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.
- 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.