In the world of Ready Player One, James Halliday was kind of a big deal. Like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. After all, he created the OASIS, a virtual reality game that had morphed into an Internet on steroids. It was a place where most of humanity went to school, worked, played and even dated and got married (or at least their avatars did).
When the billionaire video game designer died, you would have expected a lot of news coverage, but, it was the year 2040 and global warming and constant war had almost destroyed the planet. Most people were in poverty or homeless. Who cares about some dead rich guy?
But it was his last will and testament that made everyone drop what they were doing and pay attention. Halliday was leaving all of his money (billions) and control of his company to the first person to win a video game.
It wasn’t just any video game either. To win the money, players had to travel across the OASIS, finding clues and solving puzzles on any of 10,000 virtual worlds. All of the clues and puzzles reflected Halliday’s encyclopedic and obsessive knowledge of 80’s pop culture and players had to have the same. After 5 years, millions of players had not even been able to crack any of the clues, let alone solve a puzzle.
And then one day, Wade Watts, a poor teenager in a trailer park in Oklahoma City cracked the first clue…