Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
OK all you gamers, sit up and pay attention. Ready Player One is the book for you! Wade lives in a dystopian society in the United States of the distant future. Many are out of work, people live in stacks (think trailer parks that are stacked one on top of the other), and automobiles lie abandoned where they ran out of gas. The one bright spot in this depressing world is the Oasis, a “virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets."
When the man who created the Oasis dies, he leaves behind a carefully constructed contest. The winner of this ultimate video game challenge will inherit all of James Halliday’s wealth. To win the contest, one must find three keys, clear three gates and find the Easter egg Halliday hid in the Oasis. Years go by and no one has even found the first key, despite millions of people devoting millions of hours to the pursuit. Suddenly all of research Wade has done on Halliday and his obsession with all things 1980s pay off, and he finds the first key. The book traces the mad race of millions of avatars trying to find the keys, open the gates and ultimately find the Easter egg (all of which involves knowledge of Halliday, his obsessions, and playing video games for high stakes). In this book we find love, friendship and betrayal. There is a wonderfully evil villain, a corporation that wants to take over the Oasis and charge for its use. This corporation is not above cheating to win. Wade is the underdog who keeps on gaming, using his brain to compensate for his lack of funds. I don’t even like video games, but this novel kept me on the edge of my seat. Prediction: this will make it to the big screen.