The Vinca

Posted by brilokuloj on Apr 13, 2024

As a new Furcadia player circa 2001-ish, Sippy’s journey would begin thusly:

A set of stairs downward, suspended in the clouds

Wow. That’s a bleak way to introduce your virtual world, isn’t it?

I mean, what does this imply? The descent downward is hallowed across our storytelling canon as a symbol of descent into madness, from Dante’s Inferno to, uh, all those scenes that gave me nightmares from All Dogs Go to Heaven.

There’s only one place to go.


The Vinca

The Vinca, described below.

Welcome to The Vinca: a plain, beige room suspended in the clouds, with 5 paths to choose from.

This exposes an interesting demonstration of the limitations of their graphical system; the Vinca has 5 exits spread across 4 corners, leaving a noticeable gap at the bottom of the map. How hard would it have been to make it a proper pentagon? (OK, probably actually pretty hard.)

The intentions of each location are stated quite clearly on the text around the portals. How much did these intents actually hold up? I’ll get to it in time, but for now, let’s just say… they didn’t.

I’m aware it seems a little hokey to describe these things in religious terms – it probably sounds like I’m getting a little too into presenting this as an online cult. But that’s exactly how the Vinca is presented in the lore! Within the canon, “The Vinca” actually refers to the trail left by the Dragon (the setting’s creator deity) flying in the shape of a vinca flower. The map known as the Vinca is actually the Vinca’s Palace, built in the middle of that flight path and placed upon white clouds.

A snippet, not intended to be read, of the Bible-esque Furcadian creation myth.

Seriously, they have a fictional Genesis-style creation myth and everything.

Let me make it absolutely clear I don’t think there’s anything sinister about writing your own furry religion for funsies, or else I’d have to take half of my personal writing out back and shoot it. But Furcadia was an online community where cuckoo spiritual beliefs and mainstream Christianity congealed together into a dense soup, something that I was impacted very hard by, and it’s just plain funny to me how apt it is.

And seriously, they do lean into it:

We use our Vinca symbol like Disney uses the Mickey Mouse ears. Be sure to look around the website and main maps for signs of the Vinca!

But what is the Vinca?

This is going to be a boring article on that front, I won’t lie, because it’s a fucking box. But there ARE things to be said about that.

So the Dragon (this setting’s God) has children, named the Primes. These children are supposedly not deities, but nevertheless created concepts like Time and Space, and the palace itself. It’s for this reason I’m willing to accept that the Vinca has no sitting areas – they’re supposedly not demigods, they don’t need to sit.

But if this is the center of the setting, where every furry passes through to get from Point A to Point B, then why on Earth couldn’t they have made it just a little bit more hospitable?

Well, you see, there’s a legitimately good reason the Vinca is so genuinely liminal, and that’s because this is because the Vinca is also the place that naughty furries go.

In the wonderful world of Furcadia, it’s typical that you will need to remove a troublemaker from your personal map. For example, if someone has made a bot that does nothing but make a beeline to your map and stand in the most concentrated area spamming the word “BUTTS” every minute, you will probably want that person to leave. But if you kick – sorry, ‘eject’ – them, where do they go? A mere player can’t be expected to have the power to kick a fellow player from the entire game. So they go to the Vinca.

Oh, by the way, it took a decade for Furcadia to add the ability to ban specific players from your map. Before that, you’d just have to keep kicking them over and over. So the Vinca was often full of repeat offenders.

That means that the very first place a newly-born, not-yet-traumatized furry will be subjected to on their Furcadian journey… was Furry Hell.

Redesigns

I don’t think I will be covering any of the Second Dreaming updates (late 2010s onward). I could give you plenty of excuses: it’s not relevant to Sippy’s journey, it was collaborated on by other artists so the intent was diluted, etc. But truthfully it’s just because, even though I have all this crap on my hard drive already, I simply cannot bring myself to look at the modern state of the game. Reinstalling it feels too close to potentially playing it and then I will be depressed.

The Vinca did get an update within my time playing, though.

The New Vinca, now slightly larger with seats and trees.

See, it actually did add the seating areas and vegetation I thought it needed! But at this point the Vinca was already established as a place that you did not hang out in, you simply picked a better map to go to and got the fuck out of Furry Jail.

Most interestingly, there are two maps missing from the Vinca: Allegria Island and Furrabian Nights. Yet both of those maps made up the bulk of the playerbase by far. The latter of those has a good reason for not being here (we’ll get to that), but the former is baffling – Allegria Island was practically the main map of the game. And it’s not like you couldn’t access it altogether, but you either had to select it through the map warps tab on the game client, or hunt down a warp within one of the other main maps.

Also, the Vinca is literally fucking cross-shaped now. So there’s that.

Sippy saying "Da Vinca", as a reference to the Da Vinki twins meme

Next Up: Sippy tries to make friends!

Tagged: furcadia