Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ready Player One

I've just finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Wow, I really enjoyed this, it was just so much fun. It's set in the near future, but essentially takes place inside an MMO. The basic premise is that there is a massive fortune to be won if a player can solve a bunch of obscure puzzles, but what makes it really interesting is that the theme for all of this is 80's trivia but mostly focused on all those things I'm personally really interested in. Computer games, Science Fiction/Fantasy, D&D, computer programming.
A small sample of references in the book includes Blade Runner, Highlander, Ghost Busters, Star Wars, Star Trek, War Games, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Monty Python films, Zork, Defender, Pac Man, Adventure, D&D, Tomb of Horrors, Family Ties, Knight Rider, Max Headroom, very much Anime and so on. There is so much detail in the references to these subjects that it is one continual reminiscing session about all the things I enjoyed growing up, and still love today.
There were also some pretty cool technologies used by players to connect to the game, including haptic feedback suits, smell sense towers, full-immersive laser-in-the-eye goggles, full motion capture movement rigs and so on. I also really liked the flavour of the dystopian world that had been left behind too, as clearly people were giving up on the poverty of the real world and spending most of their time jacked in to this free online experience.
The only thing that jarred a little for me was a description of how many times the main character had seen each of the films, and spent time mastering the games, and read the comics etc. I figure if you go total up the amount of hours he needed to spend learning, watching, playing, listening, he would have had to have been a thousand years old. I mean, I've seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" at least 25 times, and played Elite on Amiga for months on end in all my spare time in the day, but all the stuff this guy has experienced added up in time was just plain impossible. Or perhaps I was just jealous. Hard to tell.

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