Archaide was home to the OASIS’s largest videogame museum, and where all of Halliday’s trophies from the early days of his career were stored. When Wade arrived, the planet had not yet been swarmed by other gunters and the Sixers. He made his way to the museum’s bottom level, but when he made it to the trophy room he saw that the trophies could not be collected like he thought they might. On his way out, however, he came across a replica of a pizza parlor from Halliday’s childhood, out of place in the museum.
Next he saw an out-of-order Pac-Man game. It turned out to be unplugged, and once Wade plugged it in, he found that it worked fine. He also found that the game had saved the previous high scores, even though it had been unplugged—something the original console did not do. The next thing Wade noticed was that the score was nearly perfect – to beat it one would have to play a perfect game. Wade decided to attempt to play a perfect game. He played for hours with several false starts. When he was finally close to winning his last game, the Scoreboard updated. Aech had found the second key and jumped ahead of him on the board. He won the game and gained a mysterious coin that was added to his inventory, but no Jade Key.
Luckily for Wade, Aech decided to give him a clue through an email that proclaimed that they were finally even. The clue was the cover of the instruction manual for the game Zork. Luckily the planet that held the detailed recreation of the game Zork, Frobozz, was close to Archaide in Sector Seven.
Zork was a text adventure game, which meant that the player had to give the game simple commands in an attempt to beat it. Within the game was a trophy case, and to win it, every treasure collected in the game had to be returned to that case. Finally, Wade had made sense of the clue. Wade knew that the Sixers were close on his tail, that their device would have told them the location of the planet as soon as Aech placed on the Scoreboard. Wade won the game and found the Second Key. He rose to second place on the Scoreboard. Behind him, at Frobozz, the Sixers were clashing with massive gunter clans, and casualties were mounting on both sides.
Wade went to bed, but he woke in the middle of the night due to a change in the Scoreboard. Sorrento had found the Second Gate, and was now at the top of the Scoreboard. Eventually, more Sixers achieved the gate as well, and the “High Five” were pushed lower and lower on the Scoreboard. And then Sorrento acquired the Third Key, the Crystal key.
Shoto interrupted Wade’s despair with a call. He told Wade that his brother had left him something in his will, and that he had to meet with Wade in order to give it to him. When he arrived at Wade’s stronghold, Shoto revealed that the Sixers killed his little brother the night before. They had found his apartment and threw him off of his apartment building. The Sixers were able to defeat his avatar by killing him in the real world. Shoto revealed that he and Daito were never actually brothers in real life. He also revealed how he was forced to watch his friend die, and that Daito sacrificed himself so that Shoto might be able to leave Frobozz safely. Shoto told Wade his new plan was one of revenge. As he departed, Wade gifted him with a powerful samurai sword, to aid him in his new quest.
The nature of Halliday’s contest thus far had challenged Wade to play other games within the OASIS. It was only through these games-within-the-game that one might be able to achieve their goal. This is an interesting dynamic, as it levels the playing field. No matter the status of one’s avatar, no matter the resources one had available, what mattered was one's ability to play the games Halliday himself played and then mastered.
In this section, the competition actively became a war. Because the Second Key was on a planet that allowed for PvP combat, the Sixers couldn’t barricade the entrances as they once did. In the Battle of Frobozz, Wade loses his first virtual friend through the loss of Daito’s life. After the day was over, Art3mis, Wade, Aech, and Shoto retained their spots in the “High Five,” but Sorrento had joined their forces in fourth place. When Sixers eventually took their massive lead, Wade equated losing the contest to losing his life. But at this point in his story, Wade had begun to take the contest too personally. Wade became more invested in proving himself to those that doubted him than he did in achieving the goal he once treasured: to protect the open-source structure of the OASIS from the greedy hands of capitalists.
As Wade watched his advantage in the contest disappear, he began to panic. This panic inhibited his ability to participate fully in the game, and instead of working to find the second gate, Wade began to plan what he would do once he lost the contest for good. He decided he would give away everything he had earned and then kill himself—both in the OASIS and in the real world. The reader must confront how all-consuming this game has become for Wade. There was no world, no identity, without the Contest and the Scoreboard. Wade was not ready to let any of that go.
Shoto reacted differently to this shift in power. The loss of his virtual brother and best friend changed his goals. He no longer wished to find the Easter egg. Shoto’s main goal instead became to avenge his friend. In this way, Shoto’s love for his brother challenged everything Wade had come to know about the OASIS. In a world that wasn’t real, two boys had created something lasting and potentially devastating in their care for each other. Visiting with Shoto helped Wade in a similar manner in that he was able to realize that the game was not yet over and that he still had a chance after all.
Daito’s death highlighted the viciousness with which IOI was planning the game, willing to take a life in order to neutralize someone’s avatar. During their meeting, Shoto and Wade exchanged their real names. This moment is significant because it shows how the two began to reject the structure of their society. They have both come to realize that no matter how anonymous OASIS purported to be, they would never be able to escape their physical forms. Furthermore, it was this life in reality that had to be protected more than any other resource the two had access to.