Ready Player One: Book Review

January 27, 2016 — Leave a comment

I just finished reading (listening to) Ready Player One: A Novel This was an interesting book.

Here’s the basic premise of the book. The story takes place in the future and it’s pretty dismal. A guy named Halliday created a virtual world that sounds like something similar to “2nd Life” called the Oasis. This virtual world works by putting on a pair of special classes that project the images directly onto your retina and this world is suppose to be so amazing the real world looks like a fog compared to it.  Everyone on planet Earth is addicted to this thing. After Halliday (the creator of the Oasis) died he left a message to the world about a final easter egg he has hidden inside this virtual world. Whoever discovers this egg is the heir to Halliday’s entire estate. Halliday, a scholar of 1980s pop culture, has left several clues leading to the final easter egg all these clues pertain to Video Games, RPGS, Comic Books, Television Shows and Movies from the 1980s.  

The book shines in it’s meticulously researched references to so many obscure facets of 1980s culture. The book even mentions the RPG Game Champion’s, The made for T.V. Special Ewoks and The Battle For Endor, D&D’s creators Gygax & Arneson, Atari’s Joust and a large amount of late 1970s and 1980s trivia I never even knew about. As far as the story goes the book starts out really slow and it was a struggle to get through the first quarter of it after that the story takes off and I couldn’t put it down till I got to the end of it.

Now here’s some of the stuff in the book I didn’t like or I felt just didn’t make much sense.

  1. Everything in this virtual world costs money. You can’t even go to another planet without paying a teleportation fee. If that’s the case why would it be so awesome?
  1. The book claims the entire virtual world is free and open source. If that’s the case anyone would be able to build their own version of the game independently of the original. In fact it would make more sense for the IOI the evil corporation competing to find Halliday’s easter egg. To pool all their money into building their own version of the Oasis since it’s all open source then marketing more effectively that the original.
  1. The Hero of the story Wade is broke in real life and he’s broke in the Oasis he can’t go any place cool inside the game. Yet he still spends all his time playing it. Then when Wade needs money to accomplish the rest of his objectives in the game the book conveniently hands him all the money he needs.
  1. If this virtual world is so amazing why are so many of the characters going inside it just to watch old 80s films such as War Games? Why would anyone bother looking at stuff like that rather than the beauty of this virtual world. In other words the characters in the story are leaving the real world to go inside this virtual world only to ignore the virtual world and view things from the real world.
  1. The audiobook version is read by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame. In his reading of the book Wheaton successfully makes the main character Wade sound like the most pretentious douchebag of all time.

Overall it was a good book and while I couldn’t put it down I will admit by the end I was ready for it to be over. I had heard more obscure 1980s trivia than I ever wanted to know.

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