Furcadia (and perhaps other old MMOs?)
I just read this article by a certain Blake P. over at the VRV blog about the life, rebirth, and long death of Furcadia, an ancient MMO I played a little bit in the late 90s.
Amusingly, I knew very, very little about furry culture at the time and didn't really understand that I was participating in something called a furry subculture back then. It was merely the only free graphical MMO I was aware of. I was very attracted to it because of its world-building/uploading features (and the fact it worked okay with my 56k modem). The ability to create colorful, navigable fantasy mini-worlds and houses that would be visitable by other players in real-time was the realization of a dream for me.
It's interesting to see that the community still exists twenty years later, though it's becoming ever more the ghost town. Some people have apparently maintained a continual and frequent presence for basically all 22 years of the game's existence!
Personally, I never got that deep into it. I never forged any real lasting friendships with other users, and the only one I really talked to much in-game was a real-life friend I knew in high school, who I believe was also mostly interested in building interesting-looking fantasy spaces.
It's a pretty niche space, ultimately. Anyway, thought that would be interesting for this forum!
I meant to reply to this much earlier! Sorry!
I actually had a very similar experience with Furcadia when it came out - as I recall, it came up in an IRC channel I frequented, and so I gave it a shot with a few online friends. I remember being impressed at seeing a graphical world you could inhabit with other people and build your own part of, and vaguely confused that someone somewhere could possibly be running a server that hosted everybody, for free.
I went back once or twice on my own but kind of bounced off it pretty quickly - none of my friends continued using it, and I was more interested in it as a space for doing things with people I already knew than meeting it on its own terms and meeting people there. It just seemed so big and daunting!
Very interesting to read more about it, for sure. Thanks for posting it!
I tried to go on furryMUCK once but I was too nervous around people I didn't know and now I'm in a private discord server of a subgroup that started in furryMUCK... thankfully not as nervous but we're not obligated to do the whole rolpeplay thing that was expected in the MUCK so... I feel more comfortable not wearing the mask! Furry culture...is strange... beautiful.