What’s Yiffin’? – August 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

by André Kon

For a good many of us, summer vacation is almost over and it’s time to return to the reality of classes, or just another day at work if you’re no longer in school. This past summer has been home to a number of controversial events at conventions and in the fandom alike.  We’ve got four more to round things out before all is said and done. Mercifully, there’s no convention drama this month… well, not unless you count Pokemon GO Fest as a “convention”. There’s a lot of things we’d call that disaster, but “con” isn’t one of them (unless you mean “con” as in “to trick”). Anyways, on with the news!

2016 FURRY OSCARS

It’s that time of year again, Oscar season! Not the actual Oscars, mind you, but the fandom’s equivalent of them: the Ursa Major Awards. Awarded to people and projects who go above and beyond in the name of anthropomorphic entertainment, the Ursa Major Awards are community-driven, with initial nominations and ultimately voting open to the fandom. This past month the winners for 2016’s Ursas were announced. The results were full of emotions, ranging from surprise to “ugh, not again”.

First off, the big daddy title of Best Motion Picture went to Zootopia… to the surprise of literally no one. If there’s such a thing as “Ursa Bait”, this was it; in the past decade there’s probably not been such an obvious shoe-in winner since The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Right behind Nick & Judy’s furry fling was Pixar’s Finding Dory, which, while this was a great movie in its own right, stood no chance against Disney’s powerhouse. The results of the Ursas are posted in order of who received the most votes, and coming in dead last was The Secret Life of Pets, a godawful CGI movie. In what we imagine must have been a three-way tie for last place, Sing and Kung Fu Panda 3 also made the bottom of the list.

Last year, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic won the Ursa Major for “Best Dramatic Short Work or Series.” I expressed confusion as to how MLP qualifies as “drama”. Well, it won the award again for 2016, and we’re still no closer to understanding how a cartoon meant to sell toys to little girls is somehow “drama”.

Zootopia won yet another Ursa Major this time, for its “making of” art book which conquered the Best Non-Fiction Work category, because as we all know Zootopia is real; also in the running was that VICE article we joked about last year, where their “update” on the MFF chlorine gas incident was that there wasn’t an update.  The Fursonas documentary went underrated, leaving popularity separate from breaking ground – as pointed out by the Dogpatch Press piece about the first fandom feature with mainstream crossover. (Let’s not talk about butthurt from runners-up who weren’t popular either.) Director Dominic Rodriguez told us: “there was an award?”

Visual novel Major/Minor won the award for Best Game, and for some reason we had a disproportionately high amount of people trying to get us to cover this story in order to take pot shots at Klace (the game’s creator) because he asked his fans to vote for him.  Uh, us here at What’s Yiffin’ did the exact same thing and no one batted an eye; these are awards chosen and voted on by the fandom, so if you’ve got the outreach to get people to vote for you, that just means you obviously stand a better chance at winning. That’s how this works. Besides, the “Best Game” category also had crap like Pokemon and Overwatch in it, games produced by people who are either unaware of, or don’t care about the Ursa Major Awards. Major/Minor winning its category doesn’t make it objectively better than these games. It just means that when it came time to vote, there were essentially two “null” options you could choose if you wanted to throw a vote away.

The illustrious Best Website award went to… wait for it… Fur Affinity. Again. Now, we don’t want to pull a John Oliver here and say “it’s [CURRENT YEAR]”, but it’s [CURRENT YEAR], and how on Earth is Fur Affinity even still a solid candidate for this award? The rest of the field wasn’t exactly strong, but e621 has been in the running multiple times and continues to get snubbed. I suppose when e621 finally does win the award, we can mark it as a turning point in the fandom. However until then, the Ursa Major will be the Oscar to e621’s Leonardo DiCaprio.

Finally, Dogpatch Press won the award for Best Magazine — shoutouts — but we’re putting you on notice. You might syndicate this show, but next year that award is as good as ours. We’re coming for you, Patch. You’ve got the remainder of the year to enjoy the title, because come 2017’s Ursas, we’re going to be top dog! (What’s Yiffin’ was eligible for nomination last year, however we did not qualify for the voting period. We’re working extra hard on making it in for 2017.)

CRUSHED, YIFFED, DESTROYED

Near the end of June, furry-critical website Vivisector disappeared off of the face of the web. We didn’t cover this at the time because we assumed it was just a random server outage or downtime. However as July came and went, we realized there was probably something more significant at play because it’s August 10th as of this article’s writing and Vivisector is still gone. Flayrah initially broke the story last month that the Crush Yiff Destroy archive site and forum had gone unresponsive; plenty of furs came out of the woodwork to say “good riddance”, but that doesn’t do Vivisector the justice it deserves.

Like it or not, Vivisector served an important purpose in the ecosystem of the fandom by allowing users to keep track of unsavory people and events in the fandom. You name it, Vivisector probably had a thread about it at some point. Stretching back to humble beginnings as a Portal of Evil spin-off website in 2007, Vivisector eventually outlasted fellow critic website Crush Yiff Destroy and became CYD’s archive when it went offline in 2010.

Though activity had waned in recent years, Vivisector remained online doing what it was known for, until a disagreement between the administrators resulted in the website being blanked and its server being taken offline.  It was mistaken for just nominal downtime when it happened last June. The website’s URL at vivisector.org began responding again in the middle of July, sans-forum, with only the message “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” emblazoned on its meager homepage along with a link to a Discord chat server and the notice that the website would eventually be returning. It’s important to note however, that by taking an official side in this argument, Vivisector has relinquished its central position as an “equal opportunity offender” when it comes to criticism. Bias has now been introduced into the fray. For many this has been the official death knell of a once active and informative website.

But this is okay, communities such as Vivisector come and go. A decade ago people were concerned about sites like Encyclopedia Dramatica, but ED in its golden years has also had a fall from grace as well as multiple host/domain switches, resulting in a loss of content and confidence. Neophyte community Kiwi Farms has already stepped in to fill the void left by Vivisector by adding a furry section to their website named “Animal Control”. Whether or not they wanted this to happen, Vivisector is now officially a relic of yesteryear.

You will be missed, Vivisector.

THERE’S ONLY DARKNESS

Sonic the Hedgehog, a comic series based upon the video game and cartoon of the same name, has come to an end. SEGA announced last month that their historic 25 year run with Archie would be coming to an end, making issue #290 the final one to be printed and published. Sonic the Hedgehog’s run lasted for the aforementioned 290 issues, however if you count all of the special series and spin-offs, there were over 500 installments in the series. In 2008, Guinness recognized Sonic the Hedgehog as being the longest-running comic book adaptation of a video game, as well as being the longest-running American comic book without a reboot.

The comic is also not so fondly remembered thanks in part to former writer Ken Penders, whose obsession with his characters led him to file copyrights on them and then turn around and attempt to sue SEGA on two different occasions, neither of which panned out in Ken’s favor.

SEGA also promised that this wouldn’t be the end of the hedgehog in comic book form. Just two days after their initial announcement, SEGA kept to their word and announced they were partnering with IDW Publishing to continue Sonic’s story. An official return date hasn’t been announced, however SEGA mentioned that publication would resume some time in 2018.

POKEMON GO GET A REFUND

Finally, in our last story we travel to Chicago, IL for the first ever (and probably last) Pokemon GO Fest, an outdoor festival for the mobile game Pokemon GO. (Yes, people apparently still play it.) The concept behind the meet-up was simple: unveil the first ever legendary Pokemon at GO Fest, and offer rarer Pokemon for players to casually find. There was also the lure of special medals and in-game items to draw people out to Chicago from all over the country, and supposedly the world.

The festival was a complete disaster. As many of you who attempted to play the game at release may recall, logging onto the game and staying connected seemed almost impossible. These problems eventually went away, but once hundreds if not thousands of players all came together to try and play it in one place, they came back with a vengeance. Ultimately, Niantic had to disable in-game animations and lure functionality to restore some of the game’s playability. The CEO of Niantic, after being booed and chanted at on stage, buckled and announced that everyone would be receiving a complimentary $100 in Poke Coins, as well as a refund of their $20 ticket to attend GO Fest.

This only served to soothe the people who made it into the event however.  Outside the gates of Pokemon GO Fest, the line to get in seemed to stretch endlessly in videos and pictures posted on social media by prospective attendees. There is also now a pending class action lawsuit against Niantic for travel reimbursement for the people who flew in from other parts of the United States, only to be substantially let down by the unplayability of the game.

GO Fest was such as disaster that Niantic has indefinitely postponed the “Safari Zone” event that was meant to start taking place in Europe right now. No new dates have been provided for the Safari Zone event, or if the event is even still set to happen.

That’s a wrap on last month’s top fandom stories. Thank you for joining us here on Dogpatch Press, we hope you enjoyed this peek into the fandom! Make sure you’ve subscribed to Gatorbox on YouTube and Twitch, so you’ll catch What’s Yiffin’ live!

– André “Dracokon” Kon & Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro

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