My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I must say Ready Player One easily and quickly became one of my funnest and most memorable reads of 2011. Wade Watts lives in the not too distant dystopian future (mostly in America, but implied world wide aftermath of the post-fossil fuel era). He (and the majority of what’s left of humanity) escapes the ravages of poverty and orphanhood through the virtual OASIS reality. When the founder and creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his vast fortune (multi-billions) to whoever can find the egg he hid somewhere in the infinitely vast OASIS universe. Since Halliday obsessed on 80s culture, music, movies and early video games, he expected everyone else to join him. He succeeded posthumously by enshrining the clues to the egg in obscure 80s lore.
Ah, the early geeky memories that flashed before my eyes.
I played Zork and Adventure both. Neither of the two computers I grew up with were listed in the book: a home built Digital Group computer running a very early version of DOS and a Xerox 820 running C/PM. My favorite game (also not mentioned in the book), even more so than Adventure, was one called Nemesis by Supersoft. It’s Rogue-like (which I prefer to an all-text based interactive story-type game like Adventure). I yearned to play it again, especially while reading the Second Gate section of Ready Player One, so I found a copy via a Google search. Now to find a C/PM emulator that will run on Windows (or Linus) so I can really revisit the ‘good ole days.’
Wargames and Ladyhawke are both two of my favorite movies from the 80s era and the play a significant role in the egg hunt. On the music font, Rush (one of my favorite bands, after Styx and Kansas) provided key elements to the final third of the quest. I almost dug around in my basement for my old dusty Rush albums, but left them to rest in peace. Besides, my husband’s band covers older Rush songs so I get a Rush-fix at least once a week.
I am very glad Cline didn’t spend much time on the fashions of the day and I ignored most of the other music references (as I was a metal head and refused to listen to pop music). I played nearly all the arcade games mentioned EXCEPT for Tempest.
I wanted more real world information, to learn about the fall of civilization and the consequences of ignoring the ever worsening and appalling conditions rising to destroy what’s left of humanity. Some readers have likened Wade Watts to a ‘Mary Sue’ type character, which is hard to refute since the tale is told in first-person from his point of view. Characterization, aside from Wade, could have been fleshed out more. If a sequel is in the works, I look forward to a deeper look into this world and these characters.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone with a smidgen of geekiness who also happens to be born in the mid-60s or very early 70s (i.e. were you a teenager during the 80s?).