So, in case it hasn’t been made clear up to this point, I’m a huge nerd. In addition to my Harry Potter obsession, and other geeky attributes, I’m also a big video game fan. I rarely play them these days, and not because I’ve outgrown them or any other such mature rationality, but because I simply don’t have time. Not with two very busy toddlers running around wreaking havoc in my house. Also, I am well aware of the fact that I have a very addictive personality and if I start playing a video game, I Will. Not. Stop. So I’m holding off until my kids start school and then I’ll enjoy many hours a day of uninterrupted hours of virtual reality bliss.
So it should come as no surprise to any of you that I deeply enjoyed a game written about video games. “Ready Player One,” takes place in a futuristic society where the whole world has basically gone to pot due to overpopulation and consumption of the planet’s natural resources. Most of the world’s population now exists through an online virtual reality called the OASIS. The book begins by explaining that when the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, passed away, he informed the public that he left three Easter eggs hidden throughout the OASIS and the first person to find all three will inherit control of the OASIS as well as Halliday’s multi-billion dollar fortune. Halliday left clues as to the Easter eggs’ locations hidden in 80’s pop-culture references as well as other video games throughout the OASIS.
Five years after Halliday’s death, nobody has found one of the Easter Eggs and people are starting to wonder if it was all a big joke or if they are simply too well hidden. That is until, one day, protagonist and teenager Wade Watts finally deciphers the first clue and leads the world on a mad and dangerous race to find the rest of the Easter Eggs.
This book was amazing. One might wonder how a book, literally written about an entire world population living through virtual reality, would be interesting, but it was actually fascinating to read about. It also posited some not-so-subtle messages about our society’s current dependency on technology and the dangers that poses.
In addition to Wade Watts, the story also follows a few other characters who form a sort of alliance with Wade to find the last of the Easter Eggs. All of these characters are well-developed and possess the typical, hilarious characteristics of modern-day teenagers. But, even better than the characters, this novel makes thousands of references to 80’s pop-culture that just tickle somebody like me (a completely unashamed fan of Matthew Broderick and Patrick Swazey) to no end.
In addition to a heated race among online avatars to find these Easter Eggs, there is a company in this novel that also wants to gain control of Halliday’s OASIS and poses real-life threats to the people operating those avatars, so that adds an extra element of danger to the novel.
Even if you aren’t a huge nerd like me, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s funny, entertaining, and intense. And, if you aren’t convinced by my promotion of the novel, then you should watch the trailer that was just released for the movie that’s coming out next year, 2018. It’s being directed by Steven Spielberg, so you know it’s going to be good.
Also, in case any of you were wondering, my favorite video games are Zelda, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bro’s. Also, I have a soft spot for Harvest Moon.