So it seems that my choice for this particular entry was somewhat forced upon me as one of the options that I had contemplated for this week was withheld by one of my sources. So, rather than go through a rather extended battle of wits that would only serve to frustrate me, I’ll be talking a bit more about Ready Player One today.
I’ve talked about Ready Player One already in my previous entry on nostalgia but for a quick recap of the plot I shall quote myself:
“The story follows Wade Watts, a young man who plays the world’s largest massive multiplayer online game, known as Oasis. He is part of a group of people questing to find a legendary in-game series of events that will culminate in receiving the inherited financial wealth of the game’s creator. As Oasis is a game played by nearly everyone on the planet, that’s a lot of damn money, at the very least it is certainly enough to change the economy as a whole. Along the way he makes friends, finds powerful in-game items and even falls in love with a lady known as Art3mis who is also questing for the prize and is simultaneously a love interest and rival. However, he must reach the goal before an evil group of corporate sponsored players referred to as Sixers find the prize and use it to their own ends.” – Me.
Written by Ernest Cline, the same gentleman who penned the original draft of the Fanboys script (which I`ve come to understand is beyond awesome) Ready Player One first saw publication in hardcover in August 2011 and then in paperback this June (In time for my birthday, squee!) and within a day or so of the paperback release good Ernest Cline revealed to the internet at large that he had, in the spirit of the book and for promotion thereof, placed an Easter egg in all English print version of the novel.
You can imagine my jaw dropping then letting free a Cheshire grin as Cline explained that the Easter egg in the novel detailed a URL address that lead to the first gate. Within the first gate was an emulated original Atari 2600 game that players would have to beat. Upon beating the game they`d need to locate a QR code containing the URL address for the next gate. That gate would open for challengers on July 1st 2012 and would contain a second challenge that would lead to the third gate. The third gate would open on August 1st of the same year and whosoever was the first to beat all three challenges would take the prize. In this case it was a DeLorean purchased by Ernest Kline containing a screen accurate flux capacitor from the film Back To The Future. I reached for my copy of the book a mere day later and found the egg within the book in an hour. I then marched up to that first gate and faced the first challenge.
In playing that game I found myself finally understanding the sensations described in so many adventure novels of my youth. I was leaping past the guardians having memorized the timing to avoid them best while leaping through the memorized layout to reach the jade key.
I won`t even go into the sheer amount of frustration I went through finding the QR Code for the Jade Gate and how I prattled on endlessly to friends and coworkers about it as it haunted my nights after work as I scoured the game finding hidden rooms and ceaselessly mapping the game until I suddenly had a flash of mad intuition as I laid my head to rest one night…
But I digress.
For those curious the preceding paragraph does not detail any of the actual features of the hidden Atari 2600 game that is featured in the copper gate. It is an entirely metaphorical statement that is only loosely referential. I am honouring the spirit of the competition by not describing the challenges, enemies or goals in the actual game. In the end I may create a hint guide after the second gate opens for players and possibly a guide once the final challenge is complete.
Anyway I`ve long since completed the challenge and found the QR Code, though due to my own ineptitude I was too late to make into the first 500 on the leaderboards for the challenge. Even though I am ineligible as a Canadian citizen for the prize, the sheer possibility of beating out everyone is incentive enough.
I don`t even drive anyway.
Friends of mine on Facebook have seen both the copper and jade gates proudly displayed as testaments to my success. I`ve made my own Gunter`s (the in-book term for Easter Egg Hunter) Journal on my computer detailing all of my theories, discoveries and tricks to finding the prize. I kind of want to make a PDF of it at some point.
So what do I think about this idea? Honestly, a very whimsical and I suppose romantic (in the more antiquated sense) part of me wishes the wait to announce the Easter egg in the book took longer than it initially did. As it is the book is still growing in fans and spreading by word of mouth because, well there’s little else to propel it. On the other hand, announcing an Easter Egg Hunt to kick off the Paperback Signing tour of the book (which has no Canadian destinations, for shame) is a great way to galvanize fans and I certainly hope that the culmination of the contest ends with an announcement of a new project by Cline to keep interest to his fans.
I personally, would love to see an anthology book series arise from Ready Player One as I think the Oasis Universe is easily the most diverse universe in fictional history based on the sheer fact that ALL fictional universes can be encapsulated in it. Having authors explore the various factions and societies that develop on the different worlds in the game would be a wonderful experience for any writer and I think the series would truly lend itself to that. Especially if you show the fallout of how people respond to Wade Watts becoming the “God” of Oasis and taking on a more active role in its growth which would be met with various levels of joy and revulsion. After all even the subtle changes Wade might inflict on the game would wreck incalculable changes to the world.
But that will probably only happen if Ernest Cline himself happens magically upon my journal which I strongly, strongly doubt. Ah well, I can speculate.
So too does this work exist.