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A Meditation on Beards [guest blog]

A Meditation on Beards [guest blog]

  02:19:30 pm, by Cactus   , 765 words  
Viewed 23106 times since 13/12/09
Categories: Welcome

It's time for another guest blogs, gents. This entry, as before, by Forum-goer r. Thanks for the thought-provoking and hilarious entry.

You know, I think the Elder Scrolls games have to be the least beard-centric fantasy games ever made. And I honestly have to wonder why.

Computer games are meant to be a form of escapism, and one has to remember that most people are in a position where they either don't want a beard or it would be socially unacceptable to grow one (if you work with children, are a woman, or ginger, for example). I have a fine crop of face fungus myself, but I'm in a folk band so it's not so much a decision as a duty. And, of course, I often find myself on the receiving end of looks from strangers who are presuming (often rightly) that because I have a beard I have adopted a certain lifestyle choice. I am of course in a minority. Most men are happy to let their stubble grow a bit, then shave it into a funny shape in front of the mirror so they can see what they look like with a Hitler moustache or Colin Meloy's sideburns, then shave it off completely and enter the Real World.

By this reasoning, every computer game should include some form of facial hair. If it's presenting a means of escaping reality, surely all games should make it very easy to have a bit of a chinstrap going on? Not the Elder Scrolls series, apparently.

As usual, it's Oblivion that does it the worst. One area where I will concede that Oblivion has one up over Morrowind is in its use of magic, and it is actually possible to play a purely magic-based character without having to exploit glitches all the time. So, I ask you, why can't you make a character that looks like a proper wizard? Long grey hair can be achieved fairly easily, but the counterpart Gandalf beard cannot. I've always imagined it would be quite a laugh to make Jesus in Oblivion, donning a white monk robe and some sandals, duplicating bread and wine, walking on water and healing people, but as we know, Jesus had quite an impressive beard going on. So, unfortunately, it's not possible to replicate the Nazarene in Oblivion terms. It's not possible, in fact, to get any form of facial hair bar some designer stubble, growing which seems to have the unfortunate side-effect of causing chapped lips and severe anaemia in your character. Even the Nords, who are typically very follically blessed, bear more of a resemblance to the Australian rugby squad (and that's just the women).

Morrowind will allow you to have a proper beard, but only in some cases. You really have to be a Nord if you want a beard, unless all you want is a goatee or Fargoth's blonde shower curtain. I have actually played a Nord monk before, which makes about as much sense as NASA building a diesel Space Shuttle or Lurpak branching out into microwaves. But, you can have long hair and a beard as a Nord (come to think of it, you can make Jesus as a Nord). Hence, I have had quite a few Nord characters. My bold and slightly rakish knight was a Nord. I wanted an Imperial but Imperials apparently aren't allowed to have the Aragorn-esque arty stubble I was after.

And - get this - the two most magicka-geared races, the Bretons and the High Elves, can't have beards at all. It's widely known that any male practitioner of magic must have a beard, whether it's a billowing Dumbeldore-esque setup or a platted warlock goatee. My Altmer wizard had some mean magical abilities, a proud auburn mane of hair and the kind of sartorial elegance that only a senior mage can have, pairing Goldbrand with the Expensive blue and gold robe. But, of course, a beard would have just completed the whole image. I am glad to see, however, that the Dwarves, who are a famously hirsute people, may only be represented in ghost form but the ghosts have beards.

When the next Elder Scrolls game comes out, I don't care where it's set, or what the storyline is, or that getting Joe Pasquale to voice the bad guy may not necessarily have been the best decision, or if the Relentless Levelling Of Everything from Oblivion is still there, I just want to be able to have a beard. Remember - a man without a beard is about as appealing as a woman with one.



Comment from: The Entire city of Boston [Visitor]  
The Entire city of Boston

I can, without prevarication or any sort of bias, say your mostly unevidenced “justified” hatred towards Oblivion comes foreward anytime the topic of Elder Scrolls is presented, and with what little right I have, can also say with honesty that you’re a damned child about it. Bethesda is not your daddy, and until your realize your opinion that you seem to have common with many others is likely otiose to their work you won’t stop complaining over it. Unlikely you will care of my opinion however, or revisit this anathema of yours, save at gunpoint. Seems, in my limited perception of your mind, a game you hate dictates any conversation over what seems to be a significant passion of yours. Identify this as “flaming” because it’s in disagreement of your attitude, I really don’t give a shit. I’m a lurker, and the way you act is much too allusion to you being a relatively eloquent child who’s daddy didn’t buy you that super-perfect bike you’ve always wanted. Eschewing an entire company and their qualities due to the new variations in a novel game shouldn’t make you a hero, just an enthusiast of your freedom to be an asshole.

14/12/09 @ 10:37 pm
Comment from: r (author) [Visitor]
r (author)

You’re nice. Can I be your friend? Are you the same humourless zealot who commented on my other post? You seem to be very bad at realising a joke. What do you think is more likely - I am writing something that is strictly tongue-in-cheek and which people will (hopefully) find entertaining, or I am genuinely writing off two extremely good games and getting my knickers in a twist because certain characters can’t have beards?

As for this - “I’m a lurker, and the way you act is much too allusion to you being a relatively eloquent child who’s daddy didn’t buy you that super-perfect bike you’ve always wanted” - Are you for real? Furthermore, if I hated the Elder Scrolls games that much would I have racked up 3000 posts on a forum about them? Would I be writing a blog about them? Would I be writing fanfictions about them?

You say you’re a lurker. Please keep it that way. If you ever join the forum with this attitude you won’t be very popular there. And assuming you are the same person from my other post, you may be interested to know that I have decided to write a few more blog entries explaining why I think Morrowind is better than Oblivion just to annoy you, because these comments are quite funny really.

15/12/09 @ 09:36 am
Comment from: Dobablo [Visitor]

Beards are a sign of the Mad God, and only a madman or lunatic would permit the fungus of Sheogorath grow on their face.

15/12/09 @ 09:56 am
Comment from: m4nyt1mes [Visitor]

r moves bishop to c4… checkmate.

19/12/09 @ 03:53 pm

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