In 1989/90 I had a character for a stop animation a friend and I did. This figure is based off the original. Here is the evolution of the customization pertaining to one particular figure.
The break down: In 1989/90 the figure on the right was the extent of a purist minifig. 20 years later, thanks to the progress of Lego, the creativity of Customizers, and the birth of Brick Forge, I was able to update my original bad wizard.
89/90 - I had the option on a hair in black or brown, or a few different helmets. I went with the bullet helm.
Present day - I can use an official hood that came out in 1999 and modded it to accommodate another modded piece that was unavailable previously.
89/90 - The first faces that were not just classic smilies had just surfaced. I had about 4 choices now. Oh boy ;9
Present day - I used the eyes with pupils that first surfaced with the Dino Attack sets. Regardless of the date, 2005 is about when pupil eyes became available. The one I used came out in 2008 or 09.
89/90 - A black torso, plain and simple. I think I originally took a black classic space man and turned his torso around. The print best suited like the Star Wars print didn't surface till 2002.
Present Day - I used a template made by Anthony Sava I discovered around 2002 and added details from various customizers like Joey Finnel and Legofreak. I think I designed this one 2 yrs ago at the most.
89/90 - No beard, no cloth cape, makeshift staff using an antenna piece and a trans green round 1x1 plate.
Present day - Beard is modded and first became available in 1993. Cape first became available in the late 90's. We had the one holed ones with the Dragon Masters on them in 1993 and the plastic version from the mid 80's. Staff I used was designed by Armothe and Red Bean and produced in 2009.
As you can see, look how unimpressive he would be without an upgrade. Nostalgic, but not really anything unique.