What makes something a “classic”?
Whether it be film, book, video game, or TV show, every form of media has what is referred to as a classic. Filmophiles will look to Metropolis (1927), for example, as a classic of the science fiction genre. Book lovers might consider The Lord of the Rings (1954) a masterpiece of literature, while video game and television classics may be The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991) and Twin Peaks (1990) respectively.
What is it that all of these so-called “classics” have in common? Is it their decades-old age? Or is it their lasting appeal–they’re ability to perfect, to innovate, and to influence? Classics are seen, read, and played by many, and are known of by even more.
But does a particular movie, book, game or TV show become a classic as it ages, or is it born one? Some may claim that yes, its enduring popularity after many years is what determines whether or not something is a “classic.” But there are some that say that because it is a classic, it remains popular despite the passage of time. In other words, is its lasting appeal the cause or the effect?
It’s an unresolved debate, even now, but it’s a debate that makes classics classic, after all. For so long as we’re still talking about them, the high pedestals on which we put them remain deserved.