Ready Player One - Spielberg takes on the king of MMOs.


Is this the vaguely embarassing media preferences thread now? I’ll go, I’ll go next!

I listen to Evanescence Bring Me to Life.

It’s catchy!


Then stop by the Metal thread and @ArmandoPenblade can educate you on better bands of that archetype!

Might I recommend you start with Within Temptation or Delian?


I have very little experience with RP1, aside from what I’ve absorbed via Nerdcultural Osmosis and the excerpts in this thread, but to an extent, I kinda feel forge’s argument (at least in its purest, least ragey form). The kinda stuff you mention here has slowly come to drive me nuts. I recall this guy I hung out with in high school who was physically incapable of not quoting the entire movie, line by line, on a 1-second delay while watching any Monty Python material with us. Or a buddy of mine whose entire wardrobe is comprised of those “clever” nerd mashup shirts, like a Delorean wrecking into a TARDIS.

Like hey man, like what you’re gonna like. I like some dumb shit. Hell, @Zylon basically called me a slope-browed Neanderthal for loving the original Stargate movie more than I love my family yesterday. I might be slightly miscategorizing that interaction. But only slightly. It’s @Zylon after all <3

But goddamn does nerd/geek culture have this really (to me) obnoxious habit of just displaying/naming/referencing Beloved Cultural Icon context free and without purpose as some sorta, to grant it more weight than its worth, shibboleth or something. Like, you’re not really nerdy unless you’re just dropping a constant stream of in-jokes and snort-laughs at your buddy’s identical stream of in-jokes. And goddamn anyone not in the culture grabbing an ironic Mario-fights-Iron-Man shirt from Hot Topic.

I think that nerdy cultural artifacts can say some really interesting things about the world, and I think the experience of consuming them can have some real, meaningful effects on a person, create some powerful emotional reactions. Harry Potter’s a lot more than just whipping a $40 replica wand around and shouting “Lev-i-oh-SAH, LIKE HERMIONE SAID HAHA” at each other. It was stuffed to the gills with tender character moments and moving (albeit simplistic) moral tales and lessons and interesting worldbuilding and its own set of clever (and more than a few eyeroll-inducing) back-references. And I think expressing the wholeness of that, or at least more of it than just a giggled out one-word reference, is a far better way to use it as a form of communication between like-minded people. (The Doctor Who fandom is also maddening in this regard, paying little mind to some of the more subtle, moving moments of the show in favor of just repeating “BOWTIES ARE COOL” ad nauseum)

Or, in short, the “let’s see if we can cram sixteen context-free references into this paragraph/scene!” writing on display above just makes me think of the kind of simplistic pablum-as-“joke” humor that I really just can’t get onboard with amongst friends and acquaintances.

Fuck, now everyone’s gonna think I’m an elitist prick :(


Let’s get some Lacuna Coil up in that shit

Or Battle Beast? A little less goth-fabulous but c’mon dammit

I’m pretty sure SEMBLANT is really bad but damn if I don’t love this track


Is it any worse than sports culture? I see shirts all the time at my work referencing an athlete’s catchphrase or some trivial event in a game all the time.


Yes, very much so. And that’s why the constant barrage of references are integral to the book. They are authentic.

Also, they aren’t without context as given the plot of the book, deep understanding of old geek lore is absolutely required to solve the puzzle and win the prize. Without those references the plot doesn’t work. And if you replace Xwing fighters with “Space Superiority H-Class” or whatever because you didn’t get the nod from Disney, the whole thing just plain doesn’t work.

Thanks for the music suggestions. So far none of them are as embarrassingly terrible yet totally catchy as Bring Me to Life. But I’ll keep looking!

Recommend me some quality Metal

I’m not sure I’d call myself a fan of that either ;-)

As noted at the top of my post, I can only judge based on the writing samples I’ve seen scattered around, which just feel like the same sort of pained, mile-a-minute look-how-many-references-I-know “joking” that’s begun grating my nerves in the last 5 years or so.

I guess I’m glad that the process is enshrined in the plot, but then again–once more, to my limited view–that just kinda seems to raise that sort of conversation up as desirable since it’s the key to Winning The Game now. Just the ultimate expression of showing you’re a “real nerd” via mile-a-minute reference-dropping to another (apparently dead) nerd to win the ultimate geeky approval.

It’s possible I’m exactly 0 fun at Trivia Nights, as well ;-)

edit: I should also probably drop in that my casual wardrobe outside of work consists of 90% heavy metal tees, so, ya know, guilty and all that :)


This sentence literally and comprehensively captures the plot of the book.


Forgeforsaken, wrapping your insults in innuendo for the sake of plausible deniability, does not make them any less insulting. You should be in politics, you’re a natural.




I will note that those passages, dropped sans context, are probably the most dense and worst possible examples you could give. Other times you get something like making the arcade tradition of placing a quarter on a machine to designate you as ‘next’ and integrating that into the story progression.

We also see a deeper exploration of why many of those things were loved, told as only someone who loved them can. Sure some are gratuitous, the X-wing in particular has little plot relevance (and only appears like 2-3 times). But then you get Rush and Schoolhouse Rock fundamentally informing the story, and I am down with that. The very fundamental nature of many of those games isn’t glossed over, but treated with both reverence and acknowledging their product of their times.

It has one of the most authentic ‘this is who I was as a kid, and this is why these things are important to me’ moments too. The visit to the bedroom of the creator had a real touch of honesty about it.

So while it is possible to excise a few passages that seem like a jumbled reference soup, to describe the book as an empty ‘hey wasn’t that cool’ is to miss the point entirely.


I gotta admit that Lacuna Coil was my first entry into the wider world of underground music, especially metal. It was the first experience of music that existed beyond the bounds of radio, and showed me that it was good. Better than the radio for damn sure.


Magic Mike is a better movie than Interstellar.

There, I said it.


That’s marginally more encouraging to read, @CraigM. You’re bad at selling this book, @stusser!

Thanks for the extra insight. I don’t think I’ll be grabbing a copy anytime soon, but your post’s probably the first one to make me think I’d be willing to.


I’m sorry you’re as thin skinned as our president and can’t handle something you like being criticized without taking it personally. Is that direct enough for you?


So let me lay the sales pitch. We have a very Penbladian cyberpunk dystopia setting. The world has gone to shit, with automation basically creating a permanent underclass, and extreme stratification due to lack of financial opportunity. So people exist in this state of burned out depression, with the virtual world providing the only means of pretty much anything. Education, entertainment, hell even for many their only hope of marginal employment.

Enter our protagonist. A teenager whose home life is utterly devoid of any meaning. He goes to school and eekes out what marginal social function he has through socializing on this network. The founder, upon his his death and owing to his Bill Gates rich status, has created a trust that allows everyone access to this world for free. He even helped create the means for the virtual school system, and established the trust, so that the world can exist and evolve for all, instead of becoming another tool of the mega corporations to exert control over the people. So he created his trust to have a means of appointing a successor, a series of trials to prove oneself worthy.

So our hero sets off on a journey that will propel him on challenges modeled after the formative experiences of the creator. Through them you will learn not just what, but why, these things informed who he was, and what was important about them. Many of them can only be solved by not only knowing what, but why, something was formative. I mean one puzzle is literally solved by ‘faith, hope, and charity’ Schoolhouse Rock, where the key to solving it is literally friendship. It’s at once cheesy in the same saccharine way that the original was, because it was goddamn Schoolhouse Rock! It was indended to be an optimistic, if a bit cheesy, vehicle for teaching kids. If you’re going to make Schoolhouse Rock the answer, then it needs to have some kind of integration of the life lesson, you know?

All wrapped up in a meta narrative of our heroes trying to solve this ahead of Evil Corp*, who employs an army of hunters to try and discover the clues first. But ultimately they fall short because while they knew the references, they didn’t understand the meaning if you catch my drift. All interspersed with invocations into the history and memory of the creator, giving a look into what these things meant for him.

Basically the whole plot of the book isn’t ‘these things are cool’, rather ‘these things were important to me, and here is why’. Does it sometimes tilt too far? Certainly. Is it great prose? No, but it is far better than those excerpts would indicate. But it is an earnest love letter to geek culture that understands them, not simply parrots them for mass market success.

*not the real name




Yeah, I find it hard to criticize the book for the nostalgia, as the entire point of the book is this kid’s connection to this lost and lonely genius through pop culture.

Not only that, but the movie made a strong impression on me that the creator of Oasis suffered from his inability to remove himself from that nostalgia.

It is a really good book in the same way the hunger games books are. Not historically significant prose, just very well told stories.

I really dislike Wil Wheaton, and nerd Mashup culture as a whole, but the audiobook, narrated by Wil himself didn’t turn me off. I couldn’t put this down, I love sci fi, I thought the VR tech in the book was cool, and the main character is likeable due to his earnest love of pop culture and poor underdog status.

I should have despised this book, look at how much handwringing I did over the MST3K reboot… But I am not ashamed to say I loved this book.

Ernest Cline knows how to write an adventure novel, and I found it engaging. Looking at random excerpts make it look bad in the context of a forum of adults or on random Twitter influencer feeds. But from the perspective of the protagonist, a poor 15 year old, it feels exceedingly earnest


Sorry about that. I had to.


Way to make my subtext joke and run it into the ground ;)


I did not catch that. Sorry for trampling your subtlety.

If you want the better written adult version of this book, check out Reamde, though I am sure there is a backlash around that book too now.