Will Ready Player One Ever Become a Real Game?

Ready Player One Game

Ready Player One is a book written by Ernest Cline in 2011. On March 30, 2018, the feature length film will debut in movie theaters, but will there ever be a real virtual reality game like the one found in Ready Player One?

In the novel, The OASIS is a virtual universe, containing thousands of worlds. It functions both as an Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) and as a virtual society, complete with OASIS currency.

Imaging if Facebook came out with an Oculus-Enabled Facebook where people could meet, interact, learn, work, and play online instead of in real life (IRL). That’s basically what The OASIS is, but could it ever actually be made?

Simulation games from stock trading to The Sims have been popular ever since computers became popular, but so far Virtual Reality (VR) has been out of the reach of what technology could handle. But that may be changing.

Computers are getting smaller and faster every few years, but also there has been increased effort in understanding how the brain interprets visual information which is critical for how VR environments work.

Hardware and software is being developed that will allow intensely real-like environments that VR provides. The brain is incredibly adaptable and can easily assimilate into an environment that is initially foreign.

People have long been fascinated with existential ideas about what makes reality real and what it means to live inside a simulation. As we move closer to this new world of VR games and lifestyle, we’re about to find out.

Looking Back on Virtual Reality

My grandson using a cardboard VR headset.

My grandson using a cardboard VR headset.

When my kids were teenagers I used to wonder why they spent all their time on Snapchat, Peach, and Tinder, but it’s been fun to watch them fret over their kids’ obsession with virtual reality.

While my kids grew up playing Minecraft, my grandkids have grew up in Minecraft. For what it’s worth, I enjoy hanging out online. I have a house on Mars right next to Elon Musk.

When I was young Facebook was something you looked at through a screen. It seems so primitive now, kind of how books seemed to us when dial-up first came around.

I remember when I got my first headset (this was before VR contact lenses came out). Facebook had just started allowing people to meet virtually in rooms.

At first it was simple. You could change the background on the walls and swap out chairs and furniture. It was kind of like The Sims. But then people started wanting to go “outside”.

That’s when Facebook launched Oculus Outside, the online realm where we all now spend most of our time. 

It seems odd that we all used to drive to work. At least now when we do need to go somewhere that driverless cars allow us to stay jacked in.

I’ve tried different gear over the years – from Samsung to Microsoft – but my favorite is Nintendo.

Nintendo mistakenly missed out on the mobile app phenomenon from 2007-2017, but leapfrogged and dominated VR starting in 2018 just as self driving cars started gaining popularity in America.

I’m young enough to remember the NES and what it was like to play Super Mario Bros the first time. Now I help people who get stuck on Super Mario Planet as a full time job.

If someone would have told me when I was 35 that when I was 65 I’d be doing virtual tech support for avatars inside a virtual world I would have said, “Only in The SDN.”

On Making Gnomes: How The Sims Made Me an Entrepreneur

Sims Woodworking Gnomes

Shortly after my wife and I first moved into our first home together, we created a game room. We had consoles and PCs and a single bed we used as a couch. One of the games we liked to play was The Sims.

In The Sims: Livin’ Large, there is a “KraftMatic Woodworking Table” where Sims can carve gnomes out of blocks of wood. At first, gnomes might only sell for $1, but as the Sim’s Mechanical skill improves, they will increase in price.

One day after my wife and I were sitting there watching a simulated person build something and sell it while we sat watching, a simultaneous ‘light bulb’ went off in our heads when we both realized we could ‘build gnomes’ in real life.

We never played The Sims again.

My wife started a custom knitting company, became a lactation consultant, and is now selling essential oils and making soap. I started out doing handyman work, started a web design company, and started a career in IT.