Ready Player One is a love letter to the 80s, especially the geeky side of 80s culture. In a near future dystopian setting, the world is falling to pieces in large part because most people have opted out. They spend most of their waking hours inside an interactive virtual reality simulation game known as the OASIS. The creator of The OASIS, James Halliday, was a game designer extraordinaire. He was also an agoraphobe who was completely obsessed with 80s culture, as that was the decade of his youth. Upon his death, he initiates a quest: Whosoever completes the quest and finds the Easter Egg he’s hidden in yhe OASIS inherits his entire fortune, including the OASIS. Naturally, a bunch of gamers join the quest and become dedicated gunters (a portmanteau of egg hunters). Another interested party is IOI, a corporation that controls much of the internet access, which would love the opportunity to monetize the OASIS which is currently free to access. (Though like many free apps today, there’s only so much you can do before you get caught up by in-app purchases.) Our main character is a gunter named Wade (known as Parzival within the OASIS). He searches for the egg with the help (sort of) of his friends Aech, Art3mis, Daito, and Shoto.
While the book is heavy on the nostalgia, it never feels overwhelmingly so. As a non-gamer, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book at all that I didn’t know 90 % of the games mentioned. Those that were plot-relevant were described briefly to catch people like me up to speed without boring experienced gamers. I enjoyed the puzzle-solving aspect of the quest and can even imagine that I would have made an attempt as a gunter had I lived in this world. While not without its flaws, I really liked this book and would gladly recommend it to anyone.
Review by Jessica A.