Seriously, watch the trailer, I bet you'll love it.

Many years ago, in high school as a huge fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation I was quite enthralled by the Holodeck. If you’re unfamiliar, the Holodeck is a room people could go into, but it wasn’t just any room. The Holodeck was pretty much a 100% realistic virtual reality where many characters spent some of their leisure time. It was an awesome place, everything was real, even the possibility of death, if safety protocols were disabled.

Since I’ve considered myself a writer pretty much my whole life, I was inspired by this and thought of writing a story about something similar. My thoughts were that if that technology was available, it would devastate society as people would probably prefer to spend their every waking hour in it, instead of living the real life. That’s about as far as I got with my story idea, I never wrote any of it.

A few years ago, I was told about a book called “Ready Player One.” Sadly, I didn’t read it, but the good news is that it became a movie. I just watched it and I wanted to share some thoughts and give it a recommendation for people who love video games and pop culture references.

The movie opens up telling us that this story is occurring in the year 2045 in “The Stacks” in Columbus, Ohio. “The Stacks” refers to an area where people live in stacks of mobile homes looking something like an apartment building. As the main character is walking around we get a glimpse of what’s going on around him. Pretty much everyone seems to be playing with what looks like our current state of virtual reality technology (visors). We also see a Pizza Hut delivery via drone, which is something that’s been gaining some ground as of late, especially due to the pandemic. He tells that he was born in 2027 and a few things about what’s happened to society since then. Reality doesn’t look great and it seems people use a virtual reality game called “Oasis” to escape.

Oasis is something pretty much everyone is participating in. It’s a virtual reality MMO (or "virtual universe" as stated in the movie & trailer). Here, people get to choose who or what they want to be, whether it’s a different gender, race, age, or something else, as the main character tells us. He also tells us people can go anywhere and do anything in the Oasis. Some examples include skiing off of the Great Pyramids of Giza or climbing Mt. Everest with Batman. There is in-game currency, which people collect to purchase items like weapons, vehicles, etc. If a player dies in the game, they lose everything in-game including their money, items, and progress. Death isn’t permanent as players get to respawn, but they’re back at the start as though they were a new player.

The story is mostly about video games, but there are also so many other pop culture references that you’re sure to notice, especially if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s (as I did). You may even find something you forgot about, I certainly did. These references are a big part of it all and I see them as “bling,” as someone who really loves pop culture references, especially relating to the ones I experience in my own lifetime. I really enjoyed watching the main character race in a Delorean from Back to the Future. I also really loved seeing MechaGodzilla and hearing the music change to its theme, which you’d notice, too, if you’ve watched as many Godzilla movies as I have recently.

The basis of the story is similar to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One of the creators of Oasis explains that “if you are watching this than I am dead.” He states that before he died he put in an Easter Egg, which players can find after finding three hidden keys. He says that the first player to find this Easter Egg inherits his stock in Gregarious Simulation Systems at a value of half a trillion dollars and “total control of the Oasis itself.” The challenge is nearly impossible though and the first clue is just something players have to try to discover on their own. Once they find the first key, they’ll receive a cryptic clue to the next, until all three keys are collected. Multiple players can find the keys and there’s a scoreboard showing who is in the lead. At the beginning the scoreboard is empty.

Unfortunately, the competition is fierce because a rival company is also seeking the Easter Egg. The CEO doesn’t play nice and he has plenty of resources, including a lot of people looking for it. Whenever one of them dies in the game, they get taken out of their station and replaced by another. Although, it seems as though competition between players isn’t so fierce as they band together.

I think it is an interesting and cool movie, although the many pop culture references are like toppings on a cake. As someone who likes these things, it’s kind of hard for me not to like seeing and hearing so many of them. The movie made me want to be a part of that virtual reality and I wondered how my avatar would look (probably similar to the main character with all the blue) and what I would drive. Speaking of which, I think I saw a Chocobo!

“Ready Player Two” has already been published and production of it as a movie has already begun.

Have you heard of Ready Player One? Have you read the book or watched the movie? What do you think about virtual reality? Have you experienced VR? I have not yet. What do you think would happen to society if we had similar technology now? Do you know anything about “Ready Player Two?” Let me know what you think!


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