of the Furby, with LED eyes, iPad app integration for feeding and over 100 phrases of "Furbish", the cutesy SIM-style language that Furbies talk.
They're sort of cute in a way… and ever so slightly evil, especially when they chuckle. So Hasbro claims, the Furby will "learn" based on how you treat it, so it's possible to send one bad. Naturally, that's what we had to do…