Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's Sad To See Things Go

As both a collector and a player, it's really sad to see pieces of a franchise's history disappear to the tides of time. I'm not even talking about things like the Sega GameGear, the GameBoy Micro, or the McDonald's toy lines. Not directly, anyways. What I'm talking about are some of the lesser games, the children's novels, the DIC animated cartoons, and the comic books. All of these little pieces of history in the evolution of a franchise, all of them are stories that probably won't see a generation outside of the one they were made in. With the usual exception of our good friends the Pirates, but even they don't seem to have everything.

Seriously, has anybody under twenty even seen this book?
These stories, poorly written as they may have been, were all a part of the evolution of the legacy of franchise. When you talk about Sonic the Hedgehog, someone is eventually going to mention the name "Princess Sally." Once you're talking about her, you're talking about the Freedom Fighters, and then you eventually hear the question "How many Freedom Fighter groups were there?" Having watched the old series, you'll know there's at least one other group of Freedom Fighters, but books like the one above, Fortress of Fear, expand further on the ideas of the universe as a whole, and introduce several other Freedom Fighter groups. This bit of legacy will eventually be lost, and it's going to be sad watching it disappear. It is sad watching it disappear.

And it's not just Sonic the Hedgehog who's losing his mythos. Super Mario, Link, Garfield, and even Ronald McDonald have all been subject to various pieces of companion merchandising over the years, and all of them are left to the realm of nostalgic sixth grade memories. This is a royal shame. The characters of our fiction will be all that remains of our civilization as the ages pass. They will become the legends and fables of tomorrow. Are we really going to watch that disappear? Are we going to allow the things we grew up on to become dust in the distant corners of our memories?

So some of the material might not be the best thing ever produced, but it really doesn't deserve to fall into obscurity. Especially not in the current age, when it's nearly costless to create digital copies of this material and release it on platforms such as Amazon Kindle, iTunes, and in the case of the many, many media games, Steam. Not only would this be a relatively riskless way of introducing the media to a new audience, it would also be a great way for companies to make a little extra money off of existing material. There's really no reason not to, and it would save a lot of materials from rotting in the land of nostalgia hell.

One of the largest reasons I hate to see this material disappear is that, as a creator, I know what it's like to have something of yours just whisked away in the face of something new. Even if it isn't the creator's best work, there was at least a minimal effort put into creating it, and I feel like the entertainment industry is committing a great disservice to the creators of the content by burying it for all eternity.