Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ready Player One

I've read and loved this book. If you want to know more about it go look it up on Amazon or run down to your local bookseller and demand that they show you a copy. I don't feel like being your search engine today. It is a very fun book. It isn't great it isn't going to become a classic work of literature or anything like that but if it gets made into a movie I will enthusiatically watch the living fuck out of it. I will also happily read it again, unlike Under the Volcano which is a classic work of literature. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to read that again. Ugh.

Anyway the thing that strikes me the most about the book is just how wide the geek world has become. The novel itself draws most of its geekery from the 70's and 80's and believe me there is some classic stuff in there. Overwhelmingly the video game reffrences are games like Joust, Pacman, and Zork. There are references to dungeons and dragons, a cornucopia of sci-fi movies, and tv shows I have never even heard of before.

So there is no nintendo, Japanese culture isn't reffrenced overmuch, and much to my disapointment no shadowrun which is pretty much my rpg totem animal. It made me realize that our world has become huge. The second largest section in any major book store is the fantasy and sci fi section, and our video games. Now there is so much variety out there that pretty much no two geeks ever have to be built the same. There is magic, there is warhammer, and there is the whole galaxy of other games out there that cram shelves some of which to be played once and never again. There is anime and there is so much anime that two people could potentially spend far to much time watching, learning, and developing a library of favorite shows without having anywhere near a 100% overlap. I don't think people really appreciate how huge this is. back in the late 80's early 90's before a combination of the Sci-Fi Channel and Suncoast video really gave anime a foot hold in america the only way to really get it was through these weird underground back channels. Since we are still in the era of the vhs, and believe me that is a SHITTY time to be into anime, and the internet forum wasn't quite as ubiquitous as it is today people were watching these things untranslated sometimes paying over $30 for an hour long tape. Now it is everywhere, hell you can even get it in walmart now isn't that insane?

It is insane in a good way. Harry Potter, a fantasy series that is no better or worse than any other fantasy series took over the world for over a decade dominating sales charts. Its gone from me being made fun of in middle school for reading Wheel of Time and the Ice Wind Dale trilogy to me being considered weird for not reading Harry Potter. Something similar is happening with A Game of Thrones which is getting a major tv series treatment.

In a lot of ways it is a great time to be a geek. We have so many options open to us now that saying, "I like to play video games" has become meaningless. If I want cyberpunk roleplaying I have half a dozen major choices, instead of two. There are more games out there that I want to play that I could hope to have time for and I have everything from the past to draw upon. It is a good time, and while I love Ready Player One it definitely makes me feel more thankful that I am in the era I am now instead of the one back then. Tonight I can play Touhou an indie japanese shooter, while watching the new Dr. Who. Then I can take a break play Victoria 2 for a bit, hop on over to both City of Heroes and Glitch, before rounding the night off by working on any number of decks from any number of games I play.

I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know people have tried to get me to give it all up before and failed.

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