Some New Links Over on the Right —>

You may have noticed that the links list has expanded. Admittedly, these aren’t all of the blogs I follow, but these are ones that have reached “ascendancy” to blogroll here at Cirsova.

The Belle Jar – While I often find myself either in disagreement or, at best, hesitant agreement with the author of this blog, her writing is always thought provoking.  I mean, that Strawman she’s attacking in her last post sounds like a real asshole!

The Book Wars – This is probably one of my new favorite blogs. Even if you’re like me and unfamiliar with today’s world of YA literature, these posts are always amusing and insightful, though I’d like to see their Covers Wars be a little more along the lines of Good Show, Sir.

Dyson’s Dodecahedron – I’ve been following Dyson forever but hadn’t linked. I don’t know how useful the maps he posts are, but they sure are neat to look at!

Swords & Dorkery – It’s almost a crime that I haven’t had this in my blogroll for how long I’ve been following it. It’s been long overdue, Mike.

A Toast to Dragons – Same with Swords & Dorkery, totally a crime that this hasn’t been added yet. Matt’s all over the place with his blog, reviewing books, reviewing movies, writing about setting and worldbuilding, and, of course, promoting his own published works, so somewhere in there you’re bound to find something of interest.

Thulean Perspective – I originally had been hesitant to add the link, as it was not gaming related, but this website has delivered a lot of traffic to Cirsova, so the least I can do is return the favor. Though Varg and I probably do not see eye to eye on a lot of things (and you may not either), I’ve found him to be incredibly affable, as most people who are fans of history and games are.

What’s Your Tag – I can’t always read this blog, since they limit post length shown in the reader and they’re blocked by my webfilter at work, but they’re the only video gaming blog I regularly follow. Imagine a smaller and less gross version of Penny Arcade with less baggage.

20 responses to “Some New Links Over on the Right —>

    • They’ve got comics about video games over at What’s Your Tag (like how PA has angled itself, it’s comic + blog + podcast + videos + discussion), but none of them are over-the-top offensive or oversexual the way a lot of PA’s are. As for baggage, there have been several big, highly publicized incidents, such to the point where anytime PA comes up, those incidents are so worthy of note that people feel they simply MUST be brought up for the sake of context. “Man, remember that time they did/said that really offensive thing!?”

      • Got’cha. Glad I stayed clear of them. The only comment I ever give about PA is, “sometimes I read a comic someone else has shared.”

        I’ll have to check these out. I remember you’ve mentioned Varg before…? I remember something about Kickstarter.


      • …not to say that they don’t have some dirty or adult humor. Maybe it’s a reflection on video gaming sites in general that it’s okay if it doesn’t cross this or that line? If anything, it’s less disingenuous than Escapist, mixing up the overly-socially-concerned editorializing with a lot of stuff for dude-bros.

        As for Varg, he’s something of a character… He’s: one of the fathers of black metal (Burzum), an avowed pagan nationalist, a game designer, and a regular commentor over here (usually on my elderscrolls & weapons posts). I have my qualms with a lot of aspects of his philosophy (of all the things making my life miserable, i’m not really sure that Zionism is one of them), but it’s interesting to see his thoughts on ancient paganism, survivalism, and rediscovery of ancient survival techniques. And despite everything I’d read about him before I signed up to playtest his RPG, he seems like a pretty nice guy or has been to me, anyway.

      • Yeah. That probably summarizes my views on “video game humor,” which is probably closer to “video game fan humor as shared by the lowest common denominator”… lines crossed and whatnot.

        On the one hand, video game humor has provided me with an outlet for some of my most subversive tastes in humor — that, Heathers, Lord of War, Thank You For Smoking, A Fish Called Wanda, and few others…

        …But also some of the most bland and yet offensive humor. Like — at least the most radical and offensive political opinions can be mistaken for satire, but video game humor… not so much.

        Welp, there’s a tangent and a half.

        I’ll have to check out “What’s Your Tag,” because webcomics. 🙂


      • I think a lot of times Video game humor gets, or thinks it can get a pass, because “Dude, it’s video games!”

        Man, 6 minute videos of Halo multiplayer corpse humping? Subversive!

        I love video games, but really hate video game culture. There is a guy at the local game meet ups who wears a Penny Arcade T-shirt sometimes. I am sad because he acts exactly like the internet would have you believe a dude wearing a Penny Arcade T-shirt would act.

      • I wish I could pretend I don’t believe you, but I’ve met Beer-And-Hos Bro Gamer, Comic Book Shop Guy, Unwashed Anime Fanatic (male and female varieties), and the Big Bearded Grognard (among other RPG stereotypes), so it only saddens me to know that other such stereotypes exist IRL.

        I didn’t really believe in Munchkins (not really) until my SLC group picked one up. The saddest thing is he’s a nice guy…

        I follow Extra Credits (that reminds me I should add them to my blog roll…) since most of what they have to say about video game design applies equally — and in some cases MORE — to tabletop game design. Sometimes their always-positive attitude just bugs me though and I have to take a break.


  1. On a totally unrelated note, I really have to thank you for giving that extra push to get me poking around ES lore. I would *never* have read the in-universe books in-game — I still only read them on UESP — but it’s been cool actually understanding some of what’s going on “behind the scenes” in the series.

    It’s given me an interesting perspective of the lore following it *backward* through titles. I imagine a lot of the older games’ lore is taken for granted, but I remember thinking it tacky when Skyrim referred to “the Oblivion Crisis,” and here I’m playing Oblivion and the NPCs are calling it *exactly* that.

    Is it still tacky? Yeah, kinda. But it’s also nice for a game (any game!) to (ever) acknowledge other games (any!) in its series (ever!!!).


    • Hey, no problem! And I’m happy that I’ve been able to contribute to your project, even just so far as pointing you in new directions and offering suggestions.

      Any lore that made it from Daggerfall into Morrowind is generally taken into account (though I’m miffed that they may have retconned it to where Nightingale and Tharn aren’t the same person). One of the running themes introduced in Morrowind is the subjectivity of history and historical accounts, especially when looked at through the lens of religion. So no account given is 100% reliably accurate.

      For a real mind-bender, read Warp in the West and check out the alternate endings of Daggerfall; why have 1 canonical ending to your game when all 8 of them can be canonical?

      • Have I shared my rant about the problems of making the hero from Skyrim Dragonborn? ‘Cause that one really made my head spin after reading and connecting bits of lore.


      • Since I haven’t played Skyrim, I can’t be sure if the comparison holds, but in the case of Morrowind, while the player must assume the role of the Nerevarine, at no point is your status as the reincarnation of a dark elven general messiah absolutely confirmed or denied. Yes, you meet the criteria to fulfill the prophecy because you pieced them together or were told what you needed to do and busted your ass to do it, yes, you bring about the end of the tribunal and the 6th house as prophecied (if you actually complete the main quest, which there is no guarantee that a player will), but the three who would (or probably should) know for sure if you were or were not the reincarnation of Nerevar never tell you one way or the other. Vivec gives you a few different books and will neither confirm or deny anything (including his role in his friend’s murder), Azura is just happy that a half-dozen millenia old revenge scheme is finally going to come to fruition, and, prior to the final showdown, Dagoth Ur’s respect is won by players who acknowledge that they’re not the reincarnation of Nerevar but are going to kick his ass anyway.

      • Lol, I got lost in the nested comments and replied to my own. Anyway, that’s the short version of the rant. I think there was more lead-up to it than that, but it basically amounts to, “hey scary politics are cool as long as I’m not directly involved and… oh, that’s an ugly parallel to draw.”


      • UGH. Somehow missed info about Numidium the first couple times I read about the Dwemer. This Tiber Septim fellow only gets more terrifying the more I learn about him.

        Now I REALLY need to find the time and get around to playing… Morrowind… and Daggerfall. Somehow. >_<


      • My advice on Morrowind, get the PC version. I have the console version, and nothing will fix it, nothing will make it work better, nothing will keep me from crashing because the wealth of vvardenfell litters the streets like an overturned shopping cart of priceless gee-gaws. And be patient with it. It’s a game that rewards patience, once you get past the godawful fragility and incompetence of low level characters.

        You are meant to make liberal use of cheats in Daggerfall. It is fun, but so broken you cannot not cheat. Getting out of the first dungeon will feel like a great accomplishment; you will feel awesome. You don’t need to cheat on every dungeon, but sometimes you will be very sad while you are on the 17th sub-basement beneath Old Joe’s Farmhouse looking for the goblin that buggared the inkeeper’s cows and you step through a teleporter that takes you to a part of the dungeon that is completely inaccessible from the rest of the subterrain.

    • Skyrim’s hero as Dragonborn is pretty hard to deny, since the criterion is “can absorb dragon souls and use shouts.” If I understand correctly, one of the expansions features as its Big Bad the FIRST Dragonborn who takes issue with the PC… I don’t know, being a Dragonborn or something.

      So, I didn’t realize this until after reading “The Real Barenziah.” In the story, Barenziah has an affair with old Tiber Septim. Cool? Yeah, I guess that’s cool. She’s a Dark Elf, and that’s sexy I guess. But he knocks her up and to protect his heirs, orders her child aborted. That politics for you.

      Now, I get that apotheosis of its PCs is a mainstay of the ES series, and Skyrim is no different. I mean, the Oblivion PC took Sheogorath’s place and that’s all well and good… now the Skyrim PC is a badass Dragonborn just like old Tiber Septim… wait. Emperor Baby-Killer? Suddenly… Not cool.

      Can I choose to *not* be a Dragonborn?


      • Most important figures in ES history are certifiably crappy dudes. I don’t want to say he had it coming, but Uriel Septim IV totally had it coming. Resurrecting ancient Dwarven Doom Golems? Subverting the Nobility and Religion in provinces all over the empire? It’s astounding he lasted as long as he did.

        I forget which Septim it was who betrayed the Underking. Probably Tiber. One of the twists in Daggerfall was that the scary lich-king death god was actually the good guy and was able to finally fix all of what the emperors managed to screw up while mucking around with ancient god powers.

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