Morton Fox (mortonfox) wrote,
Morton Fox

FA United 2019

Last weekend was FA United 2019 in Northern Virginia. That was my fourth and last furry convention for the year. It'll be hard to cut one convention next year to make room for a new one because each convention had a strength or niche of its own. In the case of FAU, it was games and gastronomical adventures.

The most interesting panel to me was the virtual reality panel. After a demo by the panelists, the audience got to take turns trying a Vive VR headset. The game I played was Richie's Plank Experience. From what I heard, this is a game often used to show newcomers the possibilities of VR. In this game, you take an elevator 80 floors up. When the elevator door opens, all you see is a wooden plank, sticking straight out into the air, with a cake at the end. Then you have to walk out on the plank, get the cake, and return to the elevator. It's scary if you're afraid of heights. Interestingly, I didn't experience any dizziness or vertigo playing this game. Despite what I saw, my mind and body could tell it wasn't real. So I went to the end of the plank, got the cake, and took the elevator back to street level and that was the full plank experience.

I also played on the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator. In the panel room, we had six laptops networked together. Each laptop showed a screen of controls for a particular role on the spaceship bridge, e.g. the science officer had a screen for checking and scanning various objects on the map. I was the engineer, so I had controls for directing power to various systems (weapons, shields, engine, etc) on the ship. There was also one screen on the projector for the ship captain. The game was a lot like Star Trek. There were space anomalies that we had to check and battles with enemies. We did an easy mission first and then a harder one. In the harder mission, the spaceship nearly got eaten by a space dragon, which was hilarious.

The Board Game Tournament was a lot of fun too. We had a bunch of games (tiddlywinks, Liar's Dice, Sorry, Scattergories, and LCR) in the room. We had five minutes to play each game before moving on to the next game. Scoring was based on progress in the game, regardless of whether we finished. Because of the variety of games, we needed luck, skill, and a combination of both. When we were done, I found that I was actually only one point short of 3rd place, which was a lot better than I thought I would do.

The food panels are the weirdest parts of FAU but potentially the most intriguing for those who are curious. One of those I attended was the panel about edible bugs. There were packages of dried crickets in a variety of flavors to try. We also had prepackaged worms and beetles. I thought the salt & vinegar crickets were the best of the lot because of the flavor. For the most part, eating bugs isn't that bad. The worst part of it was the insect shells. Tiny bits of cricket shell got stuck between my teeth and that was ugh. So I think these would be much better if the shells were removed beforehand.

The other food panel I went to was the hot sauce tasting panel. We had a lineup of Hot Ones hot sauces from mild to extremely hot. The mild ones were not bad at all but when I tried a bit of Hell Fire Detroit, which was in the middle of the range, I sneezed and a bit of that got into my nose. So I decided that was my limit.

So I had a great time at FAU. It's not the biggest convention, nor does it have the most panels and events, but it definitely offers some unique experiences.
Tags: convention, fa united, furry, northern virginia

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