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Headscratchers / Ready Player One (2018)

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    Spending money in the real world 

  • After he won the money after finding the first key, why did Wade not buy anything in the real world? His uncle was portrayed as a moron for wasting real world life savings within the OASIS, while Wade did nothing initially constructive with his winnings, instead blowing nearly all of it on artifacts and a new haptic suit. I realize that he spent most of his life within the OASIS and hated his step-uncle, but it still feels odd. It actually comes across as an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. In the book his aunt's trailer was blown up almost immediately after he won the money, while here this occurs much later.
    • Even with the changes between book and movie, simply couldn't: even with Wade being dirt-poor and owning only a pair of gloves and a scavenged gaming rig, his uncle kept stealing his meager supplies, even blaming his gloves for his losses in the PvP free-for-all at the beginning of the story, and beating him up. If he spent money to give better stuff to his aunt, his uncle would have likely bled his account dry, as he still did, ending up dead in Wade's stolen haptic suit
    • It's also a classical instance of the cost/reward gambit. Oasis-based goods allow him to be more prepared to go after the next key, which is probably the point of the monetary reward in the first place. It doesn't help him in the real world now, but it makes him more able to go after the final prize.
    • Was the money paid in real-world currency, or in Oasis coin? If it was paid in Oasis coin, then he could only spend it there, even if some of those upgrades, like the haptic suit, were "real world pickup."
    • What would Wade buy in the real world? In the book, maybe Wade would have bought food or other necessities, but in the movie there isn't any indication that he is going hungry. His aunt freaks out when the money is lost because "that was our ticket out of here," not "that was supposed to pay rent/electricity for this week." His family is still managing, they're poor but they aren't starving or anything - they're saving up money. On the other hand, we do see him get in a pretty heated fight with his family because he borrowed his aunt's haptic gear, and it makes perfect sense that he'd want to buy a suit so he wouldn't have to borrow her's anymore. Buying new gear is constructive.
    • Though the above points are all valid, it's also worth noting that this is a world in which most people do make unwise choices because they are so invested in the game, and part of the progression of the story involves Wade coming to understand the importance of the real world and spending your time, effort, and money within it. At this point in the story and in his character progression, it makes sense that he wasn't thinking that way yet.
    • On that note, why are you expecting total fiscal responsibility from a teenager?
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    Clark Kent glasses 

  • Why didn't Parzival or Art3mis use the Clark Kent glasses throughout the film? It's introduced after fame begins to interfere with (and even threaten) Parzival's life and Art3mis pulls him aside to suggest that he should get a disguise. The glasses apparently work perfectly but it's treated as a one-off gag and never even mentioned again even when the stakes become much higher. The idea of having a disguise or needing one is just dropped.
    • Technically, it was used again later on in the film when Wade and company trick Sorrento into thinking he's in the real world while he was really in a recreation of the real world inside of Aech's Garage.
  • Art3mis is already famous in the OASIS at the start of the movie, though, and she still walks around unhampered by the general public while Parzival is wearing the Clark Kent getup. Why do the rest of the High Five, her in particular (since it's not said whether Aech is known for his prowess on the Deathmatch circuit), not suffer from mobbing?
    • They may know only her name but not what she looks like.
    • We are talking about two completely different levels of fame here. Art3mis is a well known figure among enthusiast Gunters, but for the general populace of Oasis her name most likely meant nothing. On the other hand, pretty much everybody in the world became aware of Parzival and that he was a clear candidate to inherit Oasis and become the richest man alive.

    Talking in public 

  • Speaking of which, why were Wade and Art3mis even talking about their plans in a public dancing hall? You want to have a date? Fine. It's also fine if you want to do some work. But please don't discuss your plans in view of hundreds and in earshot of at least one person at all times. This is even worse when we discover Art3mis is the leader of some "resistance" group that should know pretty well how to hide.
    • Art3mis, who's a professional at it, actually blows a gasket when Parzival starts addressing himself as Wade dropping hints about his life and his mission to try impressing her. Yes, Art3mis was actively trying to stop Parzival from hitting on her due to her Freakiness Shame shame about the huge port wine stain on her face, but also she was obviously aware of the implications of their action. She just couldn't stop Parzival until it was too late.
    • Wade saw it as a date. Sam saw it as a sharing of information between Gunters and may have been trying to recruit Wade (why else would she seem so flirty with him, especially since it was he who figured out the first clue? Wouldn't you want that person in your resistance? What she didn't expect was for him letting his name slip out).
  • Of course, the entire issue of chatting about sensitive information in public could have been avoided if they had used private chat. Or are you telling me that Oasis, the supposedly best multiplayer online platform decided to omit such a feature?

    Van and Tattoo 

  • Art3mis's Resistance and the Case of the Easily Identifiable Van and the Easily Identifiable Tattoo. IOI is only able to track Art3mis's group down by using drones to identify a member's face tattoo and their van's unique graffiti. You'd think that making your vehicle as generic as possible or requiring all members to remove or at least cover any ''really' obvious and distinct facial markings would be first priority. It's honestly a miracle they survived as long as they did.
    • The tattoo made it easier to identify the guy, but they probably could have done it without it, since they were able to track Wade just as well. The worst thing the tattoo did was make the guy more noticeable when he was shadowing Wade. As for the van, they find several other vans covered in graffiti, so that probably was what made it generic in the first place. A better question is why they weren't trying to track the van based on an Easily Identifiable License Plate (although a plate would be easier to swap out than the graffiti...) In any case, the van was parked under cover rather than being out on the street.
      • You're assuming that the license plate on the van was an active one. And you're also assuming that Aech isn't smart enough to switch out the plates with another van, or that the plates were up to date, or that the police force still bother to check license plates (you know, considering more pressing issues such as the increased crimes like murder and robberies escalated over the years).
    • Art3mis is an incredibly popular figure in OASIS, and even has a Twitch stream. That doesn't seem like a smart decision for someone who's a big player in the resistance.
    • Yes, Art3mis is an incredibly popular figure in OASIS, but no one knows her true identity. Samantha is clearly very careful not to reveal it and is furious with Wade for revealing he is Parzival. If he'd kept his mouth shut, IOI would not have destroyed his home, killed his aunt, and forced Samantha and her Resistance out of hiding to save him.
      • To be fair, she is the one who lured him out of hiding by inviting him to the Distracted Globe. Had she left him alone and had she not flirted with him as well at the Distracted Globe (come on, why else would she ask if he was working a full body suit or gloves and visor if she wasn't trying to seduce him in order to lure him into her group?), he wouldn't have been exposed. She's just as much responsible for her group having to come out to save him just as much as Wade was, and just as responsible for setting up Wade to be exposed.
    • The van belonged to Aech, NOT Art3mis's Resistance.

    Best line 

  • This is really minor but why didn't they have Wade say his epic line about IOI taking over being like "threatening to take away the sun or being charged to look up at the sky" (or something like that)? This, for me, is the line that makes the entire premise work, because it touches on a uniquely generational feeling. The premise of "pop culture nerd saves video game world from evil cooperation" is already a laughable premise for anyone old enough to remember a time before smartphones, and seeing that the villain's big scheme ("We can obscure 80% of the player's vision with ads before seizures start!") is ultimately little more than putting pop-up ads everywhere makes it even worse. That line is all you need to express the injustice of something you feel as a part of life suddenly being changed and restricted, no matter if it's technically a luxury. While OASIS is technically just a video game, corporatizing it the way IOI wants to would be like if they made you pay extra for sliced bread; technically your life continues on as usual and you never needed it in the first place, but something you took for granted has now been taken away and that line was the perfect way to say that.
    • Consider that Oasis isn't just a game, it is like next-generation social media, a source of digital schooling, a platform for professional telecommuting, and so much more. Everything from architectural engineering to microbiology would be radically transformed by Oasis's ability to bring imagination to life. It is explicitly called the single most important economic resource of the modern era. A memory of Halliday's where Og is trying to make him understand just how much Oasis has outgrown the original premise is central to the movie's plot. In our real world, the beloved commercial institution of Toys 'R' Us was destroyed by unscrupulous venture capitalists. Oasis falling into the hands of IOI would be like that, but catastrophic on a global scale.
    • Not to be overly cynical but uniquely generational feelings might be a hard sell in making a movie for general audiences.
    • Possibly because Spielberg felt that the main theme of the film was summed up in Art3mis's line "You're afraid to lose your shit," which is echoed in one way or another by a number of characters. Note how many people refer to their Oasis-acquired treasure as "shit" (Aech: "How are you showing off MY shit?" or I-Rok "I've got ten years worth of shit inside me"), which is apt in a way given that most of it is, in fact, without substance. It ends up being quite a commentary on materialism.

    Horror movies 

  • Aech claims she never watches horror movies and thus is unfamilair with The Shining. But then why would she have Chucky in her possession.
    • Child's Play is more comedy horror than straight horror, and Chucky has become more of a Five Nights at Freddy's deal. Even little kids kinda know of him as this pop culture thing.
    • Another possibility is that it was a commissioned piece like the Iron Giant was, and since the OASIS is basically the Internet, it wouldn't be too hard to find pictures of the character, a sample of his laughing, and any number of bios on the character to get a clear idea on how to build him.
    • Also, not everyone is afraid of the same things. Aech might not think Child's Play was a scary movie.
    • Aech could have picked up Chucky as a weapon and just knows that he is a murder-crazed demon doll. And just knowing who Chucky is doesn't mean that Aech has watched the movies.
    • Aech says she never watched The Shining, and that she hates horror movies. She could have watched Child's Play with others before, or even read up on the movie.
    • Or, even more likely: just prior to that moment, Parzival and Art3mis ran out of ammo for their weapons and were borrowing them from others. Chucky may have belonged to someone else and they passed it to Aech before Aech passed it onto Parzival without having any clue about who Chucky is or where he's from.
      • This is most likely the situation, as Chucky appears as an item that can be purchased from the OASIS mall during the shopping scene (you can see him as one of the items that Wade passes before purchasing the Zemeckis Cube, meaning that someone gave Aech a Chucky doll they purchased, and she might have had no idea that he was a horror movie character and passed him on to Parzival, which would account for why she says "Have a look at this little guy" when she does so).
    • Maybe watching Child's Play was how Aech found out that horror movies weren't to her taste? If happened to be the first scary film she'd ever seen, and had turned her off the genre, then she might have gravitated to the "Chucky" weapon because of a lingering impression of the psycho doll's ferocity.
  • More to the point, how can Aech (who has skillfully fought on planet Doom countless times and collected an arsenal of weapons), not have fought back when the zombie woman attacked?
    • Distracted by the Sexy crossed with being caught off guard. Aech was checking out the hot girl, was thrown off guard when the hot girl turned into a zombie, and is enough of a pop culture nut to never forget the Black Dude Dies First trope.
    • More importantly, just because you're good at an action game doesn't mean it makes you incapable of being scared when playing a scary game like Outlast or Five Nights At Freddy's. There are tons of YouTubers who have done lets play of actions and horror games, and they always react with fear when playing horror games.
    • Also, one of the Curator's rules for visiting the Halliday Archive exhibits (as mentioned during Parzival's earlier visit): You can't bring any weapons. Aech was therefore completely empty-handed against the knife-wielding zombie woman, not to mention the axe-crazed Jack Torrance trying to break down the door.
    • The superficial mundanity of the Overlook simulation may have also thrown her off her game. She's used to running into zombies in over-the-top postapocalyptic battlegrounds under alien skies, not outdated yet ordinary-looking hotel rooms. It probably had the same jarring effect as having killer trees and puppets manifest in suburbia did for Poltergeist audiences.
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    Sorrento at full power 

  • How is Sorrento able to confront Wade at full power again so soon after Art3mis blows him up with her Madball bomb? By the rules of the world, he should have had to respawn and restart at level 1
    • Oasis, by then, was mostly a freemium game, and we were already shown the Sixers getting almost unlimited fundings to buy everything they needed for their quest. Sorrento just had to log off, buy an insane amount of Oasis' currency, buy back everything he needed to restore his account to its former glory and log in. That's why he wasn't that afraid to use the Cataclyst against Parzival: he knew Wade was just too poor to even be able to return bugging him
    • Another possibility that it's a carryover from the novel. Keep in mind, in the novel, multiple users could control one Sixer avatar when they needed to. So, after Sorrento's avatar was killed in the Mechagodzilla, someone probably took over his avatar and started leveling him up and going through the challenges quickly while he was looking for Sam. After not being able to find her and was informed that the Gunters were approaching the Atari, he went back to taking control of his avatar, placing him back on the board underneath Parzival and Sho. And he teleported right in straight from having the second challenge completed. In fact, after the Cataclyst was set off, there's a good chance that someone was already working on Sorrento's avatar again. And due to the fact that Wade had the quarter, it literally took Wade a quicker amount of time to respawn than it did for Sorrento's avatar to be built back up for the second time in a row.
    • On the other hand, who says he's at full power? He doesn't show any signs of having bought anything except for whatever is necessary (if anything) to customize his look. I-Rok restrains Sho, and I-Rok hands Sorrento the only item he uses. We really have no reason to believe that he has any coinage or anything beyond what he's wearing in his inventory.
    • For that matter, who says he only has one avatar? He might splurge on keeping a bunch of identical-looking and heavily tricked-out avatars at his disposal, despite being unable to operate more than one at a time, same as a present-day billionaire might collect top-of-the-line sports cars despite not being able to drive them all at once.

    Driving backwards 

  • So in the whole five years, nobody in the entire world managed to discover the secret route in the race challenge? I mean, there’s bound to be someone who should notice that no matter how hard you try, you cannot get pass Kong, and that there’s probably some other way around that could bypass it. I mean, for all the people on this planet who plays OASIS, it should’ve taken far less than five years to explore every corner of the game, especially players who are explorers or completionists. Why is Wade the only person who just happens to realize “Hey, maybe we should go backwards and see what happens” just now other than the fact that he’s the protagonist?
    • Because everyone thought it was a race. Everyone stopped studying Halliday, stopped trying to find secrets and easter eggs and just wanted to win.
      • Clearly the world of RP 1 has never heard of speedrunning.
      • You don't think that would've been the first thing Halliday would've taken out in general?
    • Shouldn't that motivate people even more to find an easier way to win except just going along with the track, especially when knowing that they only have a fraction of a chance to even make it to the final stretch? Especially those guys from IOI who's willing to do anything possible to win. Well, at least that can be handwaved by Sorrento being an idiot about gaming, but there's got to be at least someone other than Wade who could think outside the box.
    • As one of the tropers points out below it most likely have something to do with way death is aproached in OASIS. People would not try simply because they believe it would be too costly for them. They would expect to hit the wall and either damage or destroy their car. Worst case scenario - they could zero out. Unlike Sixers, most people can’t afford to heavily damage or destroy their cars. Neither they can simply respawn like Sixers.
      • But this only works if people work by themselves. In a group, you could have your designated beta-tester, a member whose function is just to do anything they can come up with, no matter how insane it may seem. They figure out how to get the key, then tell their friends with all the loot and items how to get it too. And before you say that couldn't happen, people would fight... Wade gave information to the location of the first key to his clan. And at the end of the film, after getting the easteregg, he co-signed the contract with his clan. So clearly, teamwork is possible and not a rare occurence.
      • Even if you were to go in alone, why not have multiple accounts, with one account for beta-testing? Or are you telling me OASIS managed to figure out how to enforce one account per person? How would that even be possible? The only games with that function are single-player games and though OASIS may have originally been designed to be single-player... It's not.
      • It's not mentioned in the movie, but in the novel if it's discovered that a person has multiple Oasis accounts, that person is banned from the Oasis for life. They can't stop anyone from doing it, but they can sure as hell punish them if it's discovered.
    • Another possibility comes from a user on Reddit. And that the reason why no one has thought of it is because no one knew of that part of the playback with the clue. Think about it: The Curator was Og. He wasn't curating the Halliday Journals. He was recruiting and curating the best possible candidates for taking control of the OASIS. It's possible that the reason why no one thought to go backward, even those who had seen the scene, is because no one saw the last bit until the Curator chose to leave it playing for Parzival to catch on. Wade started to walk away at the moment just before Halliday makes the comment about going backwards. And since he has, as the Curator put it, "seen it thousands of times" to the point where he even recites the words spoken, Wade would know where that scene typically ends. Og purposefully let the scene continue to play to see if this young man, who continued to show up ever after everyone else had long since given up on going there to find answers, would catch on to the hint. Keep in mind, he also gave Parzival the Extra Life. So, the possibility he was susing out the best possible candidates is there.
    • A bit of a Handwave, maybe, but it's possible that talking to the Curator and watching a precise video sets up a "flag" that allows driving backwards to actually work (otherwise it doesn't). That's the way things work in most video games.
      • Jossed in the film. Art3mis saw Parzival driving backwards and performed the trick herself to get the key. There's no indication she went to the Curator to watch the scene before hand. The same is true with Aech, Daito and Sho as well. Wade would have told Aech to drive backwards, not to go watch the scene first then drive backwards. And Aech to Daito, and Daito told Sho. If it was a requirement to iniat the key, Art3mis, Aech, Daito and Sho all would have crashed.
      • Granted, that really depends on whether the variable set was local to the player, local to the game, or global to the Oasis, and whether the first key winner causes any other variables to be set (if you can't win the keys out of order, the acquisition of the first key would have to cause the second challenge to be unlocked, for instance). — Software engineer speaking.
    • So why didn't some noob discover it by accident? It takes one person to mess up the gears and hit reverse instead of forward. Have the film makers played a videogame before?
    • The race is a well-known, hyper-competitive thing. A noob just plain isn't the type of person who's going to try it. The people in the race are people who genuinely think they have a chance at winning it.
    • Perhaps the trick was to do exactly what Halliday said, drive backwards as fast as you possibly can. Doing it by accident and jerking to a stop or half-assing it so you have a chance to pull out and not lose all your stuff won't work. You have to be intentionally driving backwards at full speed for the flag for dropping the track to be activated.
    • It wasn't just a matter of hitting Reverse, it was a matter of hitting it and keeping on going for a fair number of car lengths. Anyone who legitimately hit the wrong control at the starting line would presumably slam on the brakes, not continue heading backwards all the way into the wall.
    • Also, people forget something. Kevin Flynn in TRON best put it: "On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy." Meaning when you put yourself into the shoes of someone in the world of the story, you see how no one thought to drive backwards. Your avatar has everything you've worked for during your time you've been online. Are you really going to be completely stupid to drive your vehicle backwards into a large wall, lose all your inventory and your ranking? No, you're not, because your avatar is basically you're entire life (including your money since OASIS coin also covers real world costs for food, rent, etc). I-Rok is an example of this, as he panics when Sorrento threatens to wipe out Wade's avatar with the Catacylst, not only saying he has "ten years worth" of items on him, but he books it when Wade and Sorrento begins to fight because he knows that he'll lose not just the items, but all of his coin. So, taking into account that you lose your inventory items and cash when your avatar dies, you realize people aren't going to put their avatars at risk to do something like driving backwards into a giant wall without a reason (unlike Wade, who barely has anything to lose and had a pretty good reason to go backwards).

    Banks 

  • In the movie, everyone fears dying in Oasis and losing all their cash. How come nobody considered opening a bank in this virtual world?
    • If I may provide a real world example of why this would be a bad idea. I can not remember the name of the MMORPG, but within the game you can create banks that uses real world money. The largest was owned by a player who built up his reputation as trustworthy, and offered great interest rates. Once he reached, I believe a billion dollars in game currency, he closed the bank, kept everyone's money, bought the most powerful weapons, and was an unstoppable menace. People in the Oasis would not entrust others so easily. Look at Wade, even though he liked Artemis, he didn't share the secret to finding the first key.
    • Probably EVE Online.
    • No it was Second Life
    • I believe it has something to do with the overall permadeath system. In fictional terms it's so a movie that takes place in a video game actually has tension, but in-universe I theorized in the WMG section on the book that the permadeath system (losing everything) is supposed to encourage players to be inhibited by some semblance of real-life consequences, thus ultimately preventing random player rampages and griefing. We clearly see early in the film that dying in the game is downright traumatic to some people; if dying in the game is emotionally equivalent to dying in real life, then players have the same inhibitions that prevents most people from hurting other people in real life.
    • But the point is: In a world where life after death is certain, but you lose everything in your pockets when you die, wouldn't it be tempting to stash your savings somewhere safe (perhaps in a secret bank account in real world) so it could be retrieved in the next life? Amazing how no one thought about offering this service. Sure, it would ruin the game's balance, but a greedy entrepreneur like Sorrento wouldn't care.
    • I guess I can't explain that, but if it helps I do believe in the book death operated on a system similar to that of some roguelikes; your character doesn't so much as "lose everything" but drop everything, meaning your next avatar could go to where your previous one died and pick all their money and items back up again. It's been years since I read the book so this could be wrong, and in any case we really don't see any concept of "looting" specific items and weapons from other players in the movie (just collecting their coin-splosions), but I'm just putting it out there on the chance that I remembered correctly.
    • Aech has a private workshop full of swag, so zeroing out would be less of a loss for her, but on the flipside, none of those things would be readily available in a pinch. It's a trade-off. Besides, would you really trust a bank in the Oasis, where there are already corporate entities like IOI buying up people's debt and literally working them to death?
    • As has been said, zeroing out causes an avatar to drop what they have on them; there doesn't seem to be anything stopping someone from having a friend grab their dropped stuff and give it back to them once they've respawned; it's a plot point in the novel that another character "wills" a powerful artifact to Parzival, so it would seem there are ways to safeguard one's stuff. There's nothing to say you couldn't stash stuff somewhere, but one imagines that this would leave your stuff vulnerable to theft (and there doesn't appear to be a limit, at least in the movie, of what one can carry on their person). Whichever way you go, there are advantages and drawbacks.

    IOI operations 

  • Why was IOI allowed operate the way it did within the Oasis? Why could loyalty centers login in the first place? They seem to operate like a private army in the virtual world despite having no authority to do so. Attacking the Distracted Globe club for instance which is probably a "no weapons zone" should get them kicked out of the system.
    • In the books, the club is a PvP zone, so IOI broke no rules. Essentially IOI is a massive gunter clan, and there are no rules against having a clan. IOI is just exploiting loopholes that Halliday left in the Oasis.
    • The Golden Rule, my dude. Whomever has the gold makes the rules.

    Wade's knowledge 

  • How was Wade the one to win the contest at all? By all logic, the one who should have had the pop culture know-how to actually beat the thing should have been someone who lived through that era. How come the winner wasn't some 75 year old who lived through the 80s and then just replayed it?
    • Living through that time does not equal remembering every little detail, especially in one's old age. Some people have trouble remembering things at age 35, never mind 75. Also, those challenges were not purely based in pop culture. The race was full of references, yet its solution had nothing to do with any reference at all, The Shining challenge required some physical capability to get to Kira, the third challenge was connected to knowledge of Atari games but also required an understanding of Halliday's reasoning to play games in the first place, and final challenge was purely one of character. None of those required someone to have lived through the 80s.

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    Signing the contract 

  • So what would happen if Wade signed that contract in the end? Would he be smitten by rage of Anorak? Would it lead to end of OASIS?
    • Just like with the Shining challenge, if you fail (or in that case, run out of time), you get kicked back to the beginning of the challenge. So Wade/Parzival would've been kicked back to the beginning of that test, or worst case scenario, he loses the three keys and has to begin the quest all over again.

    Fate of the IOI slaves 
  • Something that always bothered me about the book (and now the movie since it happens there too). What happened to all the other IOI slaves?. Did Wade and Samantha somehow disband IOI and free them, or are they just stuck there?
    • The ending narration in the movie clearly states that the "Loyalty Centers," i.e., the place those indentured workers were housed and made to work, all closed after the High 5 banned them from connecting to Oasis.
    • That still leaves the question of what exactly happened to all the slaves. IOI still owns all their debts and aren't likely to just let them go. However, the law is better defined regarding real-world wage slavery, so even in a worst case scenario, IOI shouldn't be able to send them straight back to work, just in the real world instead of in VR. Bottom line, the slaves are still going to be deep in debt, but they aren't going to be slaves who are worked until they die any more.
    • Let's see — the places that "justified" the slaves are closed down, the company CEO has been arrested, and one of those former "slaves" is now one of the heads of the most powerful company on the face of the planet. It really, really should not be difficult to figure out that; hey, maybe IOI isn't conducting business as usual anymore. IOI may well simply be a non-entity after the events of the film.
    • A multibillion-dollar multinational Mega-Corp like IOI isn't going to shut down solely because the head of their Oology department got arrested for multiple felonies, including mass murder. They'll have diversified their interests so they can stay in business, and disavowed Sorrento as having gone off on his own. It does mean that Sorrento is finished professionally and socially. No one's gonna touch him with a ten-foot-pole now. Also, if people ever trusted IOI, they don't now that their extremely illegal working conditions have to come light, and it's going to be a long row to hoe for them to regain any of that trust if at all. As for the indents, they might have been given proper jobs in the company or sent to debtor's prison. There are plenty of real-world possibilities for them to resolve their debt without enslavement.
    • He's not just the head of their Oology department. He's shown making decisions for and the direction of the company's business practices, and in his very first scene Wade identifies him as "the head of IOI." Judging from that last scene, F'nale is going to throw him right under the bus. Seriously — "We were systematically enslaving people on an industrial scale across the country and the planet" is not a scandal that companies survive. And, again, the High 5 — including someone who was witness to all that illegal slavery — is now the richest set of people on the planet and they own and control the world's single biggest economic entity. You really think they're not going to do something about it? They literally have all the resources in the world to go to war with IOI if they want to.
    • In the world of Ready Player One, both the book and the movie, indentured servitude is legal. In case you don't know, indentured servitude is a practice, historically entered into willingly by contract, by which one individual works for another to pay off a debt (in the Americas, the debt was frequently passage to the New World). It fell out of practice in the 19th century but was not actually made illegal until 1917. In Ready Player One, IOI buys up debt and then conscripts the debtors (the book has it that, to be forcibly conscripted, a debtor must be declared "impecunious," which here means they've missed three payments and are unemployed) to ostensibly work it off, though of course cost of upkeep, fees, and interest make this unlikely. The book makes it clear that some people see this as a positive thing, as it's a guaranteed job and shelter, with health care and a retirement plan; in the book, Wade mentions that there's even a government agency that monitors the indentured and makes sure their human rights are respected. The practice isn't a secret. However, The High Five's banning IOI's loyalty centers from the Oasis essential makes IOI's reason for buying debt and indenturing folks moot; they now have hoards of mostly unskilled conscripted workers who they have to house and feed and nothing for those workers to do. About all IOI could do at that point is release the debtors (or at least most of them) and let them work out how to pay their debts some other way. Just as the invention of the cotton gin may have extended the viability of slavery in the US, banning the loyalty centers from accessing the Oasis could be a nail in indentured servitude's coffin, as it's diminished profitability could lead to it's once again becoming illegal.

    No Molly Guard 
Why is the button that can delete the entire game completely unprotected where someone could bump against it accidentally?
  • Because there's only one person who now has access to it: Parzival. There'd be no reason for a cover to be needed, as Wade is the only one who can access the room. And under typical circumstances, most OASIS users are logged in at a stationary location. It was an atypical circumstance that Wade was in a moving van while being chased by the IOI.
    • I second this. In the book, Anorak's Workshop (which is replaced as Halliday's Bedroom in the film) is coded to where only the owner of the OASIS is allowed to enter. Wade won the contest, thus is allowed into the room and is now the owner of the OASIS. That means that only his avatar can enter and no one else.
  • Apparently, the lack of one is a style choice. From the production art book, we see a sketch of the big button, and it does have a plastic guard on it. They may have purposefully left it off for the prop when they decided to include the final chase scene, so to raise the suspense when Parzival accidentally almost erases the OASIS after Sorrento rear-ends the Aech's van.
    • This is the case, as you can see at the top section above the button two holes that look like where the Molly Guard's top connected on the prop in the actual film.

    I-R0k and the Cataclyst 
  • Since I-R0k knew the Cataclyst detonation was imminent, it seems like he could have escaped simply by taking off his real world visor and logging out of the OASIS. Is the OASIS coded to prevent players to avoid defeat by logging out? Or did he not do it because he panicked?
    • A lot of MMO games prevent you from logging out in the middle of a fight for exactly that reason, so it'd make sense for the OASIS to have that rule.
      • In the book, it's specifically states that there's a two minute log-out for avatars to keep people from starting a fight and trolling by disconnecting. We see this happen with Daito's avatar in the book while he's controlling Ultraman, as his avatar freezes in place due to him being ripped out of his rig and thrown off the balcony of his apartment.
    • Taking off and powering down his real-world equipment would've probably only left his avatar standing around awaiting the blast wave. He has to get his alter-ego through the portal to preserve its survival, not just leave it hanging.

    The two-days-per-week shutdown 
  • At the end of the movie, Wade decides to shut down the OASIS on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the hopes of getting people to spend more time in the real world. Well-intentioned, yeah, but doesn't that just mean a competing network can start up that's open on those days?
    • On a scale to compete with the Oasis? Extremely unlikely.
    • The movie never mentioned that the Internet was overtaken by OASIS, so it presumably still exists.
    • It never mentioned it because it doesn't have to. The whole of the setting makes it obvious that the OASIS has supplanted the internet, by virtue of it doing literally everything the internet does today and then some.

     The morality of two-days-per-week shutdowns 
  • Putting this under a separate folder because of how different a subject it is: besides the logistical issues that might exist with it, is a two-day shutdown really as "moral" a choice as the film presents it as? Obviously, the story has a very strong Anti-Escapism Aesop, so the guy who tries to encourage people to live in the real world instead of escaping into VR fantasies is presented as right... but by that point, is Wade in any position to fairly make that judgement for everyone? We don't see a lot of the real world but it's implied to be incredibly shitty. People live in abject poverty, the economy and the environment are both implied to be irreparably screwed, and it doesn't look like the government tries (or perhaps, can) to do much to alleviate the situation. To many - if not most people out there, including Wade himself at the beginning of the story - OASIS might be their only opportunity to derive any kind of comfort or enjoyment out of a life that would otherwise be unbearable. In fact, the kind of environment the real world is shown to be in the films is the kind of place that, in the absence of VR fantasies, would probably just breed millions of drug addicts and the suicidally depressed, and shortly after fill up with gangs and prostitutes and what not. Wade acts all high and mighty about how he's seen the light and knows (that is, thinks he knows) that everyone would be better off living in reality, but he doesn't seem to realize that most people haven't just become the richest man in the world, with a beautiful girlfriend and eternal fame. To him, no shit, reality is pretty great. But would he've been so enthusiastic about it if he, too, had to live like everyone else? I'm not so sure, and I'm not so sure if his decision to enforce his philosophy on everyone without consideration for their own circumstances could be called "good".
    • I think the idea is, if people are forced to be in the real world, they'll work to improve the real world instead of just defaulting to the easy escape of the Oasis.
    • It could have been done better; knowing that many people spend every day in it, something could have been implemented to discourage that. Like, "You've logged in six days in a row, you're temporarily locked out for six hours. Go enjoy the real world!"
    • The best case scenario there is, "Logged out for six hours? OK, I'm just going to sleep until I can log back in."
  • It seems a little naive that simply limiting a system- that can't possibly be used by everyone, and whose use can't possibly be the cause of any of the world's major problems, will fix things, but it's a step in the right direction.
  • Note that nothing we see in the movie indicates that the whole world is extraordinarily shitty, or even all that corrupt. Most of the people whom Aech kills out of the Doom battleground, for example, seem comfortably well-off. We really only know that the slums are shitty, which is not and has never been a new thing. Hell, even Wade's downStack neighbors can afford to order pizza when they feel like it, and for all IOI's bad behavior in-OASIS, their ostensibly-tyrannical corporate head can still get arrested in the real world by ordinary Columbus police officers. Just because three-quarters of a movie is set in cyberspace and the protagonist and his Love Interest are poor doesn't mean the whole world's a dystopian hellhole; heck, if it was, most of the OASIS would probably be a comforting refuge of simulated gardens and puppies and rainbows, not battlefields, killer racetracks, and Shout Outs!

    Art3mis's adding her birthmark to her avatar 
  • Near the end of the movie Art3mis's has learned to accept herself for who she is, so adds her birthmark to her avatar. But let's review when this actually happens. She has been taken and is using one of an IOI rig. When she logs in she's logging into one of the slave accounts not her own, and so her avatar is in IOI numbered armor. Yet she takes the time to update the avatar to her classic avatar. Then after the battle gets fully underway she pauses for a moment to update her avatar again to add the birthmark? Wait what? When did she get the time to do that? Also why did she update her avatar but not take off the IOI armor? It's the combination of the armor and the birthmark that informs the big bad that she never did get out of the building.
    • She's still apparently logged into her own account, even in the IOI log in. She's got her old avatar even when she's doing the grunt work. Presumably it doesn't take that long to add a minor birthmark to the skin — and, I imagine, customizing your own skin is free — but new equipment is what costs money.
    • Another possibility is that she actually didn't add it to her avatar and the headset she was using somehow registered it and applied it to her character (as to if this was something the headset was designed to do or if it was an error is hard to say. However, we see her avatar sporting an indent outfit when she was in the loyalty center and then a Sixer outfit without her actually accessing a menu to apply those outfits. Heck, we see her log into the OASIS and then come out of the IOI portal already wearing a Sixer outfit, with no time to actually access a menu to apply the outfit). This would account for why it was extremely noticeable when she took out Sorrento's avatar and how it's barely noticeable when she's behind cover with Wade and Sho before Wade zeroes her character out to get her to leave the IOI headquarters. She didn't put the birthmark on her character, the headset registered it and applied it.

     This confusing "play for fun" message 
  • I don't really get it. If games are supposed to be fun, then how come in OASIS that the way to gain some money and cool stuff is by playing it (while the BEST way to do it is by DEFEATING players while they end up losing their stuff)? Doesn't that actually CONTRADICT the "play for fun" message? Plus, since Wade became the new manager for OASIS, didn't he lift the "defeat players to steal their goodies" rule, replacing it with "defeat players to earn 1~10% of what they have without ACTUALLY losing them"? If not, then doesn't that make him half as bad as the IOI? And what about his "OASIS shutdown two days per week" system? What the other players, namely the dirt-poor ones, going to do then to earn some stuff? I've never read the books, but watched the film, so...
    • A possible solution is to set up a 'bank' of sorts, and place a limit on the amount of items (sans ammo) a player can carry at any one time. Such a system would allow a player who gets taken out to have a way to have some backup equipment on standby, and they only lose what they have on them at the time. This would lesson the pain of getting killed, while also preventing people like I-Rok or Sorrento from stealing things that other players work their cans off to get legitimately. Yes, it creates a case where people who've played for longer will always have an advantage over those who are newer, but with a maximum carry limit, that advantage will be mitigated.
    • Possibly this is one of those needed "rules" that Og mentioned, that Halliday didn't want to think about. Halliday refused to think of the OASIS as anything other than a game, and so kept it structured like a game. You could look at the High Five's closing the OASIS for two days a week and trying to get people to interact with the real world as not only an effort to rebuild the real world by getting people to invest in it, but also as an effort to protect the OASIS as a game. Mitigating the consequences for zeroing out could be seen as encouraging people to invest too much time and energy in the OASIS, which is the opposide of what the High Five wants.

     How do the cameo characters work in-universe? 
  • Are they like DLC that you pay for? And do they have any sentience/free will? I would hope not as then it's basically slavery.
    • The movie makes it extremely obvious that they are player skins.
  • Ok, I assume you have to pay extra though? Also, the movie makes it clear you can have virtual sex in the OASIS (although we don't see who the person is having sex with.) Which makes me wonder if you can buy a (non-sentient) cameo character to have sex with? I mean, I'm sure a lot of guys (and girls) would want to bang Harley Quinn (to name just one of many attractive fictional characters in the OASIS.)
    • There's nothing in the film suggesting that happens. This is veering away from Fridge Logic and toward topics that do not belong on this page.
    • It could be similar to how it's described with the book about licensed items: they're purchasable items that can be used by players. However, there is nothing suggesting that you couldn't purchase an NPC version of the characters, as there are A.I. Assistants featured in the book that are mentioned, such as the character Max Headroom and Wilma Deering from Buck Rogers mentioned. And before the big reveal about the Curator in the film, many people believed he was an NPC, so NPC characters exist in the OASIS for the film version. So, it's plausible there is an A.I. driven NPC versions of licensed characters, as much as there are DLC Player models/skins available. As for the sex thing, for the film version, there's probably a few modders who make those types of character mods available (as there are modders who have made NSFW game mods for games and characters from games. Garry's Mod has a subsection of Rule 34 artists who made lewd art with recognizable characters with NSFW mods made by users. Reddit has NSFW subreddits that showcases pictures of such mods. So, a modder making adult-oriented versions of popular characters for the OASIS isn't that much of a stretch).

     Why'd it take so long to find the right console game? 
  • Supposedly IOI was desperate to acquire the Crystal Key, and were hastily throwing Sixers into Atari's many console games, one by one, to find one that would allow the player to last more than a minute. Fine, throwing bodies at a problem can work if you've got plenty to spare. But why did they need to go through so many Atari 2600 games, when Adventure was such an obvious choice to try, if not first, then among the first dozen options? It'd be near the start if they were working alphabetically or chronologically, near the start if they were choosing titles by popularity in its day or by how innovative they were, and probably near the top of Halliday's "favorite Atari games" list, to judge by his love of immersive experiences and world-building. Plus, it's a game about hunting for three freaking keys. Really, how could it not have jumped to the top of the list of likely candidates? All those poor Sixers standing in line took a zeroing dip in frigid water for nothing.
    • Simply that they probably were trying the games most likely mentioned in the Halliday Journals. If you remember when Z was following the Curator to the Office Party entry, you can see a young Halliday playing one game. So, it's likely that they were making initial selections based on what was shown in the journals and then narrowed it down to possible "connected" games, like the Swordquest games which were brought up because they themselves had a contest. And it was then that one of the egg heads figured out it was Adventure, but got it wrong that they had to beat the game to win the contest. In fact, one of the lines of dialogue that occurs when they're starting to try to narrow down the games mentions Halliday still holding the highest record on Joust.

     Christine cameo 
  • So was the Plymouth Fury in the Copper Key race supposed to be someone's vehicle, or someone's avatar? Because if somebody's vehicular avatar can compete, then technically you wouldn't need to be driving anything to win. Which begs the question as to why someone hasn't run the race on foot as the Flash or Quicksilver or Sonic or whoever, blown right past the traps, sidestepped Kong without the giant ape even seeing them, and revealed that winning the race doesn't win the key, ages ago.
    • Considering Christine IS a car, she would more than likely be a vehicle that needs to be driven. Now, that's not saying that there isn't anything saying that there isn't an avatar version of the car available (which would make sense). But the fact is that for all we know, the car may have just been a regular 1958 Plymouth Fury vehicle that the owner (who is using the Lara Croft avatar) may have made red to make it look like Christine and essentially make it be a digital replica. Considering that Wade's De Lorean is also customized, as well as Aech's Bigfoot, it's not to say that the Fury featured isn't just a recolored model of a regular car.
    • Also, for the "running the race on foot" idea, there's a good chance someone tried that and Halliday had something in place to make sure those who are running on foot couldn't make it to the end (much like how Kong was used to keep people going on the path they were, which is why he didn't zero out Art3mis and Z after they stopped). Plus, considering how the OASIS is set up (especially in the book), there's a chance that the race was in a no-magic/no-superpower zone, meaning that you couldn't use magic or superpowers to run the race. This also explains why there were no vehicles that could fly that could be used to win the race either (and why Z didn't use Hover-Mode to fly directly to the end), because Halliday may have purposefully wanted people to be on the ground for the race.

     Queen of Cats? 
  • Is the Queen of Cats based on any existing character? She makes me think that she's based on an old SNES game and gives me Starfox Vibes.
    • Probably not, as no one has ever mentioned seeing any character similar to her. If anything, it's meant to be a representation of the Furry community in general, as there are various real world Metaverse games (including Second Life, which served as the inspiration for the OASIS in the book) where Furry communities exist. So, currently, no one has found that the Queen of Cats is based on any existing characters or inspired by any character from any film/TV show/comic/game currently in existence.
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