Hm? Oh right, I completely forgot I had this. Go and read on if you are curious.
I’ll admit that I should read more considering just how much I write. But when I am outside of school, I have constant internet access and can find less attention demanding forms of entertainment. But for the times when I’m on the bus, or cannot access video on the net, I regret not having a book to read. So I decided to find a book to keep me occupied, and I stumbled upon Ready Player One, the very definition of a nerdgasm.
Ready Player One Review
By Ernest Cline
The book begins with an exposition dump, which I can understand why some people wouldn’t like, but it is always a sure fire way to talk to your audience and tell them the backstory and not have them skip through it In Media Res. But from the exposition, we gather that it is 2044, and the world is a massive arsehole where the majority of humans are in poverty or starving. It is to the point where there are stacks of 20 trailer homes that serve as common housing housing in semi-major American cities. Resources are scarce, there are multiple wars going on, and avoiding rapists and muggers is part of everyday life. Well, at least in the real world, which our main character and teller of this tale, Wade Watts, rejects and ignores as much as possible. Instead, he pretty much lives in the combination of all Pop Culture ever made, the internet, and the entire MMORPG genre if combined with second life. This is known as OASIS, and it serves as the one video game that exists in this dystopia, and is a part of every character’s life.
However, the lead designer of OASIS, James Halliday, died 5 years ago and left a massive easter egg hunt that spanned across the thousands upon thousands of square kilometers of OASIS. And in order to figure out the clues, one must study the enormous amounts of 1980’s media that Halliday absorbed in his youth. This created a batch of egg hunters, referred to as Gunters, who are after the secret of obtaining the hundreds of billions of dollars Halliday had. And Wade, who goes by the username of Parzival, is a poor overweight teenager who has been frantically studying everything mentioned in Halliday’s Almanac, which is pretty much a bible for Gunters.
nd by using his knowledge of nerd culture, skill at 80’s arcade games to go through some well known, some obscure, yet all references that are at least 15 years old. And I’ve got to say, this is the part that really makes me love this book. The amount of little nods and even text based references create a very enjoyable environment, assuming that you are willing to look them up, which still counts as tangential learning. From Adventure to Ladyhawke to Family Ties, the reference count is staggering, and if you want to feel like a massive nerd, just knowing what is being talked about is a great sense of accomplishment, albeit one of debatable worth.
But references aside, we have a solid story of an average joe getting a shot at fame, trying to get a girl, and having to deal with a massive and very clearly evil corporation. It is simple stuff, but the amount of lore and care that went into the inner workings of this universe is unique enough to make it shine. Take aside the whole paid teleportation bit, and the one life and you’re back to level one bit, and it does feel like a very well thought through game. Well, unless you want me to complain about how it is played with gloves and a visor, so everyone would look stupid in it Or the fact that OASIS was somehow released for a quarter, when $50 would have been a more logical price.
It isn’t perfect, I had fun breaking down and just theorizing what the mechanics of all of these many gameplay aspects would really be. Yeah, that’s a pretty nerdy thing to do, yet the premise kind of states that this is for people who are into at least one traditionally nerdy thing, but namely video games. However, the few warts aside, the book has very good pacing, good enough to make it the fastest I’ve ever read through a book. Even things that shouldn’t work, like how fast the last third goes, when the beginning is just a bunch of very colorfully done set-up.
I also enjoyed deconstructing the implications of how Cline foresees the direction humanity will take within the next 30 years. It is undoubtedly exaggerated, since the implication of how you should actually get out and do shit is certainly prevalent. Even little bits about politics and the online community are nice little nods. And that is not even getting into the debate I had regarding Halliday’s morality, but I don’t wish to spoil too much.
I could go on, yet this experiment by someone who never fully read a book review, and just wanted to raise interest of Ready Player One. It has some problems regarding the passage of time and it can brush over details a tad carelessly, but it can stand on its own for people who are not full nerds. Yet if you do know what they are talking about, like I did 80% of the time, you should have a blast. I recommend that every gamer at least gives Ready Player One a chance. It is a well paced and overall very, very, very fun book that is indeed bias towards the nerd mentality, and offers enough commentary to avoid being pandering. If you’re not at least a bit into nerd culture, you have small chances of liking it, yet if you do, you are in for a trip, that’s for sure.