I found myself thinking recently about a conversation I had with someone after I quit playing City of Heroes. Loyal readers (Ha!) will recall my mentioning way back in my first article, that I played City of Heroes, a superhero themed Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, for something like three or four years straight. It would be a safe bet to say that I was pretty obsessed, but eventually even my obsession got bored; I realized that I had long since ceased having any interest in the game past coming up with fun character ideas, and I stopped playing. Sometime later, I found myself discussing it with one of the people I regularly played with (part of what can make MMOs so addicting is when you find a steady group of people who are just as addicted as you are, and you all sort of feed off of each other), and I mentioned to him that I couldn’t understand how he could still be playing the game after for so long, that part of the reason I gave up playing was that the game just felt old now, in every aspect of the word. Not only did it consist of doing the same old stuff over and over, but that everything from the graphics, to the basic design principles of the game, were hopelessly outdated. His response to me was, “I don’t know, you just put more of a priority on new stuff than I do.”
Ignoring the irony of saying that to a guy who had managed to play the same old stuff for just over three years straight, the entire idea behind that statement sort of took me aback. I suppose I’d never seen it stated so frankly, but were there really people who didn’t put a priority on new stuff?
Sure, I like my old stuff plenty, and I go back to, even treasure some of it—hell, you’ve seen me write enthusiastically about old stuff before, and that’s not going to stop any time soon. Yet, I’m always on the lookout for new stuff—and when some of my old stuff tries to do new stuff, I love it when legitimately does new stuff. I loved Bioshock, but never even bothered with Bioshock 2. Why? Same old stuff! They didn’t change or expand the game in any way that mattered. I love the Killers’ first album Hot Fuss, but am completely indifferent on any of their subsequent albums, because there isn’t any new stuff; all the later songs sound just like they could be on Hot Fuss, so what’s the point of that? That’s old stuff. Give me a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, where every album might be the same old band, but yet features all new stuff. It’s all the same band, but their style grows and changes and evolves with each album into all new stuff. That’s the stuff I like. All old stuff with no new stuff sounds dull to me, but who knows, maybe that’s just me.
Really, this is one of those stupid, ego-centric, “wait, so you mean not everyone thinks exactly like I do?” moments we all have every now and then. Nostalgia is a very powerful force in our culture, and in fact, I can’t think of a time when old stuff has ever been more popular. Look at the movies coming out in the next few weeks, an A-Team remake, a Karate Kid remake, and Toy Story 3, a sequel to a franchise which has lain dormant for years. Furthermore, technology is making it easier and cheaper for people who love old stuff: DVD releases of old TV shows can keep you awash in nothing but your favorite old stuff for the rest of your life, if you so desire.
Of course, then again, if you missed those shows when they first came about, well, it’s all new stuff for you, isn’t it? I guess it’s a good time for new stuff too.
So, what was the point of all this? No idea, honestly, just something I’ve been thinking about lately. I like my old stuff, but I love discovering new stuff, and I love just as much when old stuff adds some new stuff to itself and becomes like new.
What about you, noble readers (there’s that joke again), how do you feel about old stuff and new stuff? Are you comfortable with just your old stuff? Do you say all new stuff all the time, forget old stuff? Do you have no idea what the hell I’m going on about (this is entirely possible)? Let me know! Let’s get some use out of these comments!