Ready Player One

I’ve only got back into reading recently. I don’t want to bore you with the details, so I’ll give you the short version. After not having a “Beach holiday” (sitting by a pool until your skin looks like Mr Krabs) for about 5 years, I’d forgotten how good reading was. Instead, I’d immerse myself in either virtual worlds. It was a stress relief, after a long day of work there’s nothing better than incinerating fools.

This was a shame since I loved devouring books. It was a calming experience that helped me sleep. Since that holiday, I’ve rediscovered a long lost passion. Before bed, I split my time either playing a video game or catching up on TV show. Then I’ll read a few pages of whatever tickles my fancy. It may take me longer to complete games, finish the programmes and reach the end of the novel but it’s worth it.

Oh and the tan did settle down. I’ve gone from hot crab red to a rich mahogany style David Dickinson.

From one to the other…

What have I been reading?

I wanted to talk about the book I’ve finished. You may have guessed it from the title of my first post (also picked because it has the number one in it. Clever eh?), its Earnest Cline’s Ready Player One. I’m going to be honest here, until San Diego Comic-Con I knew nothing about the book or film. It’s a special talent to live in a bubble when the internet provides you with all the world’s information at the swipe of a finger.

After watching the glorious trailer, I quickly found out it was a book paying homage to video games. I couldn’t press buy fast enough. Over the next 2 weeks I steamrollered my way through 350+ pages. I say steamrollered. It was an hour a night.

Ready Player One has a strong story. The set up is quite simple. Humanity has gone to the toilet as we’ve used up all the world’s resources. Famine and poverty are the order of the day and the world is effectively run by corporations. Governments have little power. Because life is so terrible, most people (even the homeless) spend their days in OASIS. This virtual reality game is free to start, but copes with microtransactions. Think mobile games, but on a grander scale. Unlike current games, people haven’t lost interest in it. You can do, create or share anything you want. Want to act out the entirety of Ghostbusters? Go get em Ray! Want to travel space in an X-wing? Use the Force. I could go on.

Anyhoo, the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, kicks the bucket. This is big news as he’s the equivalent of Steve Jobs. In fact, his character is Steve Jobs. Somewhat typically, he’s got no-one to leave his vast fortune to so he creates an Easter Egg hunt. Solve the hunt, win his money.

Our protagonist Wade (AKA Parzival) has spent years trying to crack the clues to win the contest. That’s where we join him. Throughout the pages, we’re sent on a fast paced chase finish the contest. Cline throws in an imperialist company who wants to take over and monetise OASIS. Which to be honest, makes sense. There’s server maintenance, customer support, software updates. That needs to beconsidered. Apparently that’s bad and should remain free for everyone.

Proof of book.

Ready Player One issues

Unfortunately, there are two things that I couldn’t get on with. The IOI, our corporate bad guys flirt their evil ways but never feel a threat. I found them forgettable but this is probably due to my second issue – the main character.

Wade is the pure embodiment of a jumped up gamer who has to know everything and expects you to know it too. He’s the type of person who’d not only tell you that Empire Strikes Back is better than Return, he’d explain why you’re wrong. I’ve never rage quitted a book before until Ready Player One. At one point I heaved the book across the room because of this little prick. I think it’s because he reminds me of a younger version of myself. The type of person who wanted to know all the details and stories behind a movie so that it “enhances the experience”. Or something.

The story itself is fantastic. Stacked full of 80s pop references, you can tell Cline loves the 80s. The book is dripping with it. It’s described in such a way films like Ladyhawke and War Games are on the watch list. While I do that, I urge you to read the book. It’s one of the easier reads I’ve gone through and the plot out weighs my hatred for Wade Watts.

I do think that the movie will be better. I don’t know if it was me discovering the story now the film is in production, but I can’t shake the feeling that Ready Player One was always meant to be a film. The book helped Cline get to his end goal faster. Cline has written the screenplay too, so we’ll see where it goes.

Phew. The first post is always the hardest. How do you make an impression off the bat? Do I go balls-to-the-wall with my profound thoughts? Do I middle ground it and risk being as boring as paint drying? I hope this was mildly entertaining!

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