Ready Player One

Ready Player One Quotes and Analysis

These games were outdated digital dinosaurs that had become museum pieces long before I was born. But I was a gunter, so I didn't think of them as quaint low-res antiques. To me, they were hallowed artifacts. Pillars of the pantheon. When I played the classics, I did so with a determined sort of reverence.

Wade Watts, p. 13

This line reflects upon how the protagonist of the story, Wade Watts, greatly reveres the gaming and pop culture of the 80s, holding the archaic arcade games of that time period in great esteem. This serves to outline the importance of 80s pop culture both in the setting of the story, a dystopic 2044, as well as in the plotline, where Wade belongs to a worldwide subculture dedicated to the study of 80s pop culture.

So I remained stuck at school. I felt like a kid standing in the world's greatest video arcade without any quarters, unable to do anything but walk around and watch the other kids play.

Wade Watts, p. 51

This quote embodies the frustration felt by Wade at his situation—his status as having the motivation but not the means to pursue his quest for Halliday's Easter egg. His frustration is made greater as he sees his friend, Aech, go on quests all around the OASIS simulation. Wade can't start his search without funds, but it isn't until he wins part of the contest that he will gain the resources he needs.

A massive marketing campaign promoted the launch of the OASIS. The pervasive television, billboard, and Internet ads featured a lush green oasis, complete with palm trees and a pool of crystal blue water, surrounded on all sides by a vast barren desert.

Wade Watts, p. 58

In discussing the history of the OASIS, Wade touches upon how it was first marketed. The advertisements for the game are indicative of the world that the OASIS promised its users-and hints that perhaps the creators of the game knew exactly what it would come to mean in society. Once the virtual world was created, reality became a desert, and there was no returning to the desert.

She made me laugh. She made me think. She changed the way I saw the world. I'd never had such a powerful, immediate connection with another human being before.

Wade Watts, p. 174

Wade and Art3mis' relationship is a vital part of the character's story arc. It is only after falling in love with Art3mis that Wade is able to face the limitations of the OASIS. Even when he first met her avatar, he spoke of her as a "human being" instead of a virtual person. The fact that Wade feels intimate about his relationship with Art3mis is symbolic of the power of human affection irreplicable even in the OASIS.

"You don't live in the real world, Z. From what you've told me, I don't think you ever have. You're like me. You live inside this illusion." She gestures to our virtual surroundings. "You can't possibly know what real love is."

Art3mis, p. 186

When Art3mis ends their relationship, she tells Wade that it has caused them both to stray from their goal of finding Halliday's Easter egg. She rejects that Wade could love the real her, and feels as though loving her wouldn't be possible without knowing her in person.

It suddenly occurred to me just how absurd this scene was: a guy wearing a suit of armor, standing next to an undead king, both hunched over the controls of a classic arcade game. It was the sort of surreal image you'd expect to see on the cover of an old issue of Heavy Metal or Dragon magazine.

Wade Watts, p. 82

Out-of-body moments bring a dose of reality back to the contents of the game, which starts and remains absurd as Wade progresses through Halliday's contest. This potential for absurdity is one of the most compelling parts of the OASIS, which allows any amazing product of human imagination to become a reality.

They put a hooded winter coat on me in the lobby. They didn't want me catching pneumonia now that I was company property. A human resource ...The dropcops were like garbage collectors, making their daily rounds.

Wade Watts, p. 274

Wade is arrested by officials working for the megacorporation Interactive Online Innovations for debt. Escorting Wade out of his home, they put on him a winter coat due to Wade's lack of wearable clothing, leading Wade to reflect on how the gesture was made not for his benefit, but rather to protect what was now considered IOI's property. Upon seeing other "Interns"—people forced into legal, indentured servitude to IOI—Wade compares the IOI officials to garbage collectors, but picking up human rejectamenta instead of garbage.

I would sit there and breathe the unfiltered city air for a while, feeling the wind on my skin. Then I would scale the barrier and hurl myself over the side.

Wade Watts, p. 239

When he is overtaken by his rivals in the hunt for Halliday's Easter egg, a despondent Wade, not having been able to make any progress for the last few months, decides to take his own life. Wade reflects on his choice to cut himself off entirely from the outside world in his quest to find Halliday's Easter egg and decides that he wants to feel the wind on his skin, to breathe the polluted air, before jumping off his apartment block, showing a desire to be reconnected to the outside world after his months of solitary isolation in his home before his death. Although Wade lives in a virtual world, it is the real world that he wants to die in.

"I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real."

James Halliday, p. 364

After Wade succeeds in finally uncovering Halliday's Easter egg in the OASIS, an avatar of Halliday appears and speaks to Wade, confiding in him that he had created the OASIS as a way to escape reality, and telling him that true happiness could only be found in the real world. In this, Halliday says that despite all the wrongs and injustices, the real world is where life is most worth living, urging him to get off the OASIS. Taking this advice, Wade later meets Art3mis in reality, where they reconcile over their shared success in hunting down the Easter egg. In the dystopian setting of the story, this call to leave the OASIS and venture into the real world is particularly powerful, influencing Wade, who now owns the OASIS as a result of finding the Easter egg, into deciding to put his efforts into rebuilding the world.

We'd known each other for years, in the most intimate way possible. We'd connected on a purely mental level. I understood her, trusted her, and loved her as a dear friend. None of that had changed, or could be changed by anything as inconsequential as her gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation.

Wade Watts, p. 321

When Wade and Aech meet for the first time, Aech is worried that Wade will be upset that she hid her true identity from him. Wade is shocked until he sees Aech's signature grin, which allows him to relax back into their friendship. Their emotional and mental connection was more important than any physical proximity or physical trait.