5 Ways 'Ready Player One' Actually Predicted Our Times
Mary Shelley thought about organ transplants before 1818, 1865 saw Jules Verne dreaming about humankind reaching the moon, and we'd later see William Gibson from Neuromancer fame accurately predicting that Cyberpunk 2077 would suck ass. The greatest sci-fi geniuses of the past have managed to imbue their best works with accurate predictions of what would become the most impactful advancements in human history, but the passing of time saw these predictions turn ever rarer. Isn't it weird that nobody predicted the Internet, arguably the most influential advancement of all time? With that sore spot, one would assume that predicting the crypto shenanigan-engulfed world we're living in nowadays would've been even harder, but we'd just be ignoring the facts to avoid the pain of accepting the value of one of the dumbest things ever made. Yes, it's time to accept that, for all of its flaws (and perhaps even because of them), the otherwise absolute piece of crap that is 2011's Ready Player One actually managed to predict quite a lot about the time we're living in.
It Predicted Modern-day Isolation
Ready Player One predicted a capitalism-ravaged desolate wasteland where people only ever get together online to play in a virtual reality land called Oasis. We don't want to give Ernest Cline too much credit here, but we're gonna go ahead with believing he picked that name not (only) because he loved the guys who did Wonderwall but because an Oasis is the best part of a desert.
Remember the 2019-2021ish era? Having our entire worlds fit inside of our tiny apartments sucked, but the few of us who were lucky enough to be able to interact with our friends via games like VR Chat sure as hell enjoyed it. Even though physical isolation is no longer the reality for most of us, many are still dealing with the unexpectedly difficult task of reconnecting with others. Also, the pandemic and ensuing socio-economic constraints brought various problems that may very well just worsen as our world also becomes hotter and drier.
Interestingly, Death Stranding also predicted a similarly anti-social-society, but it came out 6 years after the release of Ready Player One. That quirk that puts it into a pretty unfortunate position, that of looking like something that could've ripped-off one of the worst literary works of all time.
It Accidentally Predicted The Virtual Reality Renaissance Of Today
Consoles? PC? Mobile? Forget all that. VR is gonna make a comeback so huge it's going to be the only way to play games.
VR as a vehicle for gaming only ever thrived in weird trippy films. In real life, the whole thing crashed and burned in the ‘90s, and was but a memory in the early ’2010s when Cline was writing Ready Player One. That was the time of the revolutionary google glass, the game-changing Xbox Kinect, and whatever the hell those power balance bracelets were. Still, in an attempt to capitalize on the nostalgia of all the ’80s kids who once saw Virtual Reality as the future, he accidentally predicted that VR games would make a very unlikely comeback. We're still not living in VR (right?), but the technology is as powerful and influential as it has ever been, and shows no signs of slowing down.
It Foresaw The Metaverse
The Oasis is the metaverse before someone even came up with the name. It's a huge hub world where people use ugly-ass avatars to play games and compete for
survival a bunch of money that they won't use to try and change the world for the better.
The concept isn't exactly new because there were previous attempts like Second Life, but even though it had the weird avatars, SL still lacked the VR immersion and the supposedly fun games part. The metaverse is an actual thing in the real world right now, and it looks somehow even dumber and creepier than the one from Ready Player One.
It Predicted The Smash Brosification Of Everything
A world where marvelous ambitious crossovers like Who Framed Roger Rabbit,
Space Jam Fighter's Megamix, and Super Smash Bros are no longer just rare events. There will no longer even be a separation between properties as all characters will just be a part of the Oasis.
Everyone's first instinct would be to immediately look at what Disney is trying to do, which is eating every popular IP in the world, but that's a misdirection. We should instead look into goddamn Fortnite because the only thing it still lacks before straight up becoming Ready Player One is a VR mode.
Fortnite features cameos from all IPs kids like, but it also features characters that the target audience doesn't care about – just like Ready Player One. Even worse, Fortnite has already crossed over playing host to all sorts of events that don't even have crap to do with video games.
And if you think a trailer for like the 3rd worst Star Wars film is the most ridiculously out-of-place thing they could've brought into Fortnite, then allow us to present the second assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
It Predicted The Goddamn Blockchain
The oasis is the work of a billionaire that mostly runs on its own and serves its weird and creepy purpose very well, but it can also make use of the processing power of its poor users' hardware if needed.
A utopian decentralized economic system that doesn't depend on banks because all of the transactions go through the computers of its users.
The Actual Reality:
A world where people spend billions in hardware to mine cryptocurrency that only serves to destroy the environment and make billionaires even richer.
Now, bitcoin does predate the release Of Ready Player One by a couple of years, but, just like VR, it was no more than a tech pipedream at that time. We'd also need a platinum medal in mental gymnastics to claim Cline came up with the whole thing as a cautionary tale considering all the enthusiasm he has for the monstrosity that is the Oasis, but he got closer than anyone else, and that might be just the scariest part of it all.
Top Image: Warner Bros.