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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.
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.
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).
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.
- 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.
- The van belonged to Aech, NOT Art3mis's Resistance.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
- So in the whole five years, nobody in the entire world managed to discover the secret route in the race challenge? I mean, theres bound to be someone who should notice that no matter how hard you try, you cannot get pass Kong, and that theres probably some other way around that could bypass it. I mean, for all the people on this planet who plays OASIS, it shouldve 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 hes 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.
- 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 cant afford to heavily damage or destroy their cars. Neither they can simply respawn like Sixers.
- 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.
- Because everyone thought it was a race. Everyone stopped studying Halliday, stopped trying to find secrets and easter eggs and just wanted to win.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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. He's clearly not just the head of one small department. For all intents and purposes, he is synonymous with IOI itself. 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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."
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.