Last May I reviewed Ernest Cline’s sci-fi action title Ready Player One. The book absorbed me utterly- I did little else until I finished reading it, and even then it wasn’t enough.
Onto the author’s homepage I went in search of more of OASIS and Wade Watts, more nostalgia intertwined with futuristic possibility. I was not alone. There I discovered a large fan base offering everything from their favorite nostalgia to their views on the characters and their rather grim dystopian universe. One thread in particular grabbed my attention- the mention of Warner Bros. purchase of the movie rights back in 2010.
The fan base welcomed this with a serious case of excitement mixed with trepidation. Will it come to pass? Who would direct and star? Would a story that relies so heavily on licensed nostalgia translate well, or would all that made the story so engaging be lost in negotiations and rewrites?
Last week, the fan base rejoiced in two things; Warner Bros. announced plans to finally make the movie AND that they got Steven Spielberg to direct.
The script has been in development for some time now, and with the author involved I’m not too worried about that particular.
What does worry me is how Spielberg will bring the virtual reality world that is OASIS to the big screen in a believable way. In the book, you’re dropped into this virtual world where most people live their true lives, away from the hell that the real world has become since the economy crashed hard (for a more in-depth view of the world of Ready Player One, go here). The budget will likely be spent on this feature alone. That is, if the rights to use all the licensed games, music, and other 80’s references are cleared without too much fuss..
This is the second big part of the book; nostalgic pop culture and video games. The creation and evolution, as well as the actual playing of certain classic titles like Joust and Pac-Man are what carry the action in the storyline. Coupled with references to pop culture from that era, it’s a trip down memory lane for many fans (even those who weren’t born yet). This is something that can’t just be omitted if the book is to keep it’s allure intact through the movie process.
There are a LOT of great titles that were strong in print, but fell apart when someone tried to bring them to life; think Howard the Duck for the most cringe-inducing example. Fingers crossed that having such a big name like Spielberg involved in the project will help keep the core of what made Ready Player One such a great read intact.
Cline is keeping fans in the loop with updates on his official Ready Player One movie page here, if you’re interested in following the process.
Oh, and his next book, Armada, hits the shelves July 14th. I MAY have already pre-ordered it for a future review…and because I loved the hell out of RPO.
If you now have a serious case of nostalgia, there’s dozens of rom sites like OpenEmu where you can play the games mentioned in the book (if you’re having trouble finding a good site, go to Reddit for links and the community’s opinions on who offers the best what).
If 8-bit isn’t your style, Royston Ross created the first level from Super Mario 64 in HD that plays in a browser. As of this post, said browser page was crashed due to traffic, but you can play a downloadable version from the developer’s page here.
Another fun nostalgic fix are the musical stylings of YouTube’s Starbomb, a band made up of Ninja Sex Party and Egoraptor. The songs are video game parodies, mostly titles from the 80’s and 90’s. NSFW/NSFKids as there’s f-bombs and adult-ish humor.
The first album is uploaded in full on YouTube to promote their latest offering, Player Select. Both albums are also available on iTunes, Amazon Music, and in physical format (links under the video). Check it out here and prepare to laugh your butt off. So much win.