Review: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was published on June 5, 2012. This has got to be one of my all-time favorite books at this point. Now I don’t know if you’re familiar with exactly what Ready Player One is all about,  but get ready for a flashback to 1980s video games, music, movies, anime, and culture. Ernest Cline has hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s simply spectacular how many times throughout this book he can remind you of the simple things from your childhood. Ernest, being born in 1972, followed me by three years, but you would never know from the way this book works in the end, that ’79 and ’80 when this stuff started, that he was only seven.

Being that, Ready Player One is placed in 2044 where the real world has gone to hell in a handbasket, basically falling apart. Both of the stories take place in a virtual world called the Oasis. Put simply, the creator of the virtual world, after becoming a multibillionaire, dies and creates the ultimate game based on the classic game Adventure, were you have three basic keys you have to find, open the hidden dungeons, and the winner inherits everything. And when I say everything, I mean he inherits his fortune, his company, control of basically everything the man built and owned when he passed away.

As the game progresses, it brings you into the world of geeks like you’ve never seen before. It also makes you wonder what would happen in this world if virtual reality was created the same way it was created here. It would be very tempting to live the kind of life that is lived in the story by the five friends (The Top 5); that makes this story exactly what it is. What it is, is an awesome flashback to 1980s, including your Atari 2600, Apple I, Apple II, your trash ’80s, Colecovision, Commodore 64, and that’s just the start. Things don’t stop there. You’ve also got your Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tempest, Twilight Zone, and such a vast array of video games and arcades, that I simply just can’t mention them all here. Then you have your flashback of your music, which we all know ’80s music still rules today, including things like Def Leppard, and just for kicks, and you won’t get this till after you’ve read the book, but I wrote this while listening to Rush. And I’m sure others mentioned, over 50 classic 1980s movies including WarGames, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and so many others.

While all of this is going on, these five friends independently battle the big ugly Sixers. The Sixers is the name for a company that was created with the explicit intent of winning the contest and screwing all of its members. Its members, of course, could join and get all the benefits of information, equipment, game travel vouchers, and money. The Sixers’ sole purpose was to win the game and turn the Oasis into a giant commercially-based corporation. These changes would devastate the world that was created; it would alter the future and destroy everything built by the original builders.

I would rate this book a 9.5 out of 10. I absolutely enjoyed it, and once I got started with the audio book from Audible, I couldn’t put it down.  I binge-listened to 16 hours almost straight, with one simple four-hour break for sleep. It by far outweighs anything I’ve read in a very long time, and I don’t anticipate anything that I read going forward will measure up. I would suggest this to any 1980s fan anyone who had anything to do with video games, movies, music, anime, arcades, computers or anything like that from back then. It’s fun, thrilling, and overall just one really good, well-written entertaining story.