Strap Your Goggles On – Ready Player One and Virtual Reality Image

Virtual reality – once a figment of science fiction, now a very real prospect to be owned and enjoyed in homes, schools and workplaces around the world. From augmented vision through phones and glasses to 3D experiences within a computer-generated simulation, this upcoming technology is positively bursting with possibility, innovation and opportunity. There are online roleplaying games. There are virtual chatrooms, there’s education and fun. But just how far can a few motion sensors and goggles really go? Where can virtual reality take us? So asks Ready Player One – a book-to-film adaptation starring the ever-alliterative protagonist Wade Watts.

2045. Much of Earth lives in poverty and despair – your average dystopian landscape, to say the least. The creator of the multi-billion-dollar OASIS tech (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) has died, and his fortune will go to the lucky player first able to track down his clues. This is an easter egg hunt with high stakes. Billion-dollar stakes, taking place within a virtual world. Worth a watch? Considering a ticket for the midnight release? Here’s all the info you’ll need.

What to Expect

Homage – to pop culture, to the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and more. Ready Player One is a current story in every sense. 2045 isn’t so far away, and its people are yet to forget the galloping soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings or the raging speed of an 88mph DeLorean. As unique as it may seem, virtual reality is still a kind of game. It’s a form of entertainment – one takes on a handle (“Parzival”, in the case of Wade Watts) and creates their avatar. In essence, the novel – and the film too – are not so different from the tabletop RPGs of the past, nor the ever-popular MMORPGs of modernity. What exactly is an RPG though? It’s a role playing game, a game with role playing elements (such as character progression, deep narrative, interactive worlds). One assumes a character and enters to any degree into the mindset of a new person – much like within virtual reality. Both the book and movie of Ready Player One assume parts and wholes of role-playing – the world of OASIS is interactive almost to a dangerous degree, its narrative as rich as its inhabitants, all personally customised. Ready Player One seems to offer a glimpse into the possible future of strategy gaming and RPGs perhaps, of the components of an RPG game, as players step onto the board rather than look down from above. Beyond that though, there’s adventure. Without spoiling too much, Wade isn’t the only one racing for the up for grabs prize. Expect action, a little romance, and a dib and a dab of the usual blockbuster formula. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Applicability – Virtual Reality Today

Who knows where virtual reality will be in a several decades time. Heck, the tech itself didn’t exist outside of the imagination up until recently. Right now it’s rudimentary at best. Each and every company is taking their shot at it, but all have their fair share of bugs, breakages and nausea-inducing motion sickness. Only time will tell. For now, the difference between film and reality is staggering.

Sequels, Sagas and Further Franchise

Maybe you’ve already read the book. Maybe you eventually see the movie. Hooked on the world? The characters? The premise? Worry not, for a sequel is in the works. Writer Ernest Cline has confirmed that Ready Player Two (not the actual title as of yet) is slowly coming to bear and may soon be not so virtual itself. Not a surprise, really – with all the attention of a movie deal, directed by Steven Spielberg no less, a sequel could easily be the next step in a new classic franchise – a franchise of the kind that finds itself referenced in the very likes of Player One itself.

Whether you’re a sci-fi lover or simply a loyal fan of the work, it should definitely be on your watch list come spring. Ready Player One is in theaters March 30th 2018.

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