Imagine a future where everyone plays video games and is obsessed with 80s pop culture. And one lone gamer may be able to save the world from a greedy corporation in "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.
Its 2044 and Wade Watts is one of many players in OASIS, a virtual reality game where not only most of humanity plays, but also goes to work/school/etc. The creator of OASIS, the usual strange reclusive billionaire, has recently passed away, but before he did, he hid an "Easter Egg" of epic proportions - whoever can solve his puzzle and find the egg becomes the sole owner of OASIS. For years, many have played, but none of made any progress.
Wade as his avatar, Parzival, is one of many "gunters," players who spend time trying to solve the puzzle and find the egg. But so does Innovative Online Industries, a greedy corporation that wants to charge everyone to use OASIS, and will, if they get their hands on the egg. Their employees, identified by their employee number starting with the number six are called Sixers by Wade's gunter friends.
As Parzival, Wade's best friend is Aech, another student whom he's never met in person. Together in OASIS, the two hang out, play video games and eat up as much 80s pop culture as they can in an attempt to solve the puzzle. Wade's online crush, Art3mis, is not only an online blogger, but also a fellow gunter.
But one day Parzival changes the entire world when he finally figures out the first clue and stumbles upon the first key. His name is now on the top of the scoreboard. Instantly a celebrity, Wade is not equipped to deal with his new lifestyle and just wants to continue hunting. But while he has attracted the attention of Art3mis and befriended her, he has also captured the attention of the IOI and the Sixers, which can be dangerous. When the company proves they will stop at nothing to get OASIS to themselves, even murdering people, Wade knows he must call upon his friends, Art3mis and Aech, for help. But he's never met them in person and there's no way of knowing who they really are. Can Wade truly trust his friends? And can he, in the real world, romance Art3mis?
This is the gamer version of Willy Wonka - an eccentric wealthy man sets out to bestow the keys to his kingdom to a young unfortunate with a heart of gold. And that's what makes the premise even more delicious. This is a mash-up of pop culture and everything 80s with the obsession of social networking and online gaming. It is going to be solid gold for gamers and will entertain non-gamers alike. All I have to ask is, when's the movie?