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Anyone Else Tired of The Tyranny of Novelty?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I already have well-executed and enjoyable versions. Why do I need another?
Familiarity, perhaps?
So... Branagh's Hamlet, as far as I am concerned, suffers exactly from the issue of making a slavish version of the classic. Most versions (film or stage) have the good sense to edit it down quite a bit, but his Hamlet is unabridged. As a result his has a runtime of four tedious hours.
The extended version of each of the LotR movies runs north of three-and-a-half hours and yet each is still too short, in that there's still parts of the book that get left out.
Let me put it another way - I have a copy of Le Morte d'Arthur. I do not, in fact, need two copies on my bookshelf. If you are going to produce a book of Arthurian fiction, that simply follows Le Morte d'Arthur... why do I need yours? I already have it!
How many times have you re-read that copy, is the question?

Also, if someone doesn't have a copy of the version you have - or any version at all - is there a problem with said person having several different-yet-similar versions from which to choose?
I have other books of Arthurian bent. They are all different takes on the legends. One's a scholarly work that breaks down the legends to fit into know historical events, with the idea to show that Arthur was not really a single individual, but an amalgam of various legends. Another casts the Arthurian characters as immortals (Arthur was known as Gilgamesh and Baldur before he hooked up with Merlin and became Arthur), and mixes them with other immortal beings to see how it plays out. Another has the characters reborn in the modern era on the road to simply repeat the same tragedy again, while desperately trying to avoid that fate. And there are others...

Same stories, with novelty. Far more engaging than just rephrasing Le Morte d'Arthur four and more times over.
Counting both books and movies I've got about 7 different versions of Robin Hood here, if not more. And if I stumble on another, chances are I'll pick it up or at the very least read/watch it, just to see what that version does with the legends and-or what the authors' writing/moviemaking style brings to the table.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
I think that asking whether people are "tired of the tyranny of novelty" is a bit of a loaded question, though I do sympathize where it's coming from. However, I guess I come at from a different angle as I am tired of the "monotony of vikings." There are a lot of Norse, Scandinavian, and Viking-inspired fantasy settings out there, and I would gladly welcome the novelty of something else.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I am always attracted to novelties but in a subjective way. If I haven't seen a movie, heard a song or read a book before, it is novelty for me even if it was made 100 years ago. That's why I spend vastly more time digging into dusty public libraries for books and music than in shops with big "NEW!" signs in the window.

Generally speaking I hate movie remakes, with occasional exceptions. I'd rather watch the original with a couple of flaws than a "perfect" remake. But on the other hand certain movies based on a famous book or theater play don't bother me in multiple versions, it can feel to me like none is the original and they are all adaptations from another medium, which remains the untouched original. I don't mind if they make another Alice in Wonderland adaptation on screen, but certainly I would object to someone wanting to rewrite the book (not counting translations, comics or children's simplified versions).

I do see merit in derivative art however, the difficulty might be in distinguishing between genuine artistic reason and being a rip-off to gain money or notoriety easily. Thinking about a famous case of Aqua's "Barbie Girl" song in the 90s, if I remember right the band was sued by Mattel. It is obvious that a pop band wants to make money selling their song, but the Barbie is such a worldwide famous toy that had become even part of the language, so IMO it was completely legitimate (and novel!) to use it in a song even without permission.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
I'm not really sure I understand the OP question. It seems to imply that everything being made nowadays is new and different. But that's clearly not the case. Remakes seem to be more common than ever, and most stories retread familiar themes and familiar structures. If you don't want a lot of novelty, then the world is exactly as you want it to be. What is there to complain about?

Now, since this thread is in the TTRPG section, I'll not that I need far less novelty in games than I do in films or novels. I can easily get bored with a film that's retreating old ground, high production values are not enough to get me engaged if the story is nothing new.

Games are different, since I'm already engaged by their interactive nature. In a game, I'm quite content to discover that the grand vizier with the twirly moustache is secretly the bad guy manipulating the king, nor do I have any qualms about meeting in a tavern, or getting ambushed by goblins while escorting a merchant.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'm not really sure I understand the OP question. It seems to imply that everything being made nowadays is new and different. But that's clearly not the case. Remakes seem to be more common than ever, and most stories retread familiar themes and familiar structures. If you don't want a lot of novelty, then the world is exactly as you want it to be. What is there to complain about?
"The Tyranny of Nostalgia"
 





Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I suspect that 'most designers' is more correct than 'any designers'. A lot of really good games still sell quite well. I think the optics of bulk come from the ease of self publishing. A lot of the designers in question were probably never in danger of making real money anyway, and previous to DTRPG and Itch would probably just have been writing for their home groups. Getting a really good game noticed through the signal noise is a challenge though, I'm sure.
 

TheSword

Legend
I agree with the OP wholeheartedly. Particularly when it comes to D&D (and D&D-like) adventures.

There is a perception that every Adventure Path/Campaign needs to be unique, and cover completely new ground. Paizo is like this but so is 5e WOC. All the themes are totally unique and get more and more extreme as the go on. Consequently more and more distant from a base campaign setting. It starts with good old fashioned dragon cult slaying and ends up following carnivals through the faewild, hellscapes and ice-worlds. Pathfinder was the same, it started with Rise of the Runelords and ends with some weird stuff - futuristic/invasions/Cthulhu/carnivals/police

I think this is a weakness in editorial expectations picking the adventures. Not everything needs to be unique, novel or totally different from what preceded it. As role players a lot of the unique experience comes from the interaction of different characters with the main plot. We just need to have different challenges, locations and enemies so we’re not replaying the exact same stuff and spoiling the surprise.
 


Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
I agree with the OP wholeheartedly. Particularly when it comes to D&D (and D&D-like) adventures.

There is a perception that every Adventure Path/Campaign needs to be unique, and cover completely new ground. Paizo is like this but so is 5e WOC. All the themes are totally unique and get more and more extreme as the go on. Consequently more and more distant from a base campaign setting. It starts with good old fashioned dragon cult slaying and ends up following carnivals through the faewild, hellscapes and ice-worlds. Pathfinder was the same, it started with Rise of the Runelords and ends with some weird stuff - futuristic/invasions/Cthulhu/carnivals/police

I think this is a weakness in editorial expectations picking the adventures. Not everything needs to be unique, novel or totally different from what preceded it. As role players a lot of the unique experience comes from the interaction of different characters with the main plot. We just need to have different challenges, locations and enemies so we’re not replaying the exact same stuff and spoiling the surprise.
Some people want to eat only American yellow mustard all their lives. Other people want to try every kind of mustard produced on the planet. I don't understand why some people are bothered by what kind of mustard other people put in their dishes.
 

TheSword

Legend
Some people want to eat only American yellow mustard all their lives. Other people want to try every kind of mustard produced on the planet. I don't understand why some people are bothered by what kind of mustard other people put in their dishes.
Well the equivalent would be if your mustard company made enough original mustard to last you six months. Then the next flavor they made was spicy chilli mustard. They just stopped making original. They sold enough for six months of that. Then the made tarragon infused mustard for another six months.

Now hopefully it all tastes nice and hey why not we’ll give it a go. Unfortunately a few years later they are now making Dr Pepper flavored mustard and bubblegum cherry flavored mustard in a desire to be original/novel/unique.

Some of us would just like a bit more original mustard mixed in with the alternatives.

The ironic thing is that whenever game companies update to a new edition they always go back to original mustard. So it isn’t like the adventure ideas aren’t there… they’re just discarded in favor of every bizarre flavours of mustard.
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
A part of the mustard industry is that, first, you are encouraged to make your own mustard in whatever flavour you choose, and second that there are other companies who specialize in the making of particular flavours of mustard. My point is that there is no lack, and possible a surfeit, of original mustard available for your sandwich making needs.
What are you talking about? Everyone knows that you can only get REAL Frozen Prepackaged Microwave-ready Yellow Mustard Dishes from Big Mustard, Inc.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Think about this from the perspective of the writers and publishers. I doubt that they want to keep rewriting the same story with the same flavors over and over again. Sometimes they like doing new things as well. It's not as if there is some great dearth of generic fantasy modules and adventure paths out there in the market for people to pick up either.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Familiarity, perhaps?

If I want familiar, I already have it!

The extended version of each of the LotR movies runs north of three-and-a-half hours and yet each is still too short, in that there's still parts of the book that get left out.

Stuffing as much as possible form the books into movies is failing to follow the primary precept of making the movie good. Books and movies are different media. You generally have to make changes when you jump from one to the other.

How many times have you re-read that copy, is the question?

Several times over. And I use it on a reference on occasion as well.

Counting both books and movies I've got about 7 different versions of Robin Hood here, if not more. And if I stumble on another, chances are I'll pick it up or at the very least read/watch it, just to see what that version does with the legends and-or what the authors' writing/moviemaking style brings to the table.
(emphasis mine)

So... to see what is different! Thank you for demonstrating my point for me.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I can kind of get behind what the OP says in the sense that doing something again is too frequently used as a crutch by critics, but there's something to be said for novelty as well. Remakes of works that have already been made are at their best when there's something novel about them. In the case of written works, different translations, different supporting materials (like the essays or forewards included with different publications of books), annotations, etc. can make a second copy worthwhile to own. For movies, shot by shot remakes would be largely futile unless there's something really different about the casting, or the technology, or the soundtrack - which is why the best remakes involve a different take on the material, variations in adapted screenplays, emphasis on different aspects of the story, etc.

Ideally, there's a reason to do something again. And, particularly in the case of live performance, presenting the work to a new audience may be sufficient. After all, the time and audience are going to be novel even for a repertory theater doing the same play for a season.
 

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