Webkinz rival takes you to Funkeys town

Mattel's interactive vinyl figures and new virtual world may appeal to adults as well as kids too old for Webkinz.

U.B.Funkeys virtual world
Screenshot of the U.B.Funkeys virtual world, Terrapinia. Mattel

NEW YORK--U.B.Funkeys is a new line of vinyl figures from Mattel that double as avatars in a virtual world.

Instead of entering a code as with the Webkinz, you place your Funkey in a USB docking station. The character is then recognized in the virtual world of Terrapinia, a place filled with funk and other music.

The starter kit with USB docking station and two characters is available for $19.99, with additional Funkeys vinyl figures for $4.99 each. There are over 40 different Funkeys and each one has unique abilities in-world in addition to a bio and personality.

There are "normal," "rare" and "very rare" Funkeys. The more rare, it seems, the more power they have in-world.

Scratch, for example, is a character with a turntable for a face. He's marked "rare" and whenever Scratch plays music while in a room with other Funkeys, they are compelled to dance, according to his bio.

As with the Webkinz, owners can use their Funkeys for their corresponding vinyl figure to play casual games, earn points and buy virtual stuff for their virtual crib.

The funk music that plays in some areas of the world and the less cutesy non-pastel graphics, make the U.B.Funkeys a likely step-up as kids grow out of the Webkinz.

Adults will find them charming, too. The story and characters are written at a level of double-meaning that may go over kids heads, but will give parents a knowing chuckle.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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