“Ready Player One” on the outset, is a yet another young adult genre. Its main protagonist claimed herself (or himself, in this case) to be no more than just an ordinary teenager. But as the story progresses, this “ordinary” teenager would becomes a reluctant hero that saves the world against the Power that Be.
What makes “Ready Player One” a notch more enjoyable for me, compared to other young adult genre, is that Video Games took a big big role in the book. There was a prevalent virtual world in the book’s universe quite similar to “Second Life.” That is if “Second Life” is at least as massive and significantly more prevalent as Facebook nowadays (does “Second Life” is still live?).
It also borrows heavily on MMORPG concept which strikes a familiar tune to yours truly here. To an uninitiated, in an MMORPG world, you run around in a virtual world, doing quests, solving puzzles, killing monsters, and getting rewards in doing so.
In “Ready Player One,” the virtual world has evolved to become its own “real world.” It has real economy, real (and clear) social status within, real job, real school system, and for a lot of people, just like our hero, a real life. Because for them, the real real life is too depressing.
Anyways, it so happens that the virtual world creator (or founder, which better fits the theme of the book) has left a series of cryptic clues that will led the solver to a hidden “treasure” inside this virtual world. This “treasure” would allow anyone who found and possess it with what many would’ve guessed as near as unlimited power as you could get within the virtual world.
And because the virtual world in this book is essentially the “real world” with real economy and real currency the “treasure” is priceless. It was worth killing for so to speak. And the hunt becomes a world-wide obsession with some groups forming some kind of an evil alliance that will do everything, extortion, mass murder, everything to reach the “treasure” ahead of everyone else.
Naturally, our hero solves the first clue first and because the high-score system visible to anyone inside the virtual world, it puts a big target on his back. The hunt now revolves around him.
The clues are another reason I fell prey to this book as they includes a number of obscure references that I’m actually familiar with. Rush (that progressive old-school band hailing from Canada) is a prime example of it. I would not say that nobody ever heard of Rush but I could imagine that the intersection between those who are familiar with Rush and also read this book to be quite small.
But at the end of the day, the book is still a young adult book. A fast read, but not very rewarding because you felt that you had read something similar before. I’m still looking forward for the film’s adaptation though, and with Steven Spielberg on helm, it should be interesting.