Movie vs. Book: Ready Player One

As many of you know, Ready Player One has been out for quite some while. Most people who wanted to see it have. But did you know (because I certainly didn’t until it was gifted to me) that Ready Player One was a book as well? If you did know that, points to you. If not, then go to the library, go check out the book, and read it. It’s  very good, in my opinion. Then, come back, and finish reading this. I hope you’ll find it interesting.

The premise of Ready Player One is interesting. There is a high school aged boy, Wade, who lives in the future, 2045 to be precise. The world is in pretty awful condition, and everyone knows it. It’s dirty, global warming is through the roof, and the population is skyrocketing. The only place you can escape, is the OASIS.

The OASIS is a high tech virtual reality system, created by James Halliday. As a child, James Halliday was not exactly a social butterfly. He disliked interacting with other kids, preferring the eccentric adventures of video games over playing outside. James Halliday grew up to become an advanced programmer, eventually creating the OASIS, a place where he could escape from the world and live as a part of the video games he loved.

When Halliday dies (which is inevitable), he creates, basically, an Easter Egg hunt. If you won this hunt, which happens if you complete the clues and series of tasks first, you would inherit Halliday’s large fortune, and control the OASIS. There are three keys that you must find (the Copper Key, the Jade Key, and the Crystal Key), which then unlock three gateways (simply called the First, Second, and Third Gates).

This is the picture of the both the movie and the book. This does not change. However, the characters, Gates, and Keys are very different.

In the book, it is clearly stated that the Avatars in the OASIS are lifelike, at least for the main characters: Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto. It says that you can hook up your system to recognize your facial features, and transfer them onto your avatar. Art3mis is said to have used that program. But, in the movie, Art3mis (the Avatar) is portrayed as a pinkish red alien girl with short cropped red and black hair. Aech is shown as a larger-than-life ogre, when in the books, he is described as a tall, blonde, Caucasian man.

When attempting to obtain Keys and pass through Gates, you must complete a task. This is true for both the hook and the movie. But, the tasks in the movie and in the book are drastically different. For example, to earn the Copper Key, in the book, you must enter the Tomb of Horrors (from a Dungeons and Dragons adventure module), then compete against Acererak the Demi-Lich in a game of Joust (a game in which two players competed to pass levels. You played as a knight riding on a flying ostrich, trying to defeat waves of buzzards). In the movie, the key is obtained by participating in a dangerous race through New York City to Central Park.

The difference is huge, as everyone know how to get the Copper Key in the movie, yet couldnt get past the obstacles. But in the book, no one knew about the Tomb of Horrors, other then Parzival and Art3mis. This is just one example of how different the Key tasks were, the other Keys (the Jade Key and the Crystal Key) also varied between the movie and the book. The Gates, which you opened once you achieved the Key, were also drastically different.

The one other thing that’s bothered me in the difference between the movie and the book, is the moment when Parzival and Art3mis meet in real life.

Meeting in real life is tricky for OASIS players. You don’t know what the person looks like behind the avatar, and it could be potentially dangerous (just like in real life. Never go to meet someone you met online without a parent/guardian/adult). So, when Parzival and Art3mis met in real life, it was a big deal (especially because Parzival had a LARGE crush on her). The difference between the meetings in the book and movie is huge. I was quite disappointed with the meeting in the movie, it wasn’t as heartfelt, or as dramatic as it appeared in the book.

When I went to watch Ready Player One in theaters, I expected something completely different. Although it was the same storyline, I was a bit disappointed they didn’t stick with the original tasks, characters, avatars, etc. But, I did enjoy the movie, and I thought it was worthwhile to go watch. But, you are interested in the movie, and haven’t read the book, go do so. You will NOT regret it.

-Sophia

Ready Player One, both film and the book, are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

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