If you've been listening to the podcast this year, you've probably heard LOKI mention this book, Ready Player One. It was written by Ernest Cline (the same guy who penned the script for the film Fanboys. It's a great flick, check it out if you like Star Wars or are into geek culture at all!) So on a whim I had a chance to check it out, from his reviews of it it sounded like a really interesting read...
There'll probably be some spoilers, so hit the jump to read the rest of my review!
The year is 2044. A dystopian future where the real world is drab, bleak and boring. Fortunately technology has advanced quite a bit since 2011 and everyone has their own Virtual Reality setup in their homes, used to log-on to a world-wide network known as the OASIS. The story centers around a young man by the name of Wade Watts. See he's a huge fan of 80s pop culture and classic videogames like Robotron and Pac-Man. He's also a big fan of the original creator of the OASIS, the late James Halliday. See, James was sort of a cross between Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and Willy Wonka... of course like Bill he had a vast fortune of billions of dollars, but no one to inherit all his wealth. That's when word of a contest to win his inheritance begins...
From the moment I began reading this book, I absolutely loved every minute of it! Honestly I'd lie awake at night dreaming of having a VR setup like his, being able to log into this virtual world where you could pretty much do anything you ever wanted... want to play a classic arcade game on a real machine?! There's probably a world inside the OASIS with a classic arcade with every game ever made.
Unfortunately, there's one organization out to take control of the OASIS by winning the contest, an evil corporation called Innovative Online Industries, or IOI for short. These guys will lie, cheat and steal their way to get the upper hand in this contest, and that includes IRL murdering people if they have to! The employees all run hacked OASIS rigs, and all have generic usernames such as IOI-655366 which earned them the nickname 'Sixers' amongst the contest participants (known as 'gunters', short for 'easter egg hunters') because all their employee #s have six digits.
As far as the story itself goes, it's just mindblowing just how much 80s pop culture got crammed into this book, references to classic videogames, TV shows, movies, music, there's even a few comic book and D&D references thrown in for good measure! I guarantee you won't want to put the book down, every chapter will end and you'll be dying to find out what happens next!
I have to say, I really identified with Wade as a character... Although sometimes he'd do things that would make me scream 'Why would you do that, you're just asking for trouble!' yet somehow he manages to find a way out of trouble. But all in all I feel like I can really relate to him, especially when it comes to the ladies, heh. All in all this is defintely the best book I've ever read by a long shot, and I can hardly wait for the motion picture (although I'm a little worried some of the references might not make the cut, but we'll see.)
If you want to learn more about this book, visit the official site: Ready Player One. But you don't have to take my word for it! I'd also like to note the book is also on Audible.com, so if you want to check out the book (Narrated by celebrity uber-nerd Wil Wheaton!) in addition to supporting the sponsor of our pre-show act, Bobby Blackwolf you can do that too!
I hope you enjoyed my review of this book, stay tuned to the site as I may have some game reviews coming up soon. A review of the Wii's biggest game this year Zelda: Skyward Sword, as well as the edutainment classic Oregon Trail's Wii version should be getting reviewed on the site very soon, so watch for those!