Notes from the Kraken: October

In All, Notes by David

Welcome again to We Have Always Live the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this month’s posting schedule, but first here are some thoughts.

So the SNES Classic is here, and Nintendo’s latest attempt at nostalgia looks to be a smashing success, and at least a somewhat better planned one at that. Sure, Nintendo still hasn’t made enough of these consoles, but unlike the Hunger Games that was getting the NES Classic (which was even more of a nostalgia grab, because let’s just say none of those games have aged particularly well), it seems like that far more people were able to get an SNES Classic if they wanted one and were willing to put in a little effort. (Well, for now… It remains to be seen what will happen with these after the initial first day hype, but it doesn’t look like these are destined to triple in price like its predecessor.) This is a good thing, seeing as every single game on the SNES Classic is, well, a classic, and the cost of getting all of these games legally, digitally, or dear God, physically (Earthbound alone costs at least double the price of the SNES Classic) makes this a phenomenal deal. The console is a lovely walk down memory lane and a great way to show a new generation some of the great games of years past.

Breathe in that beautiful nostalgia.

Still, this console does beg the question of why nostalgia is selling so well right now in video games. It would be one thing if we were in the PS3/XBox 360/Wii generation of systems, which all left much to be desired at times, but currently the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch are all doing quite well, and console gaming looks to be in a great place (well, other than the fact that Nintendo made the Switch harder to get than it should be, because we all have to work extra hard to give Nintendo our money). One could argue that in this time of deeply divided political sentiments, people want to look back to what they view as a simpler time, but really this is just as it always has been. We as a people have always looked a bit too fondly at our past at the expense of our present. It is human nature, and something that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Especially in cases like the SNES Classic, where this sentiments is correct, and all these games are awesome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Earthbound to play.

From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this month.

This month we’re finishing the new Life in the Kraken Podcast: Wubba Lubba Dub Dub Edition! We’re covering Rick and Morty Season 3 every week, so *burp* t-tune in Morty!

Also, this month is of course Killtoberfest! Join Kyu for a limited engagement of new and classic horror movies. It’s Killtoberfest 5: Five’ll Get You Dead.

Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week Month.

If any of this month’s recommendations interest you, feel free to click on our Amazon affiliate links below. We get a small kickback on anything you buy at no extra cost to you, and that money goes toward sustaining and improving the site. Thanks!

David: So I didn’t expect this, but I am going to recommend Fox’s The Orville. This Seth MacFarlane-helmed parody of Star Trek has proven to have a lot of heart, and be far deeper than one would expect as it delves closer to the dramedy side of things than the broad comedy everyone expected. It also shows the continued impressive growth of MacFarlane as a creator. Lord knows MacFarlane has made mistakes in the past, and his base instincts on comedy have definitely delved far too much in a sexist direction, but McFarlane has shown in his live action works a growth as a person that is rarely seen in creators. He has not simply rested completely on his Family Guy laurels, and has seemed to make effort to genuinely address past complaints about his work. That doesn’t mean that The Orville is perfect, and the show is still trying to find its footing even now (not to mention it could still go completely off the rails), but this is not a show that should be written off simply because one has had issues with MacFarlane’s past work. (If you have had not problems with his past work, well, then watch this too, because you’ll also likely be happy).


Kyu: If David hadn’t talked about the SNES Classic, I would have recommended it here–once you’re past the difficulty of actually getting one, it’s a truly wonderful little box of joy, especially for someone like me, who never owned an SNES to begin with.

But instead I’ll recommend something a little unusual–a general activity. Over the past year I’ve gotten into escape rooms in a big way. An instance of life imitating video games, escape games (or escape rooms) take the low-key puzzle subgenre of “escape the room” video games and brings them to reality, where clever designers convert rooms into anything from Sherlock Holmes’ office to a cabin in the woods to a space station and more. Players typically have 60 minutes to solve a series of interlinked puzzles using only the items and clues they find around them in the room or rooms in order to achieve their goal and escape. Some games have narrative elements, atmospheric effects, or even NPC characters waiting to scare or help you inside; others are more straightforward games of logic and intellect. It’s a truly unique experience, even compared to the video games that inspired it, because the time element and group nature of the games bring both tension and the need for smart coordination between players. It’s great fun, and there are infinite possibilities here in a medium that’s only just beginning. I recommend you see if there are any escape rooms in your area so that you, too, can experience the delightful paradox of escape games: once you’re in you want out, but while out all you want is in again.

That’s it for this month. We have a lot of work to do planning this year’s Halloween Bash. The Kraken has strict demands on costumes, and we would like to keep the limb dismemberment to a minimum this year.