When Good Furbys Go Bad

A cautionary tale from Christina at A Mommy Story about The Furby Who Became Evil.

Furby

Mira’s Furby was suddenly possessed by a new personality who was mean. It growled at her, it snapped at her with an angry voice if she tried to pet it, and it made retching noises when she tried to feed it, as if the iPad foods weren’t good enough for it. Occasionally it showed little flames in its eyes.

WTF happened? Did we feed it after midnight?

It was now a Furby demon. And Mira was scared of it. She backed away with tears in her eyes, her five year old mind unable to comprehend what had happened to her cheery dance pal, saying she wanted her nice Furby back, and she didn’t want to play with it anymore.

All of which makes me wonder what a tester can learn from this.

How was this product tested? How much did the testers know about the underlying programming? Is the “Evil Furby” that upset little Mira actually a bug, or was it “performing to spec”? And if that’s in the spec, what were they thinking when they specified behaviour that makes five year olds cry?

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One Response to When Good Furbys Go Bad

  1. John P. says:

    I would hazard a guess that it is probably operating within spec because otherwise why would you equip it with an agressive voice if it couldn’t ever be used?

    But why do that? No idea. The six year old daughter of one of my colleagues apparently thinks the “evil” personality is hilarious so I guess it takes all sorts to make a world. Mind you, he says he had to wrap it in a towel and stick it in the washing basket one night when it wouldn’t shut up.

    I think if one appeared in our house it would have an “accident” fairly promptly. That has reminded me of an old Giles cartoon where Granny is sitting in a comfy armchair in the back garden using the pot plants she has received for mothers day as targets for her shotgun.

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