Fury of the furry fandom

Amiga aficionado, freelance illustrator and animator, Eric W. Schwartz, and his anthropomorphic furry mammals have been inextricably linked with the Amiga ever since 1989. This was the year we were first introduced to a shockingly topless (gasp!) Amy the Squirrel through Eric’s Movie-Setter-propelled animations, enjoying their inaugural appearance on a number of Fred Fish shareware and freeware collection disks, before going on to become the Amiga’s unofficial mascot.

While Eric may have popularised the ‘furry fandom’ concept amongst Amiga enthusiasts, he wasn’t in fact its progenitor. More than merely an animation style – taken to its limits – it’s actually considered a lifestyle choice or subculture. Dating back to 1983, furry fandom can be defined as “the organized appreciation and dissemination of art and prose regarding ‘Furries’, or fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters”.

Really though, anyone who has derived pleasure from a Disney cartoon or one of Aesop’s Fables would be entitled to join the club, even if they don’t necessarily feel erotically stimulated by the artwork (yes, that’s a significant part of it for many).

On the flip side is the anti-furry camp who dedicate their downtime to harassing fur fans for sport, many of whom unsurprisingly choose to remain anonymous, or at least distance themselves from the sexual aspects of the pastime for fear of reprisals. I can totally empathise with their plight. When I hooked up with Roger Rabbit…

Nevertheless, one notable advocate from the Amiga cosmos is Peter Hajba, ex-Future Crew demoscene coder and former contributor to the ‘Squeaky Clean Furry Archive’ (aka Yerf).

Given the unshakable Amiga connection, you’d imagine there would be a profusion of furry-inspired games for the platform. Aside from the 1994 adventure game, ‘Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb’ developed by The Dreamers Guild, and Eurocom’s ‘Brutal: Paws of Fury’, also released in 1994, I’m not aware of any other high profile examples. Does Titus the Fox, Vixen (aka She-Fox), Mr Nutz, and International Ninja Rabbits count?

Eric’s name is synonymous with the craze, though other talented artists have played their part too. Canadian professional animator, Andrew Powell for instance (who is currently working as Technical Director on ‘The Cat In The Hat’), whipped up a hand-drawn ‘Furry Female’ calendar back in 1997, which was published using an Amiga 4000 and made available via mail order for $20. As a gratuity for early birds, he even signed the first 30 copies.

You won’t find it online now, but Andy does have a Devart account where you can peruse his more recent work. Delightfully off-beat it is too!

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