I never thought someone could write a good book about one video game, but Cline has done it. Never mind the many references to adventure and action games from my era–they definitely added a touch of nostalgia, but the storytelling is good enough where I lost track of what was real and what was taking place in The Oasis (the video game).
The story takes place from the viewpoint of a teenager (Wade) in a future version of the U.S., who lives in “the stacks.” The world is so crowded, that they have actually stacked trailers on top of each other to compensate for the over population. He escapes the real world by wearing virtual reality goggles and a haptic suit. The haptic suit simulates being touched by objects and people in The Oasis, under control of a PC that’s running the simulation.
Thousands of people are searching The Oasis for a treasure of several billion dollars that’s hidden somewhere in the game. Since the game is gigantic, consisting of hundreds of planets, people have been searching for years, with no luck.
By virtue of Wade’s tremendous background of playing every PC game that’s every been created, multiple times, he comes up with the very first breakthrough. Unfortunately, a giant corporation also wants the prize, and will stoop to any measures, including murder (in the real world).
If you have any geek in you at all, you’ll enjoy following Wade as he solves several puzzles and gets closer and closer to the prize.
I enjoyed it so much, I’m reading the follow up, Armada.