Various versions of a new Furby, produced by U.S. toy giant Hasbro and distributed by Japanese toy maker Tomy, are displayed at a press preview in Tokyo on Sept. 4, 2012. The Furby is back this holiday season, and it's as strange and coveted as it was in 1998.
Various versions of a new Furby, produced by U.S. toy giant Hasbro and distributed by Japanese toy maker Tomy, are displayed at a press preview in Tokyo on Sept. 4, 2012. The Furby is back this holiday season, and it's as strange and coveted as it was in 1998. - 
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In 1998 a new kind of toy hit the market. It was called the Furby, and it did everything from sleep to talk smack in its own language: Furbish.

The Furby was a smash hit, tens of millions of them sold over the next few years. This year toymaker Hasbro had a brainstorm: bring the Furby back. Already the toy has been a hit this holiday season.

"You start to project or see autonomous behavior, and then you're not sure if it's alive or not," says Furby co-creator Caleb Chung. "And so it becomes creepy."

Making an emotional connection with kids is what's important to designing a toy that can span generations. Chung doesn't seem to mind if adults aren't enamored by the Furby's mystique, after all they made him some serious cash.

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal