80's Pop-culture and Gaming Nostalgia abound in Ready Player One

Why I find Ready Player One to be a great book to recommend to gamer and pop-culture buffs of my generation.

Like most college students, I don't typically have much time for leisurely reading. So when I first got this book in a Loot Crate some number of months ago, it went from the box to the bookshelf to be ignored for an indeterminate amount of time. I finally got around to reading Ready Player One when I took some time off of school, and boy, do I wish that I had read it sooner. 

For those wanting to know more about the book, the story follows Wade Watts, your typical teenager living in the energy crisis society of 2044. To escape his bleak existence, Wade, like so many others, turns to the OASIS; a virtual utopia in which players can wield magic and technology to live in a fantasy of their choosing. The creator of the OASIS also left its users with the ultimate quest; all of his amassed riches and a controlling share of stocks in his business for the first to solve his 3 riddles. 

This book, just like a modern-day RPG, has more than just the main story going for it. Sprinkled throughout the book are mentions to things that take me back to simpler days; pop-culture references from things that I grew up with. If you're an 80's baby like I am, there is much nostalgia to be had in this book. There are references to games like Joust, an old arcade favorite I played down at the local laundromat more than a few times, or British sitcom Spaced; my first introduction to the hilarity of Simon Pegg. And let's not forget great movies like Wargames or the plethora of Dungeons and Dragons references. All this took me back to my early days of Saturday morning cartoons, cheesy 80's movies montage scenes, and when the NES was king of the hill. I ended up hunting down a few of my old favorite games just to scratch that nostalgia itch (Joust, Double Dragon, and Gauntlet specifically).

If this piques your interest, then I'd highly suggest picking this book up. For those of you out there that don't have the time to fit a book into your busy schedule you're in luck, as they are making it into a movie. And it's not just any they, it's legendary director Steven Spielberg; which is quite fitting as the story takes place in Ohio and Spielberg hails from Ohio. The unfortunate reality of this is that the movie isn't slotted for release until March 2018, so you're going to have to wait some time to experience this well-crafted and immersive story. 


Lover of gaming since he first wrapped his hands around the original GameBoy, to draining his allowance away at the local laundromat arcade cabinets as a kid, and now broadcasting his adventures on twitch.tv Justin practically dreams in pixels. When he’s not playing games he’s typically found prototyping a game concept or consuming otherworldly amounts of caffeine.

Published Aug. 24th 2016

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