I’m trying to decide whether this is a good book or not. I know that might sound strange, considering I was absolutely enthralled from start to finish. But now that its over and I’ve blown my load (so to speak) I find myself reaching over for the metaphorical cigarette, taking a deep drag and exhaling towards the ceiling. I now have time to ponder… and potentially make a quick getaway. Assuming I can find my pants.
Let me start by saying Wil Wheaton as the voice artist is superb. I feel this needs to be said. Right up there with RC Bray and Nick Podehl. I’m starting to appreciate Wil as a bit of a Polymath. Even if I don’t agree with his politics.
This is a very niche book. And I think can only appeal to (and be appreciated by) a very narrow stratosphere of people of a certain age and… what are the words I’m looking for, cultural proclivity. I couldn’t for example recommend this book to my wife, whose comment after a hundred pages would be, ‘seriously, what the fuck?’
I was born in 1979, just shy of the sweet-spot target audience for this book. My arcade experience was more Golden Axe, Street Fighter and Shinobi. I was more into Nirvana and Soundgarden than eighties hair metal. By the time I watched Wargames it was already quite dated. Although I (still) love some of the movies from that era. Willow, Ladyhawke, Dark Crystal, Never ending story. But those were… generally more fantasy titles and aged a bit better. (I can probably quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail verbatim). African or European?
Still, all the cultural references in this book made sense to me. Lets be honest, it is largely a homage to a certain era, with a story tacked on. Still… I REALLY liked it. Is that because I played D&D. Programmed text games in basic, spent hundreds over hours playing arcade and video games? Reading comics and absorbing Greyhawk supplements to the point where I have better understanding of the economics and penal code of Flanaess than the real world?
The Spielberg movie is coming out in two weeks. I’m glad I’ve read the book first. I’ve watched the movie trailer… and… well… the stacked trailer park looks like how I imagined it. And there’s a battle scene at the end of the movie with… the iron giant. Who DEFINITELY doesn’t feature in the game at all. Actually, from what I can tell… its going to only follow the book very, very loosely.
At the moment I’m true neutral (see what I did there) about the movie. Mostly because I understand that if you have a fight scene with Mecha-godzilla, Ultraman and Leopardon (a Spiderman robot) most people just won’t get it. So you have to tweak it/change the entire story for broad based appeal. (I’m one of those people who get REALLY upset when the X-men movies deviate from the canon) In fact the only super hero movies I’ve actually liked in recent history have been Deadpool. And to lesser degree Ragnarok (because it was actually quite funny in parts). I’ve adopted a wait and see attitude towards Ready Player one. Its Spielberg. He occasionally does okay. You know… Indiana Jones (only the first three)… The Goonies… *thinks* Gremlins…
Reading or listening to Ready Player One if you’re not ‘that way’ inclined, I can imagine, quickly would become like reading a treatise on the nuances of subway transport. (something I tried to do recently) Being completely out of my depth I got bored and frustrated really quickly.
So in answer to my original question. Is this a good book. I have no idea. Maybe. Only you can decide in the end. I had a great time. Good luck with your quest.