The creator of this virtual universe was a man named James Halliday who was obsessed with the 80's culture. By his death, he had achieved a multibillion dollar fortune.In his will, he left behind a quest called “Anorak’s Invitation” based on all the 80's trivia, songs, TV shows, movies,and videogames he loved so much. Whoever solves the riddles and quests associated with them will inherit his fortune.
"Continue the quest by taking the test"
Yes, but what test? What test was I supposed to take? The Kobayashi Maru? The Pepsi Challenge? Could the clue have been any more vague?” -Ready Player One
Most of the people who are trying to solve the quest are teenagers, called "gunters"-disenchanted by the world they live in and are virtual shut ins. One is named Wade Watts. He is an expert on all things 80's. He's spent years watching 80's tv shows and movies and playing through all of Halliday’s favorite games while trying to figure out the first clue. When he does, and his name goes to the top of a "high Scorers list", the world goes into a frenzy and interest ramps up. There is also a blogger he's been following called Art3mis that he meets and falls for even though he's never met her in the "real world". She's just as good at the games and references as he is.
“Dilettantes,’ Art3mis said. ‘It’s their own fault for not knowing all the Schoolhouse Rock! lyrics by heart.”
But, another corporation is working against all the solo hunters to gain the fortune, and applying massive resources to the quest-hundreds of people all networked together, as well as an archive of all movies, books, TV shows, video games, etc. Will Wade, the underdog win? Will he also gain the heart of Art3mis?
I thoroughly enjoyed the geeky references in this book, as I was a teen in the 80's and played my share of Atari games and Dungeons and Dragons modules. Something I didn't know is that in the Atari game Adventure, there was the first "Easter egg". In a hidden room the creator its creator, Warren Robinett placed an egg with his name on it as being the designer of the game.( I guess way back in the beginning of videogames the individual designers were not given credit for the game and this was his workaround.) I sung along to "Dead Man's Party" and other iconic hits as they were referenced, and laughed at some of the wacky lines referenced from my favorite 80's movies.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes popculture, especially those who were teens in the 80's. A thoroughly fun and nostalgic read.