Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Interviews

History of Furcadia, the Guinness Record-winning furry MMO, and Q&A with co-creator Dr. Cat 

by Patch O'Furr

In the early days of the internet, on dialup BBS’s and the pre-smartphone web, many fans knew they were furry before it had a name. When they logged on to find each other, a home PC became a fantasy portal for instant chatting with other talking animals. It was thrilling because who wants to play a regular human? Some haters treated them as the black sheep of nerds, but looking back, they were the first wave of a major force in the culture.

In the late 1980’s and 90’s, MMOs/MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) popularized internet communities for fun. MMO’s were an evolution with graphics added to text-based MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) and MUCKs; starting in the 1970s, these were often accessed through universities. Some let users build their world, and were significant to early organized furry fandom, like FurryMUCK (1990), Tapestries MUCK (1991), FurToonia (1994), Sociopolitical Ramifications (1994) or TigerMUCK (1994). Eventually World of Warcraft grew to dominate MMO’s with millions of users.

The furry MMO Furcadia was at the front.

Furcadia facts:

  • It was founded in 1996 by Dr. Cat (Felorin) and Talzhemir, with many other contributors.
  • In its heyday, it was called the largest online furry community (- wikifur) with tens of thousands of users. It was also one of the first freemium online games.
  • Dr. Cat (below): “In the 1990s, I feel like I was one of the first people to move, along with the rest of the fledgling new online games and MMO segment of the industry, from a vision of ‘Games as a Product’ to ‘Games as a Service’… Furcadia started out as one of the very first significant scale user created content games in the industry.”
  • A 2003 Gamespy article reviewed its part in indie game development, and placing as an award finalist at the Independent Games Festival.
  • In 2010, it earned a Guinness World Record for being the longest-running social MMO.
  • In 2012, Furcadia raised $106,835 in crowdfunding to develop a full-game overhaul called “Second Dreaming”.
  • Weird: years before My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic existed, Furcadia had an MLP environment that had Nazi Ponies vs. a Resistance, to fan regret.

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Lola Bunny fans are bustling about her design for Space Jam sequel — Q&A with a huge fan.

by Patch O'Furr

If you love bunnies, VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! From March 1-31, support furry creators.

I have to get something off my chest. I’ve never seen Space Jam. I’ll let others judge if it’s a “shoe commercial” and I’m not concerned about bunny bosoms. But this site honors all kinds of fans. If it stirs something in you, it’s worthy! Now the movie has an upcoming sequel and some talk about a redesigned Lola Bunny. It’s not just furries; there’s titters in the news from Entertainment Weekly to Newsweek.

Lola’s new design is “desexualized”, according to Space Jam: A New Legacy director Malcolm D. Lee.

“Lola was very sexualized” … “we reworked a lot of things, not only her look, like making sure she had an appropriate length on her shorts and was feminine without being objectified, but gave her a real voice. For us, it was, let’s ground her athletic prowess, her leadership skills, and make her as full a character as the others.”

For an interesting bit of story, Lola’s origin now includes Wonder Woman’s Amazonian homeland.

You might hear this is making debate or even complaints about PC culture run amok. I believe my friend’s comment that it’s “99% ironic” with people being nostalgic, or at most it’s making mountains out of molehills. But for your amusement, here’s one looney-tunes source.

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Protests in Poland “a premonition for what will happen” if LGBT rights are lost in the USA — Q&A with furry artist Jeanwoof who does charity for rights in Poland.

by Patch O'Furr

The 2020 U.S. election is in progress, the future is at stake, and a tipper sent me this story. “It may be a premonition of what will happen here if abortion and LGBTQ rights are suspended by the supreme court.”

Maybe you’re sick of relentless gushing doom about politics. Sorry I can’t make it stop with the fabulous power of furry news reporting. But I can make a story for furries in and out of the U.S., and help you think about protecting rights everywhere. This won’t just tell you to vote, it’s about using fandom power!

Soatok Dhole explains why it matters.

Politics? In My Fandom? 

Soatok says “The furry fandom – which you can think of as the largely queer sector of geek culture – has a problem with negative peace”; and it’s hurt by the Trump administration’s effort to overturn marriage equality plus 33 more steps to push anti-LGBT hate worldwide.

The problem is not just about Trump — it’s about ultraconservative attacks on rights everywhere. You can’t get peace from it by turning off the news, so to make better news, let’s meet a furry who does art charity to advance people’s rights in Poland.

Hi Jeanwoof, can you give a brief bio about yourself?

Hi, I’m a 26 year old woman living in Northern Poland. I’m very active in the fandom — drawing furry art for 6 years, and for 3 years I’ve been doing a small furry convention (Kungfur) with friends. I attend local conventions and sometimes you can see me at Eurofurence in the Dealers Den or Artist Alley. I’m a fursuiter too, but I don’t wear my suit as often as I want to.

by Jeanwoof

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Meet Unid, the only known furry from Sri Lanka.

by Patch O'Furr

There’s an island off the southern tip of India, with a small furry animal on it, looking out for who else may share the same fandom. Through the internet, other creatures reach across the ocean and an international fandom works its magic. They may not all speak the same language, but they can share the art and everything else that furry fans call theirs.

Previous stories here have found furries in places like Iran. Today, meet a furry from Sri Lanka. A species so rare, there may only be one. The story tip about Unid came from Zinger, who wanted to share a friend’s wish to singlehandedly bring the fandom to his country. In return, we can learn what it’s like to live there.

Furries contain multitudes. If a fandom is a Venn diagram of overlapping interests, it looks plaid. So let’s find out more of what Unid is into. Are there Sri Lankan nerds? If a con happened there, what would everyone eat, hear or see? How about a heavy metal show?

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Q&A with Finn, founder of the Fuzznet Music netlabel for furries.

by Patch O'Furr

“World’s first furry-centered, full-service music distribution netlabel.”

A new netlabel for furry music has been announced! When I think of a label, especially on the small indie side, I think of curation for a certain sound or scene. (Example: a Q&A is coming soon with a fur from Sri Lanka where I asked about Goa Trance.) Here’s one I’ve been enjoying: Numero Group is a reissue label. Imagine digging through thrift store junk and finding a weird one of a kind record that sounds amazing — that’s everything they put out. They specialize in the history of unsung niches, local scenes and their heroes. It makes richer music history than the well-worn stuff on classic rock channels.

Specialty and indie labels make diversity. With that in mind I talked to Finn.

A music style for furries? 

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Interview with a Sleestak, the scaly monster that stalks the streets of Portland!

by Patch O'Furr

Beware! Get scared! There’s a Sleestak on the street tonight!

This scaly, green, bipedal creature was originally from the 1970’s TV show Land of the Lost. (A live action children’s adventure show mixed with claymation animated dinosaurs, about a family trying to get home from an alternate universe.)

Through some dimensional portal, one Sleestak recently appeared in Portland, OR. He was then discovered by the news. Read a story about him from The Oregonian: The Portland Sleestak wanders the city for scares, smiles and general weirdness. Another from King5: Brent Marr pays tribute to a 70’s classic and reminds his hometown it’s fun to be weird.

I saw the news linked by Bawdy Storytelling. (A show for kinky stand-up performers, which often has furries like me.) Sadly, I must disappoint friends at Bawdy because the Sleestak is family-friendly and can’t go on stage with spicy stories. But he did answer a Q&A.

I was curious about the Sleestak’s inspirations, and why he appears on the street where you’d never expect a scaly creature. It reminds me of street fursuiting (my favorite thing.) Enjoy our chat about it.

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Q&A with Christopher Polt PhD., who teaches a Talking Animals course at Boston College (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

We’re back after Part 1 of the Q&A with Christopher Polt, PhD., from Boston College. His Twitter is full of art and animation history that welcomes furry fans.

Rate My Professor loves him.

(Dogpatch Press:) It was interesting that you mentioned teaching a course in talking animals. Tell me all about it! Since when, and how unique is that, and how is it being received? What sort of students are in it and what are they studying in general?

(Christopher Polt:) I love that course — the material is so fun and weird and meaningful. The basic question we ask is, “What are we doing when we speak by using animal voices, and what does that say about our attitudes towards humans, animals, and the lines we draw between them?” It’s also my chance to teach some cool, off-the-wall art and literature. We read Apuleius’ Golden Ass, which is a novel about a guy who accidentally turns himself into a donkey and goes on a journey through the Roman provinces (think The Emperor’s New Groove, but much sexier and more violent), and Nivardus’ Ysengrimus, which is the earliest major collection of stories about Reynard the fox, an archetypal animal trickster.

Sometimes I also take students on field trips to tie historical material we’re learning to lived experience. One of my favorites has been to a local pet cemetery. We spend a few days talking about how Greeks and Romans use animals to think about divinity, mortality, and the afterlife, and we look at epitaphs and funeral poems for dead pets, which are often written from the animal’s point of view. There’s a great example in the British Museum, which commemorates the life of a dog named Margarita (“Pearl” in Latin), who died while giving birth to puppies:

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1756-0101-1126

She talks about chasing other animals through the woods, how she used to nap on her humans’ laps and sleep in their bed, and how she barked a lot but never scared anyone. So after we read a range of things like that, we go to the pet cemetery and read modern grave markers, and we compare how people grieve for animals differently and what they choose to celebrate and memorialize about them. My favorite is this one for a cat named Useless:

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Q&A with Christopher Polt PhD., who teaches a Talking Animals course at Boston College (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

It wasn’t long ago that Furry Twitter found Christopher Polt, PhD. and his threads full of art and animation history that whole-heartedly welcome furries.

His content isn’t just catering to fandom — it goes deep into history in a fun and engaging way. But the parts with furry interest reminded me of another account profiled here before, Ancient Furries. I asked him if he wanted a brief “Great Accounts To Follow” article, and it led to a much more involved Q&A. It’s special to get such effort from a professor who handles lots of students and curriculum! Here’s Part 1, with Part 2 posting tomorrow.

(Dogpatch Press): I see you’re a Classicist and Assistant Professor at Boston College. That looks like a super active place (with beautiful architecture!) Can you talk about what it’s like to work there and what the job involves?

(Christopher Polt:) If you like Collegiate Gothic, we’ve got you covered! It’s a nice place to work — supportive colleagues, friendly and bright students, freedom to teach mostly what and how I want. Each semester I teach two or three courses, which are a mix of intro/intermediate ancient Greek or Latin, advanced seminars on Latin literature (esp. Roman poetry), and courses on ancient culture that don’t require knowing ancient languages (some examples: Roman spectacles; art and resistance under the early Empire; and “Beast Literature,” which is about talking animals in ancient and modern literature and film).

I also spend a lot of time on research and writing. My first book, which is coming out from Cambridge soon, is about how Romans in the 1st century BCE used theatrical comedy to think and talk about their everyday lives and relationships.

I’ll bet Covid has really affected everyone at colleges everywhere, what’s your story for that? You mentioned starting to tweet about Disney history a few months ago, is that using social media to maintain energy with your work that got disrupted by the pandemic?

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“Very surprised and very grateful”: fursuit maker Beauty of the Bass talks about a $14,000 sale.

by Patch O'Furr

Previously: Furries support independent art with $14,000 and $15,600 fursuit auctions at The Dealers Den.

A creepy-cute aesthetic

“I prefer to work on scary, creepy, odd, gory and crazy designs,” said UK-based fursuit maker Beauty of the Bass in her recent Dealers Den auction.

Ghatz, the suit shown here, doesn’t belong to the lucky winner — theirs is waiting to start — but this completed work can show why her talent earns a price as high as $14,000.

The Krampus-like aesthetic stands out in a crowd of technicolor fluff. Imagine basking in the spookiness in person, then being chased by this creature through delightfully twisted nightmares. The maker’s vision is detailed in her FAQ that pairs her with compatible clients.

(BotB) — Things I look for in a design and application:

  • A well written and thought out application form.
  • A clear reference of the character in question with a strong idea of concept and direction the client wishes me to go in.
  • On the other hand, I am looking for artistic liberty suits. These will be done on an ‘offer me a price’ basis.
  • Interesting, scary, gory, unique, tricky and extravagant designs will have more of a chance to go through.
  • I am wanting to do a belly suit, so will be looking for that opportunity!
  • WEREWOLVES. MYTHICAL CREATURES. DEMONS.
  • Silicone drool, skin and gore effects. This does not require lots of mold making, therefore I am more than happy to do this.
  • Willingness to go the extra mile for the extra effects and will be happy to push the boat out with me, as i’m wanting to push myself.
  • Unique species, uncommon species and hybrids.
  • Mutations, extra parts, double jaws, double faces, scars.
  • Long fur accents, manes and mohawks with the NFT fur upgrade.

It’s another example of unique vision seen in a 2017 story: Q&A with Kazul of Kazplay, first place winner for cosplay at Blizzcon. Kazul wanted to create a living illusion for her Hogger suit — to hide the human form and “look like he smelt like a wet, dirty dog” — and be more than a person wearing a rug.

(Kazul) — With all my work I strive to make convincing characters. When I hear people ask “how is it moving like that?” “How is a person inside that?” when I know that I’ve tricked their brain well enough that they can only see what is in front of them as a real creature, that’s when I win.

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The Fandom movie: Furry paws seize the media

by Patch O'Furr

Premiering JULY 3, 2020 at thefandomfilm.com.

When the media shows furries, do they get it right?

It’s a constant furry worry. In 2017 it was announced that CNN was making a show about them. Backlash rose about sensationalism, but few critics gave a fair shake to the producers of This Is Life with Lisa Ling. Then it came out and it was a flat-out advocacy piece on behalf of Furry“, said Joe Strike, a fan since the 1980’s who wrote a book that covers the subculture’s run-ins with bad media.

Joe Strike’s Furry Nation is the essential fandom history book.

Positive response didn’t satisfy every critic. Some asked why the 3 fans featured by CNN didn’t include more diverse people. But the show (with an asian-american woman journalist) got backlash while asking volunteers to raise their paws and be counted. That seems like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In answer to this, The Fandom is a documentary made by the fans. It features outstanding writers (like Joe), artists, animators, musicians, costume designers, event organizers and founders. It celebrates the roots with pro quality and appeal for outsiders who might not have given a fair look before.

For decades this subculture has thrived despite adversity. Bad media is one kind, but not the only kind. Some is internal. Some is homophobic. Some is happening right now with this screwy year. There’s even a villain to tell you about.

$10 million worth of trouble

Anthrocon is the 2nd largest furry convention, led by Uncle Kage (Dr. Sam Conway), the longstanding CEO and fandom public relations figure. It was due to bring $9.9 million to Pittsburgh’s economy in 2020. Now it’s among 70 furry cons canceled by COVID-19. The movie is launching anyways on the con’s dates, without opportunities that could have won distribution. (No film fests either.)

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