Ready Player Once Again – All References in the novel

And the obsession continues!  I saw the movie twice already, and it’s much better the second time around.  I caught much more that I missed the first time, and I could even watch it again. And again.  But I’ll wait for the 4K release and save some money.  As my previous post explained, the movie is totally different than the book, and I found this list on the web recently and just HAD to add it to my website for quick reference.  I even added a few references that were missing from it.  I think it’s pretty complete at this point:

Ready Player One – All References In The Novel

Games referenced

  • Adventure including Warren Robinett‘s Easter egg.
  • Akalabeth
  • Action comics
  • Mad Better or Verse
  • Asteroids
  • Astrosmash
  • Battlezone
  • Bedlam
  • Berzerk
  • BurgerTime
  • Centipede
  • Combat
  • Contra
  • Defender
  • Dig Dug
  • Donkey Kong
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • E.T.
  • Golden Axe
  • Heavy Barrel
  • Ikari Warriors
  • Joust
  • Kaboom!
  • Knack 2
  • Madness and the Minotaur
  • Ms. Pac-Man
  • Pac-Man
  • Pitfall
  • Pyramid
  • Q*bert
  • Quake
  • Raaka-tu
  • Smash TV
  • Super Smash Brothers
  • Space Invaders
  • Starmaster
  • Star Raiders
  • Star Wars
  • Street Fighter
  • Swordquest, including the prizes for Earthworld, Fireworld, Waterworld, and Airworld
  • Robotron: 2084
  • Time Pilot
  • Tron: Deadly Discs
  • World of Warcraft
  • Yars’ Revenge
  • Zaxxon
  • Zork I II III

Games played

Computers and game consoles referenced

References on book cover

  • The yellow key is an element of Adventure
  • The “c” is similar to Pac-Man

Movies referenced in the simulation

Music referenced

Anime and tokusatsu referenced

TV Show references

Literature references

 

Ready Player One: A Short Book/Movie Comparison

Let me start by saying that Ready Player One, The Book, is my all-time favorite book.  I have read it twice in print and I think I’ve listened to the unabridged audiobook 8-10 times.  Yes, that many.  I’m not sure exactly why.  Maybe because I connect with the era and nearly all of the hundreds of 80’s references it includes.  Maybe it’s just the way Wil Wheaton reads it to me.  Maybe a combination of all of this.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’ve just thrown it on in the car driving to and from work many times–just for a quick fix–and whenever I do that, I get caught up in it and end up listening to it from start to finish again.  I always realize new things that I didn’t catch before, new connections between one part and another, one character becomes more clear in my mind, etc.  Simply put, I love the book a lot.

Today was opening day for the movie Ready Player One, so Kevin, Matt and I went to see it.  Shockingly, the theater was nearly empty.  I guess it hasn’t “caught on” yet.  I went in knowing that things would be different in the movie.  The screenplay was written by Ernest Cline though, the author of the book, so I figured he’d keep it as much like the book as he could.  Nope!  Not a chance.  The movie is completely different than the book.  So much so, that I think it should be viewed as a completely separate work.  It’s not the Ready Player One I knew.  I don’t really see how it could have the exact same name as the book, it’s that different.  The statements they’ve been using–“Based on the novel by Ernest Cline” is just not true, and using the movie’s logo and screenshot for the audiobook, which Audible changed right before the movie came out, is just plain wrong in my opinion.  They are two entirely different stories.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie.  I liked it.  But I think a lot of the biggest fans of the book, especially those who grew up in the 80’s like I did and enjoyed the hell out of all of the deep references and atmosphere of that time, are going to be very disappointed.  For one thing, the movie doesn’t stick to the 80’s anywhere near as closely as the book did.  But it was very amusing and fun to see all the “new” references–like seeing Chucky, the psycho doll from a few of my favorite campy horror movies, fighting right alongside Iron Giant, King Kong, and hundreds of others.  But that’s only a part of what was different.  The biggest difference was the puzzles required to obtain each of the three keys needed to reach the final Easter egg.  Almost nothing was from the book with these, and I thought they were pretty key to the story.  I understand that the need to cut a 12-hour story down to 2.5 hours requires a lot of changes and cutting of content, but the story was completely changed to the point where only small elements and “pieces” of the book remained in the story.   Even the Wade’s totally insane plan–which I thought was brilliant, and worked out for him in the end, in the book, was totally cut from the movie, and instead, Art3mis ends up being the one to sneak into “IOI” (Innovative Online Industries) and save the day.  Like I said, the vague elements were there, but blended up to make something totally different than the book.

Even one of the most important elements–the reason for the title “Ready Player One” itself, was nowhere in the movie at all–not even so much as an explanation.  The three words, “Ready Player One” are the very last thing every player sees when they put on their VR gear, leave the real world, and enter the world of the Oasis.  The movie should have been named “OASIS”, or “Anorak’s Game” or something like that, but not “Ready Player One”.  They could have even added the tagline “Based loosely on the novel, Ready Player One”, and that would have made much more sense to me, and probably many others.

In conclusion, if you haven’t read the book, go ahead and see the movie.  I recommend it.  It’s a fun, crazy, non-stop effects-fest you’ll probably enjoy.  It’ll definitely make you want to try out a little VR tech, if you haven’t already.  That technology certainly seems to be evolving quickly and we could end up with an “Oasis” of our own, for real!  But the movie also barely touched on the most important message in that regard:  The Oasis becomes so addictive that everyone started neglecting the real world in favor of the virtual one, so all of society was falling apart.  And if you HAVE read the book, just know that the movie, though it has the exact same name, is totally different.  The book had slow parts, explained all of the details and workings of everything, and took it’s sweet little time.  It was an awesome roller-coaster ride for me.  The movie was non-stop, hardly ever pausing for more than a moment so you can catch your breath, all the way to the end.  To me, this made the excitement and satisfaction of acquiring each of the three keys seem like much less of an accomplishment.  The book really put a fine point on these elements, and even gave you a frequent update on the scoreboard.  It even explained why Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto were referred to as “The High Five”–the movie didn’t even mention it.  It only showed the scoreboard–very briefly–and I guess the viewer was supposed to make that connection automatically.  I’m not sure I would have…at least not the FIRST time I watched the move, had I not read the book.

Maybe reading and listening to the book so many times jaded me too much, and I ignored other, much better, stories in favor or experiencing The Oasis myself again and again… I don’t know.  I have heard some reviewers even complain about how horrible the writing is in the book, but I certainly didn’t get any sense of that at all.  Of course, I was so thrilled with all of the references to tons of things I grew up with myself, I was reveling in so much nostalgia, I might not have even realized it was actually crappy writing.  I guess I’ll just have to re-read it one more time… Perhaps after I see the movie once or twice more, just to catch everything I missed in it the first time.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Write every day

I’ve been a Stephen King fan since my mother turned me onto him when I was in high school.  The first book I read of his was The Stand, back in 1979 or 1980.  It was HUGE, lasted a looooong time, and I enjoyed every slow page of it.  I’ve been a big fan of his ever since, and my mom and I shared our King books over the years.

I’ve been reading (listening to) The Stephen King Companion this week.  It’s a huge book containing everything you would probably ever want to know about Stephen King, and then some, written by George Beahm.  Every published book and story, everything he’s written everywhere else, his personal life, and tons more.  It’s just a fascinating read, and has caused me to add several more books to my audiobook collection, including “On Writing”, a book Stephen King wrote about writing itself–from the very basics to how to become a good writer.  Sort of an instruction manual on how to become a writer, and I’m very interested.   I’m still reading The SK Companion though, with about 1/3 of it left to go.

There are plenty of Stephen King books I have yet to read, and this darned book makes me want to read them more now than ever before…and even makes me want to read a bunch of them over again!  Most of them are already in my Audible library, purchased with the 2 book credits I get per month with the membership I’ve had for years.  In fact, I’ve pretty much given up on “old school” real-paper books these days, now favoring audiobooks over them.  It does take longer to listen to an entire audiobook, but I find that I get much more out of them by listening to them being read to me than I do when I read them myself, for some reason.  Plus, I can’t read a REAL book while driving to and from work, so audiobooks give me some extra “reading” time.

Maybe I can use this blog to help me stick to one of King’s tips on becoming a great writer: Write. every. day.

New Stephen King short story for Halloween

Bazaar_of_Bad_DreamsI’m anxiously waiting for Stephen King’s new book of short stories – The Bazaar of Bad Dreams to be released on 11/03/15.  Until then though, there’s a short story by him on the New Yorker website that I haven’t read yet:  Premium Harmony – by Stephen King.

And here’s a list of all of the stories/articles he’s published in the New Yorker in the past…but some may require a New Yorker account in order to read.

 

Mr. Mercedes

Mr Mercedes book cover

I just finished reading the Stephen King audiobook, Mr. Mercedes. It was awesome! Definitely a great audiobook that kept me in the car longer, Ingressing a lot more as a result, as I listened to it over the past couple weeks.  During this time I found out that the anonymous chat site used extensively in the book by Mr Mercedes and Bill Hodges is actually a real site!  Instead of writing my own description of what the book is about, I stole this from Google, who knows all:

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

Influx – Audiobook

I just finished an awesome new audiobook by Daniel Suarez called “Influx“.  It’s a story about a secret government agency known as the “BTC” – The Federal Bureau of Technology Control.  This secret agency has been in existence since the 60’s, making sure that our civilization doesn’t create technology at a pace faster than we can handle.  Basically, they “hoard” these technologies, keeping the public unaware of their existence.  We’re talking about technologies like the cure for cancer, cold fusion, and gravity mirroring that would allow humans to fly.  Much of which has been discovered for decades, but locked away (and perfected) by the BTC!  I don’t want to spoil any more of the story in case you want to read/listen to it yourself, so I’ll keep it short.   I thought it was great though, right up there with “Daemon“, another one of Daniel Suarez’ excellent books.

DSub opens my eyes

Today I discovered a weird convergence of the two big issues I posted previously.  It started when I discovered DSub, an Android Subsonic client that ROCKS!  The regular Android Subsonic client–called simply “Subsonic” was decent, but lacked some crucial features and functionality that made me lean more toward Audiogalaxy when they were both excellent streaming music server options.  DSub is (and looks a lot like) the Subsonic client on steroids!  It’s open-source, so I’m guessing it’s the same client at it’s base, just customized to be much better.  It’s like the “full version” of the Android Subsonic client!  It costs $1.99, but it’s well worth it!  Anyway, one of the big features of this app that just punched me in the face and woke me up today, is an option in its settings called “Temporary loss of focus”.  It has 4 options under it: “Always Pause”, “Pause and lower volume when requested”, “Always lower volume”, and “Do Nothing”.  I didn’t realize what this weird function was until I clicked on it and saw these 4 options…. then it hit me–THIS is the feature than an audio-heavy app needs, to know what to do when another sound plays on the Android device!

So now I was on a mission.  I set it to “Always Pause”, threw on my winter coat, and hopped in the car for a ride around the neighborhood.  I turned setup Google Navigation to take me to work, started up my DSub music, then drove around the neighborhood while Google Navigation kept interrupting my song to give me directions.  It was FLAWLESS!  DSub paused every time when the Navigation started talking, and all is right with my (Android) world again!  So next I started up an Audible book and drove around some more… Bummer.  Audible isn’t working that way, and keeps playing now, blending the two voices of the book and the navigation into something very confusing (and potentially dangerous if I were relying on actual directions while driving).  So I came back home and send a support e-mail to Audible.  They responded very quickly to another question I had previously, so I am anxiously awaiting their response to this one.  Here’s what I wrote:

I listen to my audible books heavily on my Android phone during my daily commute, along with Google Navigation. I’ve been having a problem recently, however: The audible application no longer pauses when Google Navigation speaks–they both talk at once, which can sometimes make me miss a turn or direction unless I’m constantly watching the GPS directions on the screen.

After some research on the web, and finding other apps that still work ok and pause for the navigation, I have realized that it might be something that has changed in the Audible app.

I also found this explanation on Audible regarding a slightly different issue:

“We have received reports from users of the Audible for Android application, that the Audible application pauses at random. Upon further investigation, we have found that other applications may ‘steal’ the audio focus for no apparent reason when running in the background. The Audible for Android application respects audio focus requests to pause or stop playback. At the current time, the only means of resolution is to uninstall the offending application from your phone.”

To me, it seems like the Audible application used to respect the audio focus change, but now it no longer does. Can I get this ability back? Maybe if I uninstall and reinstall the app?? Or was something actually removed in the app so that it will no longer auto-pause like it used to?

Please let me know if there’s anything I, or Audible, can do to resolve this issue. I’m afraid I would no longer be able to safely listen to audiobooks in my car (with Audible) if this can’t be fixed, and I’d have to seek another alternative.

Thank you.

That’s it.  I’m pretty sure they took this ability out of their app, but we’ll see if there might be a way to correct it’s behavior and make it work.  It worked properly ever since I first subscribed to Audible and started listening to books in the car.  I’ll post the response I get.

UPDATE: 

Wow, Audible is quick. About an hour after sending that support message to them this evening, they responded. They gave me a $10 coupon for my trouble, apologized, and said there’s an update for the app, and I need to completely uninstall, delete the Audible folder, then install the updated version. So I did all of this, but was unable to completely remove the application, since it came pre-installed on my phone. I could only uninstall the updates. So I did that much and deleted the folder. Then ran Audible, signed in and downloaded a book. I played the book, then started Google Navigation. Sure enough, it worked great by pausing the book when driving directions were spoken, then resumed the book again right after. Next I installed the latest update from the app store and did it again. Crap! It went back to having the issue again by completely ignoring the driving directions and playing the book right through them. Back to the drawing board!

This definitely proves it’s something in the updated versions though, so it helps. I e-mailed support again, as a reply, so they have the entire history of the issue. I asked that, if they don’t want to have the auto-pause feature due to a lot of users having the “random pausing issue” they talk about on their help page, why not add it as an option that the user can toggle in the app’s settings? I’ll let you know what they say.

For now though, I’m back to listening to my books in the car–I just can’t update my Audible App beyond the version that came with my phone.

Movies & Books

As an update to my last post, now that the Oscars have come and gone, as far as the nominees go, I’ve seen Hugo, The Help, and Moneyball.  I thought all three were very good.  Kevin was a little disappointed in Hugo, saying it was kind of boring in parts, and I can see that for a little kid I guess, growing up with blockbuster robot movies like Terminator and Transformers.  A simple automaton didn’t cut it for him.  For me, however, I thought it was fascinating, especially the artful way the entire movie looked overall.  It was fascinating to watch, especially in Blu-Ray.  I also saw Tower Heist.  I don’t think it was nominated, but I liked it.

In other media, I finished Stephen King’s “Duma Key” audiobook recently, and I just started The Hunger Games, at Kevin’s request.  Kevin has the real book (yup, the old tree-killing paper type) and asked me to get the audiobook so he can read along with it.  He’s reading it in school too, for one of his classes.  They’re going to compare the movie to the book, once the movie comes out, which should be very interesting–and enlightening for Kevin.  It’s amazing how so much gets dropped and rearranged when books become movies.  I hope he goes to see the movie with his class though–I’d hate to have to take him to see it myself before finishing the audiobook.  It takes me awhile to read a complete audiobook, and seeing the movie tends to deflate my interest in completing the same titled audiobook, since it kinda spoils the story and totally changes the self-imagined images you create in your head when you read a book, once you see the movie.  I’d rather completely finish the audiobook, then see the movie….even if that means missing the theatrical release and waiting for the Blu-Ray release.

Book Quandary

I just got a new credit for an audiobook at Audible.com, and I’m stuck.  I currently have 17 books on my wishlist and I can’t decide which book to get next.  I always figure each month I’ll get one of them until my wishlist is empty, then I’ll have everything I want.  Nope, it doesn’t work that way.  Throughout the month I get regular e-mails about new releases, specials, etc., and it never fails that every month there’s at least one or two books that look really good that I want to read (listen to).  So here you go.  Below is my wishlist.  If you can suggest one, perhaps that you liked yourself, I’d really appreciate your input.  Or if you can suggest something that ISN’T on my wishlist, go for it.  I can always add it to the list if it sounds good to me (which would actually defeat the purpose of this post, but what the heck–I’d hate to miss a good book).  The top one–Physics of the Future–I just added recently.  It sounds fascinating, based on the preview listen.  But then again, so do many of the others.  Help!

Audible Wishlist 03-20-2011

 

Room

I’ve been reading some audiobooks lately.  The last one I read was very good: “Room” by Emma Donoghue.  This is an excellent story told by””and in the voice of””a 5-year-old boy.  This makes it pretty unique, and the audiobook format works perfectly for this type of story, in my opinion.  Here’s the publisher’s description of the story:

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.  Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.  Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.