With the new year approaching, this is a time we reflect and look forward all at once. Today I found myself considering that this year I have not discovered much, no new bands, I’ve played almost no new games, and I don’t think I’ve even read a new comic, let alone any new books, and it’s not for lack of desire, in all cases I either lack the time or can’t find anything that captures my attention so utterly that I simply have to know more. A few great films have come out, and T.V. series, but nothing truly original, mostly remakes or Marvel properties.
But really it’s not been a wasted effort. On looking back I find that most of my experiences this year have been about remaking, and about shedding new light on things I’d already experienced once before, revisiting things I know and finding that I could still discover more.
This January I interviewed Jamie Anderson who’s in the process of resurrecting his father’s legacy, the marionette action animation with real special effects and no CGI. This was also the year in which Grim Fandango and Heroes of Might and Magic 3 both saw HD remastered versions, and we now have long awaited sequels from Star Wars and Mad Max.
Modern media is commonly criticised for lacking in originality, but that’s been true for almost a full century. Even the original ideas are just old stuff heavily padded beyond recognition, check this video to get an idea of what I mean. Getting back to some of the original stories, pulling them apart, studying them for what made them so intrinsic to our lives. We take them and apply new methods, or immerse them in modern themes, or simply retell them from a new perspective to make us think about our own views and how things have changed throughout history.
It can also help us to think of ourselves and the world around us, and that’s an important tool to help us grow and change. If you’re unhappy with a world filled with remakes perhaps you need to try and look at something from a new perspective, and perhaps find something original yourself. Bringing me to my next point.
Through A New Lens
In the year I found a pile of role-play and traditional gaming magazines in a charity shop I have come to look at things I’ve done in the past from a whole new perspective. Aided by D&D 5th edition, and being introduced to a few other gaming systems along the way, old, new, complex and simple, I’ve had time to think deeply about how I play, how I design, and what makes a game good.
I’ve actually been playing around with Microsoft Office’s package OneNote, using it to plot campaigns, and I’ve discovered that it suits my thinking-style and changed the way I write my campaigns. I can see myself using it for a lot more in the future too, I still have a novel to finish and a board game to revisit. Much of my time has been spent researching and self-educating this year, and I’ve been going over some of the ways in which I’ve educated myself in the past, like the DK Multimedia virtual museums and considering how they could be remade for a new generation.
As a small side note, I’ve also returned to electrical retail after three years, and rather than being the step back I feared it might become, my new experiences have let me view an old vocation in a new light, and I’m finding that I can attack it with renewed vigour.
In short, this has been a year of things that were old made new, although not entirely bereft of new experiences. Next year I need to do new things and discover something a little more original, maybe take up a new course of education.
Old ideas can be made new, and made original in their own way, including ourselves and the aspects of our lives that we perhaps take for granted. So this new year, or pretty much whenever you find yourself reading this, take a step back from things you think you know, dismantle it and rebuild it, see if something new comes out the other side.
See you next year.