I agree with Bacterius, what he said reminds of a quote from Jim Jarmusch:
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” ”
I like the idea of combining different, supposedly unrelated things together and seeing what happens. But even if you do something straightforward like the Game of Life, think of how many people there are that wouldn't be able to code that! It's actually not very "common" at all. And 5000 words isn't that much; if something is common there must be a reason, talk about how people use in the real world, or it's impact. How the Game of Life relates to AI and biology or something. Here's a different angle, since it's so common, has it outlived its usefulness? Are people going to continue to find it interesting, or will they move on to a replacement of some sort?