can you feel my heart?
Well, what I am specifically trying to say here, is not that certain hacks should be better than others.. (although, in the course of things, that will happen) but that people should try to, er, make theirs stand out. Like you said, the originality is pretty much gone here now.. people are pulling hack ideas out of nowhere.. Honestly, the only good hack story is one that you love and enjoy to work with. If you don't like space aliens, to hell with aliens! Make a hack about kings and queens or something that you would like!
A big step in learning to hack for beginners is finding your perfect story. I mean, look at all of the hacks that are currently in the Showcase; especially the ones that are finished. Those hackers loved their story well enough to finish it.. or come very very close. You have to identify with the story before you can begin to make significant progress with your hack. And then, after that point, you can worry about how good your hack looks and stuff. What I am saying, is that the originality is missing.. and that's what's making nothing stand out. They all look the same and bland..