I’ve been in a bit of a slump this year when it comes to enjoying stories. It’s not entirely due to lack of time, but rather lack of motivation due to what I’m seeing coming out.
As a former English major and a current librarian, I’ve read my fair share of stories. This creates a double-edged scenario for me: it means that there’s little I haven’t seen, and it means there’s little that surprises me. It also gives me a bad habit of overanalyzing every story I get my hands on, down to the editing. Granted, so much modern storytelling has a number of issues I won’t elaborate on (specifically, no one knows how to write an ending), and the aforementioned English degree really ruined my ability to enjoy most stories (too jaded for the most part).
For me, I want to see some originality. I want to see something that I’ve never seen before, or at least is a novel approach to something that I haven’t seen completely overdone.
Sadly, 2016 was not that year. To offer you some quick numbers:
There were at least 21 movies this summer that were sequels, spin-offs, or reboots, including Captain America: Civil War, Pete’s Dragon, Tarzan, and Ghostbusters.
There were over 25 video game sequels announced for 2016, including a new Batman game (hopefully not as bad as the aforemetioned movie), Dark Souls 3, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, and Dishonored 2. This also doesn’t include games inspired by others (Stardew Valley has a ton of Harvest Moon elements, and No Man’s Sky is like a limited Minecraft in space).
There are also, at least, 30 movies this year that are/were based off of books. Granted, that’s becoming the logical next step with media and storytelling, but that’s still a large number of books turned into movies for just one year.
Even RPGs are also not immune to this. Just from Kickstarter alone, this year I’ve seen a Warhammer-inspired clone, Deadlands Anniversary Edition, 7th Sea 2nd Edition, Scion Second Edition, Apocalypse World 2nd Edition. . .the list goes on.
Seeing the year this way, it’s rather depressing that nothing new is truly coming out. Are we, as a species (or at least as a society) so out of tune with the ideas of creating truly new things that we are so focused on repeating the past, or trying to bring the past to the present?
Sure, nostalgia has a place (and is clearly a way of making money), but it’s getting a bit redundant (literally) when we’re seeing the same thing being released every year, just with a different note to it.
As happy as I am to see some stories coming out, I’m feeling a little put out at the inundation of these regurgitated stories. If only creativity were praised again, we could see some interesting retellings of the seven basic plots, wouldn’t you agree?