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01 March 2013 @ 10:46 am
Ready Player One Redux  
I should mention that i have indeed finished Ready Player One by now, and the last 25% of the book did not disappoint. Some of my predictions were right on and some were amusingly off base. Of course it helps if you make a lot of predictions, some of them contradicting each other :)

Once again i'm gonna say if you haven't read the book, don't read the spoilers below. Go get the book and read it. (Unless you hate the 80s. And geeks. In which case you probably wouldn't care about what i thought of the book anyways. In fact you probably wouldn't even by reading my LJ in the first place =)

Spoilers for all of Ready Player One:

So i'd like to say i was surprised at being right on point about the Cataclyst and the coin, but the idea seemed so perfect and inevitable as soon as i thought of it that i was just kinda smiling and nodding when it actually happened.

I am kind of sad that he did not actually use the phrase "Please insert coin to continue...". From a user experience perspective i can even see an argument that it makes more sense to just say "you've got an extra life," because you wouldn't want the user getting confused about what they were supposed to be doing. However A: this is a book, so to a certain extent dramatical considerations are supposed to be given at least a little precedence over practical considerations, and B: the coin was an artifact, and it's already been made clear that artifacts _aren't_ intended for the common user and _aren't_ intended to be especially easy to figure out and use.

Speaking of artifacts though, what happened to the shield orb? Shouldn't it have ended up down in the pit with the other artifacts? I mean, it would be kind of redundant for Wade after the fact, but i still think it was kind of a shame that he didn't pick it up as well.

I was completely off base about how Wade was going to circumvent the shield, and i'm glad about that. It was completely obvious that that's what he was intending to do in general by setting up the false debt and infiltrating IOI, but my idea of somehow bluffing his way onto the Oology team seemed way too flimsy. Having the book briefly turn into one of those complicated heist movies was both more believable _and_ more satisfying, so double-win.

The only thing that really bugged me about the end was the resurrection. I didn't even bother predicting the "everyone else teams up against IOI" thing because it seemed way too predictable. It had already happened a little previously and i'd been wondering since the first gate why the top five hadn't actively tried to recruit any help. However at the end they finally did send out a general call to arms, and pretty much everyone showed up. And then _everyone_ got wiped out by the Cataclyst. Except Wade. Then when he wins the game he finds out he has the power to resurrect people. So he goes ahead and resurrects his friends. You know, the ones who showed up at the last battle because they had decent odds of winning the prize, who were already famous and in fact did end up winning billions of dollars because of the agreement to split the prize.

But the tens or hundreds of thousands (or more!) people who showed up the urging of Wade and his friends just to try and stop IOI, who had no hope of winning the prize themselves but risked "death" because they believed in a just cause? They can all go suck it apparently.

Wade could just as easily have said "Restore the lives and possessions of everyone who was killed by the Cataclyst and who doesn't have a six digit name" and it would have been done. (Just this once, everybody lives!) You could try to make some argument about destroying game balance or something, but as soon as Wade started resurrecting anyone it becomes kind of hard to make a case for not resurrecting everyone.

And speaking of things of negotiable fairness, it could pretty easily be argued that at the end when Og linked Wade's friends into his haptic suit so they could communicate with him during the final challenge that they were cheating. Of course given the shenanigans the Oology division had been up the entire time no one really gave a damn at that point. Though one does one wonder how Halliday managed to cut off that communication during the last part of the test. Presumably that didn't affect the hacks that IOI was using on their suits. And one kind of presumes that if someone had just walked into Wade's room and shouted over the headphones they would have been able to talk to him.

While reading the book i was wondering if perhaps one of the uncountable sponsorship deals Wade signed up for with barely a thought or his time spent working for the OASIS support provider who seemed like they might have some kind of official relationship with GSS would end up biting him in the ass in terms of the employees of GSS and its subsidiaries being banned from the contest clause, but by the time the book was drawing to a close it was pretty clear that was never going to come up as an issue.

Also, i was quite happy about the inclusion of Rush. In fact, i was quite happy when Rush showed up as a poster in Halliday's bedroom and made an excited tweet about it. As later events bore out, i am apparently way too easy to please when it comes to Rush references :)

It was interesting that there were pretty much no Nintendo or Sega references. The only specific time i can remember them coming up was a very "And Zoidberg" type reference when going through the collection of all console game systems. He lists a bunch of the older systems by name, and then "and a bunch of Nintendo and Sega stuff, and some Playstations and XBoxes." I wonder if Ernest Cline just wasn't a big console gamer as a kid, or if he just felt Nintendo and Sega were a bit too much of low hanging fruit? Or relatedly, maybe in his view they passed over the invisible and irrational divide of "too popular to be _really_ geeky"?

Edit: Oh yes, and after making a big deal out of the new Lord of the Rings movies in at least one point, i'm a little sad that none of the old Rankin/Bass animated movies got mentioned. Especially when he could have thrown in the bit of trivia about them being animated by the people who would go on to become Studio Ghibli.
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