I went to a Furry convention. There’s really no need to beat around the bush, because I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I went into the den of the great evil! The big, bad, fursuited wolves! And found it to be no different than any other fandom, though I find preference to this than those who enjoy golfing, cars, and other conventions that happen around such mundane topics. I’m no Furry or even a Brony (much as my roommate will say otherwise, dammit, just stop), but I have enough geekdom/fandom/memes/etc. within me to understand that labels are bullshit. This Furry convention I went to is no different than any other convention I would otherwise enjoy.
OH!!! There’s a bunch of sexiness with animals going on! Sorry, not biting the bait of one “perversion” for another. Anime Central has its own bouts with sexiness, my favorite being the call outs of yaoi being sold, and fanart of the shirtless dwarves from the film adaptations of The Hobbit. If you look long enough you find perversion in anything, and while Furry DOES have it, it’s just a portion of the fandom. Anthropomorphic appreciation. That’s Furry fandom in a nutshell (to me at least), and if you enjoy fucking vampires you’re a fan as well, because they are undead bestial creatures. Cartoon animals! Almost everything in Dungeons & Dragons! There’s aspects of anthro in every fandom you enjoy, so Furry haters? Get over yourselves already!
But to the question already: why did I go to a Furry convention? I’ve been a follower of a fan of the fandom ever since I caught note of him from the Scientology protests we would attend. Viewed plenty of his convention summary videos to grow curious on the fun times he showed, and I think they were even my first views of how a convention could be fun. Furries showed me a convention could be fun! Who knew!? *ahem* We kept tabs with each other through the years, getting prompts to come to a con every so often, till I finally shrugged my shoulders and agreed to share a room through a new Furry con: Fur Squared.
It must be reminded I jumped in on going to the con while going through my suicidal depressive moments, which may sound like I made a reckless choice…and it may very well be. But in the end it turned out to be a good thing for me. I needed a time and place to just distance myself from the world I enveloped myself in, and a convention filled with sometimes alien things fit the bill. Also I was drunk through the entire thing. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t have some form of tipsy happening to me, and that may sound bad, but it was rather pleasant.
The weekend started rather scary. Showed up at the hotel with no contact to speak of, or directions to where the convention space was. Walked around aimlessly for a time, then got back to my car all depressed and started to vlog about how I felt I was had by sending money for a badge and a room for the weekend. Don’t bat an eye, it’s the madness of depression, it happens. Eventually got a text that my con buddies were on their way, and got a little more courage to walk around the hotel. Found registration, likely one of the earliest attendees that didn’t spend their Thursday night there, and actually planned my weekend before catching the beginnings of the official My Little Pony panel. No, not a Brony, just shut it roommate.
Left the Pony panel (heh) early because con buddies arrived, and the unpacking/drinking/socializing began. Met people I’ve only seen in or spoken of in video, and despite being walled within myself because of depression and being too gosh darn shy, I opened up and enjoyed all of them. Again, drunk through the convention, take from that what you will. What little stories I’ve gained there I say this tried and true advice: what happens at con, stays at con. Except what I say here, so let’s continue.
The biggest drawback to the convention had to have been the program guide, which was informative about all the panels and functions it had…just not very good at presenting all the times they were happening. Had to read through the entire program, note things I would likely appreciate with my limited knowledge of Teh Furry, and then piece it all together into an itinerary for the weekend. Granted, I would need to read the program about all the things anyway, because again I’m not a Furry and wouldn’t understand the happenings. The information still felt improperly presented, and was a chore to work things out. I assume the staff behind the printing understood this, and printed a separate time schedule of all the functions happening through con. Still required a degree of planning that didn’t really need to be there, but it at least worked.
In the end I managed to put something together that mostly focused on the gaming of the con, with an emphasis on a game called Ironclaw. I heard about it from former Internet reviewer Iron Liz, and her zealous seal of approval for the game mechanics, story, and other geekiness made want to play the game if the opportunity ever presented itself. So thank you Fur Squared for giving that chance to me. There were a few Ironclaw games happening through the con, so I had plenty of chances to play (even though I only got one in). Otherwise there were a few suggested panels and plenty of panels/games themed around…*sigh*…My Little Pony.
Alright, let’s address the MLP business, given it keeps coming up. I like the show, find it humorous, funny, cute, what have you, but I don’t consider those reasons to apply the Brony label to me (curse you labels!). But just liking it is enough for my roommate to sometimes poke fun at me, which is annoying because he’s trying to poke fun at all. I don’t care if people know I enjoy the show (or went to a Furry con, it seems). What gets me is implied disapproval of others, even if my roomie isn’t disapproving. Sort of like calling out, “NEEERD!!!” when in fact you are a nerd yourself. Funny and eye-rolling at first, but eye-rolling can become painful and dizzying with enough of it.
But all of that is beside the point. I selected so many My Little Pony functions because it was honestly the only thing I could connect with. Everything else was Furry standard entertainment, aka topics I had no idea what they were or didn’t want to be part of. Or just too gosh darn shy/not drunk enough to just jump into something. Always has been my problem, and I get better with time, but my depression seems to have taken back years worth of growth and triggers come seemingly out of nowhere. But moving along, because this tangent has gone on long enough.
I also attempted to get in a game of TOON, which supposedly had a very open ended interpretation of the rules and giving lots of freedom to player actions. The trick? You’re a cartoon character, and in a world that has plenty of Tex Avery vibes. So pretty much anything can happen at any time, and seeing how that played out could have helped with my own gaming, as I hoped with Ironclaw. Mind you, the only Ironclaw I got to felt incredible taxing, and the rules weren’t explained well…or I didn’t have enough assertiveness as is required for a one-shot convention game. And TOON didn’t get enough players either (or many of the planned games, for that matter), so I didn’t get the gaming I hoped. What I did get was Are You A Changeling.
Pretty much everyone knows about this game by now. Be it Werewolf or its original name Mafia, you played this party game and got frustrated every time you collectively voted out the wrong person, knowing full well one or more of your fellow players tricked you. The difference this time? It’s My Little Pony themed, with someone as a Changeling being the antagonist. And aside from the name changes and the MLP themed art, it played exactly the same.
The game started up when not enough people showed up for TOON, and the intended GM offered to get a game going. Though I wonder about that because we eventually got a large following interested in AYAC, and him being the seller of the cards seemed suspect, but I digress. As drunk as I was, I managed to enjoy others talking about their innocence, even if I blundered far too much when things came in my direction. Good to have finally had a chance at a social manipulation game, and I even bought myself a deck of AYAC so I could finally have my own version of the game. Never mind the fact the first and only time I brought it out, I was teased constantly and no one wanted to play, but as it goes.
And…I think that’s about as much as I’m capable of sharing at this time, without making this overlong and digging too hard into my head. But as is tradition with every convention function I’ve gone to, it’s time to share the advertisements, business cards, etc. I’ve come upon in my wandering. Fire the Capitalism Cannon!…*poof*…
Skrat Kangaroo – Found some green & black rubber wristbands with “SKRAT KANGAROO” etched around the band, which is the name of the fursona of Kiliankray. Just one of the many colorful suiters I saw during my stay. Check him out in motion via YouTube!
K0suna – One of the many NSFW you’ll find within the Furry fandom. Mind you, he’s a digital & concept artist by trade, and even understands web design. Throw some work at the fellow for a cookie.
Psycho Dragon Cat – Kiri Dasone the commission artist, who is more than willing to make art and even badges for those in the fandom.
Tinkerdarn – Owned by Robbin aka Crazi Corgi, is a small business dedicated to making specialty costumes and art commissions. Appears not to be updated since July 2014, which could just mean nothing big is happening. Throw some work at them to get em going again!
MLW – Ridiculous Cuticous. Feels like a proper description of the MLW’s work. Commissions are currently closed? Hopefully Work can be caught up upon. For now LOOK AT THE CUTE!!!
KYMA – Another commission digital art with works G – XXX rated. There appears to be a lot of those in the community. I like that.
Swine Hound – Website shared in advertisement redirected to a Tumblr…guess things didn’t work out there? Appears they are still in the business of custom leatherwork, for which they make a variety of products. Mostly wolf-like fetish masks, by the looks of it, but a variety all the same.
Vintage Mutt Studio – Umbrella name for the works of Rhia, freelance digital/traditional media artist. Can’t really see their work because Furaffinity wants me to have a registered account. Not a Furry, so that isn’t happening. BUT!!! Feel free to pester the Twitter I found for some shares. Maybe that will work?
Foxtrot Studios – Photography Services for the Furry fandom! Because media of this nature is awesome.
Sombra Studio – Illustration and character designer Ashley Bunn has a style that’s colorful and cartoonish. And I’m wanting more of it. Throw your energy into her so she keeps at it!
Rabbit Valley – A publishing/distribution company that specializes in anthropomorphic artwork, books, novels, comics, fanzines, games, art portfolios…quite ridiculous the variety of stock there is to see here. And they are putting up new stock every week. So yeah, definitely something for you if you look long enogh.
Furoticon – Despite the spelling, it’s not a Furry convention but an adult Furry trading card game. Think Magic: The Gathering but with sexual acts you use against your opponent to get them to orgasm. I ALMOST caved in and bought it for the LOLs, especially after the giant sales pitch the vendor gave me. In the end, it’s about having a game that’s designed well, coupled with good humor and writing with the cards themselves. If the game has that, does it matter if it’s game about Furry sex? Probably, but I’m still curious.
Cutie Corral – Fans of My Little Pony likely know all about this Etsy store: hand-made fanart, plushies, hoodies, hats, the ability to have custom OCs made into items…I wonder how large their workload is because of that last bit?
Ziggo – Artist with collection of works: Pixel/Traditional/Digital badges, Kandi/Rave necklaces, reference sheets, animation…and I’m fairly certain this is the artist I bought a rainbow Perler Bead paw print for a friend of mine. As such, throw your money at her! Taste the rainbow!
Anime Milwaukee/Lemonbrat – This was a dual advertisement card, which clearly showed that Corey Wood was the Convention Chair of Anime Milwaukee (boss MKE con I never got a go to) and Business Manager of Lemonbrat (handmade goods, including customizable animal hoodies, plushies, and rave gear). Huh…Corey is pretty awesome. I dig it.
Novus Magic – Would like to share a website dedicated to the game directly, but it’s down because reasons? Link is otherwise to the next closest thing, which is the FP Page of Crazy Idea Workshop. Novus Magic is a smartphone/tablet augmented reality game that has you casting spells against others playing with you. On what this means and looks like, have a jump onto CIW’s YouTube. I’m going to assume the game is still in development despite the lack of proper website, and because the FB Page is still talking of recent ventures. So be on the lookout for this.
Kitsune: of Foxes & Fools – This is a Kickstarter funded card game that’s made the advertising rounds at conventions for over a year before I saw it at Fur Squared. That I’m showing it again is redundant, but I’m uncaring. Next item please!
Fur Reality – Not much on the website, I know, but the advertisement was rocking. Claiming itself to be called swag-con, Fur Reality was touted as being an immerse con experience with an evolving story, going in on it’s second year back in 2014, and was set to launch the game Assimilation…no, I don’t know where info can be found. Lazy? Yes! Oh, and did I mention this con was created/sponsored by Ringtail Cafe Production? Speaking of them…
Ringtail Cafe Productions – Publishing company with plenty of comics to appreciate. One of them being The Confectionaries, which told the tory of animals which were actually candies. Or something. I don’t know, it sounded cute and awesome. I have good affection for these folk, given I bought discontinued caps from them and was given playing cards and posters as swag. Noice.
DANG! That’s Good – No advertisement, but saw someone drinking this and had to have one of my own. I’ve failed thus far. ROAD TRIP NEEDED NOOOW!!!
Stevens Point Brewery – Their Orange Cream soda. Another one of those things I need to get NOOOW!!!
Brotherwise Games – Saw Boss Monster being played in the game room. I’ve yet to play Boss Monster…what’s wrong with me?
Cutie Corral/Ponyville Ciderfest – Another dual card, filled with Rainbowfied Energy. Bringing the Pony Power to Milwaukee? Yes! Brony bashing be damned. No, really, my friends hated on this convention a lot during a visit. Don’t know why, but it’s all good. Not all can handle the Bro Pony business with calm.
Furry Migration – Furry convention ALL IN YOUR FACE!!! Why am I saying that? No reason…
Green Brier Games – Twas a large three game promo, showing Heavy Steam, Zpocalypse, and Ninja Dice. I like games.
Picklejuice – Artist had a collection of hand folded comics littered throughout the convention, and I made sure to find every one. Gotta catch ’em all! A total of four comics were found, all dealing with the fetish of transformation. It’s a thing.
Fur Squared 2015 is incoming. Tomorrow, in fact, and I’m horrible at advertising because of this. I’m going again, and hopefully appreciating the con a little better, as I tend to do every year of ACen (or used to). That or just be drunk through the whole of it again, maybe even a little more so now that I’ve gotten my feet wet. I don’t know. At the very least challenge myself to do something new, like I do/did for ACen. How I came into a body pillow, and dressed fabulously in 2013…and still don’t have any pictures of, and I don’t understand how/why.
But back to Fur Squared 2015, looking forward to what good things may come from it. And may I be ready, because I’m needing another care free weekend. Refresh me, oh Furries of Milwaukee!
Tagged: ACen, Anime, Annual Report, Convention, Depression, Dungeons & Dragons, Fear, Food, Happiness, Memories, Milwaukee, Money, Music, My Little Pony, Review, Sex, Social, Tabletop Gaming, TGWTG, Therapy, Video Games, Work, YouTube