Three hidden keys open three secret gates
Wherein the errant will be tested for worthy traits
And those with the skill to survive these traits
Will reach The End where the prize awaits
These are the words that started the greatest game ever played. In Ernest Cline’s amazing Ready Player One, the hunt for the Easter Egg is on.
Ready Player One is one of those novels that always seems to be on lists of books everyone should read. I usually bypassed it because I never bothered to read the premise. I finally did when I saw the book on BuzzFeed’s “19 Books to Read Before the Movie Comes Out in 2018” and it sounded pretty cool.
Mr. Cline’s novel is about a high school teenager named Wade Watts, a poor kid living in a trailer park tower called “The Stacks” who basically lives in the OASIS, a virtual reality that is unlike anything we have now. In the OASIS, you can be anything. A wizard, a robot, a beautiful man or woman, anything you want. You can visit planets, fight dragons or vampires, or party all day long. The OASIS is where people go to school, work, even to fall in love, all without leaving their homes. And that’s the way Wade likes it.
Like pretty much everyone on the OASIS, Wade spends most of his time trying to crack the first level of The Hunt, a game created by the now-deceased creator of the OASIS, James Halliday. But all of that changes when he becomes the first gunter (egg hunter) to make it through the first level and retrieve the Copper Key. After that, his entire life changes in ways he could have never imagined.
Ready Player One had me feeling like a teenager all over again because of the numerous 80’s references, particularly of video arcade games. Games like Joust, Zaxxon, Tempest and Galaga, the same ones I played after school. My favorite game of all time was Gyrus, one I played every single day after school when I was a sophomore. One afternoon, I played Gyrus so long, the owner of the grocery store unplugged the game so he could close up and go home. To say I was pissed was an understatement because he completely reset the game and wiped out all of my scores.
Mr. Cline’s novel is one that could relate to current events, as more and more people are using technology to find a mate, go to school and move further and further away from reality. With so much going on in the world, playing video games, watching Netflix or just staying indoors has become more appealing. But what we gain in sanity we lose in connecting to people. I’ve talked to people younger than me who have no idea how to connect with others. The idea of talking to someone on the telephone terrifies them so they resort to texting to communicate. But the level of importance they put on texting boggles my mind. I can’t even imagine what the world will be like if something like the OASIS ever comes into being. We may never see each other again!
Until then, I would definitely recommend you read Ready Player One. It’s a fun read, has completely lovable characters and will definitely take you back to the old video game days, if you ever played them. I absolutely cannot wait to see Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the book, which has already been receiving rave reviews. The film, which opens March 29, stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg. I’m looking forward to seeing what Spielberg has up his sleeve.