This article is the first part of a series about the Ernest Cline novel, Ready Player One. Check out my piece about virtual reality and Ready Player One over on Medium and some of the other pieces we’ve written about the book here on Nerdvana.
Entering the world of the OASIS
“People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.”
These words, spoken by protagonist and narrator Wade Watts, frame the overall sentiment of the story. The OASIS exists as a means of escape from a dystopian world in the not-too-distant future.
Life in the 2040s is crowded and unpleasant. The world’s natural resources have dwindled and much of the United States is in a state of disrepair, with the people living in poverty and misery. The action begins in the city of Columbus, OH. Protagonist Wade Watts is sitting in the laundry room of a trailer, playing Robotron 2084 on an ancient laptop.
Watts lives in the trailer with his aunt and several other families. He enjoys hanging out in the laundry room because it smells like fabric softener, rather than the odor of cat urine like the rest of the house. The trailer happens to be located in something called “the Stacks”— a literal stack of trailers, climbing up into the sky. Both the larger paperback version of the book and the movie tie-in version illustrate the Stacks on the cover.
During his game of Robotron 2084 — a frantic, multi-directional shooter game similar — Watts explains the game to the reader, outlining his own strengths and weaknesses, eventually quitting the game as his hands begin to cramp. The game is similar to (and probably the inspiration for) the Midway arcade game Smash TV. Robots have gone rogue and it is up to the player to save the remaining humans. The game is difficult and punishing, but quite addictive to most players.
Watts quits playing and moves onto watching episodes of Family Ties and tells about his obsession with the show. So, in this first chapter, the reader learns much about Wade’s terrible life in the Stacks. Come to think of it, there’s quite a bit of exposition in the beginning of the book, but it serves the story well. Wade’s Family Ties marathon is unceremoniously interrupted by his drugged-up aunt and her shirtless boyfriend, who demand he turn over his laptop so they can sell it.
Wade proceeds to run away and we learn about his hideout inside of a junkyard van, where he accesses the OASIS, leading into chapter two. The book just gets progressively more nostalgic, fun and interesting from here, but I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from this part of the story:
“They call our generation the missing millions,” Watts tells the reader early on in the story, “Not because we went anywhere, but because there is nowhere left to go.”
A new trailer for the movie and a call to action
Warner Bros. released a new trailer for the film, attempting to build further excitement for the movie.
What do you think of the new trailer? Have you read the book? Join us for the next installment, when we go over the next chapter and dive deeper into the world of Ready Player One. If you like what we’re doing here, we’d appreciate if you checked out our newsletter, followed us on the Twitter or had a look at our new Patreon page.
The feature film, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One arrives in theatres March 29. I’ll be there on Day One.
I’m Ready. Are you?