Tiger Electronics Furby
It sounds like the ultimate geek fantasy: Give your child an intelligent robot for Christmas--even if it does look like a cross between Gizmo from the Gremlins movie, a Muppet, and a Warner Brothers cartoon character. Thanks to its CPU, sensors, and moving parts, the original Furby could react to light, sound and touch: waking up in the morning, responding to words and sounds, and responding to having its fur stroked. Out of the box, Furbys spoke "Furbish," but could be taught to repeat certain English words if they were given positive reinforcement at the same time. In 1998 they caused enough of a sensation that the $35 toys quickly sold out in toy stores, driving prices up into the hundreds and riling up parents who clearly hadn't learned from the Tickle Me Elmo fad two years earlier.