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(Intro music: Electro swing)
0:00:11.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hello and welcome to BookBytes, a book club podcast for developers. This episode is sponsored by Pluralsight, the technology skills platform.
(Typewriter Dings)
0:00:22.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** This time we’re doing something a little different and talking about a fiction book. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and since it’s a fiction book/movie I want to talk about who has read it and watched it and if they liked it and then we’ll warn you when the spoilers are about to begin.
0:00:41.1 So I’m Adam Garrett-Harris.
0:00:43.2 **Jen Luker** I’m Jen Luker.
0:00:44.6 **Safia Abdalla** I’m Safia Abdalla.
0:00:46.5 **Jason Staten** I’m Jason Staten.
0:00:48.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Okay! So before we get into spoilers who has read it, who has watched it, and did you like it?
0:00:55.7 **Jen Luker** I have read it and I’ve watched it and I liked them both but for different reasons.
0:01:01.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Okay.
0:01:02.6 **Safia Abdalla** I have only watched it, mixed opinions.
0:01:05.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Okay. Jason?
0:01:08.2 **Jason Staten** I have only read it. I’ve done both the audiobook and the text version of it and I did enjoy it.
0:01:18.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Okay. I read it back in 2014 and then I watched the movie when it came out and then I recently just read it, just finished reading it 10 minutes ago. And I really enjoyed the book. I really enjoyed the movie as well. I think there was a good amount of gap between when I read it and when I watched the movies that I wasn’t too worried about the differences and I was able to enjoy both. And then… Yeah. I really liked it when I reread again as well. I think it held up well.
0:01:48.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So, be warned. Spoilers begin now!
0:01:54.4 **Jen Luker** Everybody dies.
0:01:56.1 **ALL** (laughing)
0:01:58.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Everyone dies! It’s true! Well the world… the world is actually a really terrible place when this book starts in the year 2045, I think? Like, the entire world has run out of fuel and stuff.
0:02:11.0 **Jason Staten** Yeah.
0:02:11.0 **Jen Luker** It’s not really that far off.
0:02:13.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, that’s not far off at all. And I just realized the other day that BladeRunner takes place in 2019.
0:02:20.3 **Jen Luker** Kinda awesome, huh?
0:02:21.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Which is pretty…
0:02:22.6 **Jason Staten** (laughs)
0:02:22.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Pretty hilarious.
0:02:23.5 **Jason Staten** Yeah. But yeah, definitely a dark look at the future but what I think I liked most about the book, like, most and, I don’t know, it was kind of depressing, was that a lot of it is surprisingly, like, close? Like, doesn’t seem like it’s that far-fetched and it’s kind of scary.
0:02:48.4 But also looking at some of the things, even the technology of The Oasis for example, that’s one thing that I really liked about the book is the fact that The Oasis is something that we’re, in some ways, on the verge of. I think some ways we’re very far off from it, but in particular, like, the ability of going into a virtual world and having VR be, like, a commonplace for people is right there.
0:03:18.6 I mean, you look at stuff like the Oculus Go where you have a headset that you can pick up and have it be, like, right around the $300 mark. Like, that’s not quite the same cost as what was charged for Oasis’ rig in the book, but I mean, given $300 in a time where people are now spending upwards of $1000 for a cell phone? Like, it is getting closer and closer to that affordable mark where people really can get into it at many more economic levels than just the uber wealthy.
0:03:51.7 **Jen Luker** Not to mention the fact that we also have things like, Online K-12 now so it doesn’t seem that far-fetched to add, in 26 years, the ability to attend via VR, that really does make a lot more sense.
0:04:09.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah! I thought that was really interesting that he was finishing out high school when the book first began and of course, like, the living in this stack of trailers, heaps of cars everywhere, because there’s no gas so everyone just abandoned them…
0:04:29.4 Well yeah, I thought that was interesting that one of the differences between the book and the movie was that in the book he’s pretty poor, he doesn’t have any money inside of The Oasis even, to go to any other planets other than the one planet he’s on where he’s going to school, and so he actually ends up finding the first key on that planet. And I thought that was really interesting in the book. I think it would have worked really terribly in the movie. You don’t want to see someone going to school, you want to see something exciting at the beginning of a movie.
0:05:03.9 **Jen Luker** The other thing that I found interesting, going back to that technology just a little bit, was the fact that in the book itself, the technology that he utilizes evolves over time. As he makes more money he’s able to buy better gear because the money that he makes within the game actually maps to the money he makes outside, as well. So he’s actually able to use those credits to buy better gear, and the better gear he gets the more detailed the book gets regarding how that gear functions, and it wasn’t, again, all that far off from something that’s actually doable, like the bodysuits and how the body suits interact with the body in order to provide sensation, for instance.
0:05:44.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm. Yeah, ‘cause in the movie he starts off with the bidirectional… what’s it called? It’s like the thing that you run on that you can run in every direction.
0:05:55.2 **Jason Staten** Hmm…
0:05:55.0 **Jen Luker** Right-
0:05:55.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** He starts off with that which I think is kind of funny because I don’t think you, I wouldn’t be able to stand up inside of a van and run, but he is inside of a van running around. But yeah, it’s really interesting that The Oasis is very accessible, like you said, Jason, with the price point, but you can upgrade it as much as you want to and you can get more and more out of it. And then even the more poor people will troll the people with the really fancy gear by putting offensive smells and then the other people will have to smell that if they have their smell-o-tronic turned on.
0:06:34.2 **Jason Staten** (laughs)
0:06:36.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Which I thought was pretty funny.
0:06:37.2 **Jen Luker** The cool thing, I think, about finding the key, the very first key, and the fact that it was on the very first planet essentially that you start on is the fact that he was given his gear, initially, by the school. And as far as the gear goes he’s given his headset, a pair of gloves, and he essentially, like, rigs himself up on strings in his van, right?
0:07:00.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:07:01.4 **Jen Luker** So that’s, like, it.
0:07:03.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I missed that part.
0:07:04.5 **Jen Luker** It’s just enough to be able to, like, type out answers because you basically zoom in and you are in your seat, already. You can get up and go move around, but you don’t have to. So they gave them the bare amount of gear to start out, but the thing is, though, is anyone who goes to school in The Oasis is given their free set of gear. Which meant that anyone from any price point, you know, any income level could have found that first key. And with the first key came the first influx of cash. With the first influx of cash came the ability to travel, buy better gear, actually start looking, have the ability to make more money, something that you couldn’t really do on that first school-based planet.
0:07:51.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I thought that really smart that it goes into, kind of, what Halliday, which we didn’t talk about this yet. If you haven’t read the book the whole premise is that one of the creators of The Oasis dies and he doesn’t have any heirs and he establishes this contest that has a huge cash prize and then you also basically get control of The Oasis, or at least a large portion of it. And so it goes into his intentions of what he wanted to happen during this contest, like what the spirit of the contest was, who he wanted to win, so putting on a school shows that maybe he wanted a student to win or anybody from any means to find it.
0:08:36.9 **Safia Abdalla** Was the school thing something that showed up in the book but not the movie?
0:08:40.4 **Jen Luker** Was it not in the movie?
0:08:42.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, that’s just in the book.
0:08:43.4 **Safia Abdalla** Okay.
0:08:44.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So in the movie, he… Do you want to explain what happens in the movie, Safia?
0:08:48.3 **Safia Abdalla** Sure. So I’ve only seen the movie, I saw it when it came out so now I’m having to recall what it was. So the movie is basically similar premise. You have this young boy who spends most of his time in The Oasis. There’s no really reference to school or his education. It seems like he spends just most of his time in The Oasis and he gets this opportunity to participate in the challenge to find the easter egg and win a lot of prize money and notoriety and all of that stuff, and then he just kind of goes through several challenges and as the plot progresses there’s this moment where he discovers that, like, the challenge is kind of BS, the whole premise of The Oasis… he discovers, kind of, like, the dark underlying current behind it, and then he like, kind of, turns against it, I guess? And like, helps to make the real world a better place. Am I remembering that correctly? For those who have also seen the movie?
0:09:48.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:09:49.3 **Jen Luker** There’s a fair amount missing in the middle but you’re kind of there.
0:09:55.3 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, there’s lots of adventures and challenges and stuff like that but I think, like, the general premise is that he gets involved in the challenge as he’s participating in it. Was the female character of Art3mis also in the book?
0:10:10.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris & Jen Luker & Jason Staten** Yes.
0:10:11.2 **Safia Abdalla** Okay.
0:10:12.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** She’s the one that really wanted to make the world a better place-
0:10:15.1 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
0:10:15.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** In the book. And as he got to know her then by the end that’s what he wanted to do, as well.
0:10:21.1 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, I kind of find that trope interesting. Like, the moral female character in the plot who guides the protagonist to the right way. I think that’s, like, a pretty common plot device so it’s interesting to see that they, that was in the book but they also retained it in the movie as well.
0:10:38.4 So yeah, I guess I was curious, there was no reference to the school in the movie so I wonder why that choice was made to remove it.
0:10:47.9 **Jen Luker** Yeah, that was a huge point.
0:10:52.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So you’re wondering what?
0:10:54.1 **Safia Abdalla** Why they made that choice to not include it in the movie.
0:10:58.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I think it would have been boring to start off with that. So the movie starts off where anyone can jump into the gate, right? And once you jump into the gate it’s a car race.
0:11:12.0 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
0:11:13.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** And so people have been doing this for a really long time, in the book it’s been 4 or 5 years?
0:11:19.4 **Jason Staten** Mm-hmm (affirmative).
0:11:20.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Since Halliday died and no one’s found the first key yet. There’s always something that he does differently that no one else thought to do but in the movie they’re just doing this really cool car race and he decides to run his car backwards instead of forwards.
0:11:37.2 **Jason Staten** Yeah, that is very different from the book.
0:11:42.9 **Safia Abdalla** But when I do it in real life it’s not legal.
0:11:46.0 **ALL** (laughing)
0:11:48.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:11:51.0 **Jason Staten** I do think that the school part of the book does definitely help develop the character of Parzival throughout the story, specifically because it talks about his life from even being a young child where it says he was basically raised through The Oasis. That he started off using educational programs even from a child so his mother wouldn’t have to pay attention to him and rather she could use it as a form of babysitting.
0:12:19.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Mm-hmm (affirmative).
0:12:20.0 And so even that educational software was something that he grew his life out of and so one of the things that he balances back and forth and I mean, I guess it isn’t even balanced for the vast majority of the book, is just how much his life inside of The Oasis is his reality.
0:12:44.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. That’s kind of a scary thing and it’s something I try to balance with my son, how much screen time, because it’s very easy to just let a screen babysit.
0:12:59.3 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, I’m kind of conflicted on that. I feel like devs do sometimes have that curmudgeonly “kids shouldn’t be on screens all the time” but I wonder to what extent this is, if maybe I’m just looking too much at the bad and not necessarily the good and if there are things where, like, the ways people interact with each other and socialize with each other change. I have mixed feelings about the notion of, like, screens as this, like, totally negative thing.
0:13:32.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right.
0:13:32.6 **Safia Abdalla** Or, like, even how much screen time is appropriate, but I’m also not a parent so I don’t have any reasonable opinions or any stake in this game. (laughs)
0:13:41.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right, yeah. I don’t think screens are inherently evil. They can be used for good and they can be used for bad and then there’s a point where it’s just, it’s good but it’s too much.
0:13:54.1 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
0:13:54.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Because there’s other good things like exercise, getting outside.
0:13:58.5 **Safia Abdalla** How do you define the “too much” as a parent? For you, personally?
0:14:02.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Uh…
0:14:03.6 **Safia Abdalla** You can also say you don’t know, but I’m just curious.
0:14:06.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I don’t know, but we have a limited amount of time after school, between school and bedtime and so there’s really not a lot of time for the screen and you know, there’s recommendations on how much exercise, outdoor play kids should have. And I think there’s different types of screen activities. Some you are being a little bit more creative and I think that’s better than passively watching.
0:14:36.3 **Safia Abdalla** Okay.
0:14:38.0 **Jason Staten** I would say for me as a parent that my key emphasis when it comes to screen time is less about a specific amount of time and more about making that experience one that is interactive with my child. So when we go through something and say whether we watch a show or we play a video game together, we have a discussion about what is going on and why something might have happened. Or if something is far-fetched in the show and isn’t a realistic thing, talking about why that isn’t. And so it’s still, it becomes an interaction and not just a form of babysitting.
0:15:21.5 **Safia Abdalla** Got it, okay. That’s an interesting perspective. Do you have anything to add on that front, Jen? This has just turned into “Safia interviews parents about how they raise their children.” (laughs)
0:15:33.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
0:15:33.5 **Jen Luker** It depends. I’ve kind of gone back and forth on this over the age of my children and the availability of technology and how much technology plays in society and social interactions. It does come down to a point where, you know, lacking a certain level of technology goes beyond… I guess financial well to dos and goes into cutting them off and isolating them from the ability to socialize with their peers as well as their teachers.
0:16:13.9 **Safia Abdalla** Got it. So you kind of sense that there’s a point at which you’re limiting the social interactions that they have through the technology by, like, restraining it from them.
0:16:28.0 **Jen Luker** Like, I remember when there was a point in school where we had to, like, give a report on a TV program that was airing except for the fact that it was on cable and I didn’t have cable growing up. So-
0:16:40.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Wow. I can’t believe they assigned that.
0:16:43.7 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, that’s a weird assignment.
0:16:45.0 **Jen Luker** They do it all the time. Like, I mean, up until not that long ago they would assign you go online and you have to search up things which meant a trip to the library to try to access the internet. So, I mean-
0:16:56.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Mm-hmm (affirmative).
0:16:57.7 **Jen Luker** It depends, like, it does come down to a point where if you don’t have the technology you’re no longer capable of interacting within those school programs without some sort of external help.
0:17:08.9 **Safia Abdalla** Do you feel that as your children have grown older you now see a deeper requirement for technology in like, their classwork and then their interactions and stuff like that?
0:17:20.9 **Jen Luker** It’s not such, it’s not a matter of them growing older it’s more of the adoption of the technology within a community. So, for instance, even my almost to be kindergarten student has computer time at school. So-
0:17:37.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:17:37.7 **Safia Abdalla** Really? Aren’t they like, 5 years old?
0:17:40.2 **Jen Luker** Yeah.
0:17:42.0 **Safia Abdalla** Okay, that’s interesting. Huh.
0:17:45.0 **Jen Luker** That being said-
0:17:45.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
0:17:46.1 **Jen Luker** Like, by the time my kids were in third and fourth grade they had homework that they had to fulfill on the computer, online, after hours, for, like, math homework or reading homework they had to go online and play a certain number of minutes per day on a game. And that was their homework. So-
0:18:08.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:18:09.0 **Jen Luker** Not having that technology available, you know, it was inhibiting their ability to complete their homework. It was reducing their grades.
0:18:15.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Wow.
0:18:16.4 **Safia Abdalla** And do you feel like you're seeing more and more of those kinds of assignments and requirements as, like, time has passed on?
0:18:24.0 **Jen Luker** Yes, I’ve definitely had that chance to see the difference between my children that are now in highschool and college and my one that’s just about to start school and how the interactions with technology are different between the two groups of kids based on, you know, their age group at that time.
0:18:49.5 **Safia Abdalla** I see. I think these are interesting questions to ask because I definitely feel like one of the, like, big points of analysis that people make when it comes to movies like Ready Player One and other kind of sci-fi future focused films is people’s relationships with technology, I’m always curious to learn how is it that people who are much younger who’ve like, you know, never known a world without an iphone or never known a world without Alexa and Siri are, like, learning to engage with it and what does that look like when you think about it, like, 50 years into the future, or 100 years into the future.
0:19:28.1 **Jen Luker** I mean, if you look at it the other direction, too, the internet has always existed as long as you’ve been alive and I remember when the internet was, like, invented. Within reason, you know? I was born just after networks between colleges became a thing. So given that, I remember when the first modems were created. I remember when, you know, they got up to 14.4, I remember TelNet. I remember when it wasn’t even a possibility. So to be able to go from that to now being able to see that, and that’s only, I can’t say a whole lifetime, that’s just, like, a part of a lifetime, you know? Of being able to see that evolution and that change go from “the internet didn’t exist for common people” to “the internet is a requirement for children to get a good grade.”
0:20:25.6 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
0:20:26.1 **Jen Luker** In free public school.
0:20:28.5 **Safia Abdalla** And I’m also curious to know if the very fact that people from an earlier age interface with technology more frequently means that it’s much easier for them to adopt it later on in the future. Like, if you grew up with a desktop computer in your home in the ‘90s are you more likely that somebody else to adopt, like, a connected home or have an Alexa in your house as opposed to someone who might not have grown up with that technology. Like, does the very fact that you interact with it more at a younger age mean that you are more likely to use it more than others as you grow older and as new kinds of technology comes about. Do you understand what I’m saying?
0:21:14.4 **Jason Staten** Yes.
0:21:14.8 **Jen Luker** Yes.
0:21:14.4 **Safia Abdalla** Like, do you, kind of, just become more of an adopter of it as opposed to others?
0:21:18.8 **Jen Luker** And I think so just because of the fact that it’s available and you’ve learned to use it. You don’t necessarily know how to do it before, like, microwaves. You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that microwaves didn’t exist. All cooking had to happen in an oven or a stove. All reheating of food had to happen in an oven or on a stove which meant that, you know, cooking took a lot more time and, you know, then came microwaves and things got a lot easier and I’m saying everyone owns a microwave but… I mean, they are so ridiculously common in like, every day households at this point that it’s hard to rent an apartment without one.
0:22:00.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So much cheaper and smaller.
0:22:03.4 **Jen Luker** Right? So it’s just like, it’s something that we have now.
0:22:06.4 **Jason Staten** And that’s definitely a key point in it is that it's not even just an individual change and having individual access to technology, but also as a collective, like, socially we adopt technologies as well so you have to become part of those things or are inclined to be part of those things just because that’s what the group you’re in is involved with.
0:22:31.4 You look at things like the big craze right now over Fortnite. Like, that is huge and part of it is because the game itself is free and available all over the place so people with an iphone can play on it, or people with a desktop PC can play, like, everybody’s able to get in on it and because there’s such a big, social force behind it, like, there are so many people that are involved in it, whereas there was definitely a point in time not too long ago, that if you were playing the amount of hours that people play in Fortnite, like, you would kind of get looked down on of you’re spending way too much time on the computer playing games and now it’s more of even, like, a social hangout in some regards.
0:23:21.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I mean, that’s the same with Minecraft and Roblox.
0:23:26.1 **Jason Staten** Yeah.
0:23:26.8 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
0:23:27.8 **Jen Luker** And to prove Safia’s point of the other side of things that, you know, those that grew up with it are more likely to adopt than those that didn’t, I’ve never even looked up Fortnite, I’ve only ever heard it from other people.
0:23:39.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Same. So, but you have a good point there, Jason. Like, it gets to a point where if you’re a laggard as far as adapting technology it eventually becomes not even a choice anymore. You could choose not to be in The Oasis but you’re choosing to opt out of society at that point unless you could find another community.
0:24:00.6 **Safia Abdalla** That is a great point.
0:24:02.7 **Jen Luker** I heard a woman today at the arts and crafts store say that she had no access to a computer and therefore she couldn’t sign up for the coupons because it required both a phone number and an email address. So she couldn’t even get the coupons because she didn’t have an email address because she’d never had access to a computer. So it was kind of interesting to see that and just kind of seeing her disappointment and her frustration that, you know, she’s now officially opting out of things that would help her save money by not having things-
0:24:32.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right.
0:24:32.9 **Jen Luker** That cost money.
0:24:34.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, and it’s the same with cell phones. This is a, kind of, a minor example, but it’s a huge inconvenience not to have a cell phone now. To the point where it’s-
0:24:43.2 **Jen Luker** Yeah.
0:24:43.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** It’s a lot more inconvenient than it used to be, because society has changed around the fact that everyone has cell phones. So people don’t make plans in advance, you text when you get there and different things like that.
0:24:57.5 **Jason Staten** On one flip of it, or one other perspective of it, I think about me, being a child of the internet, it was something that we didn’t always have it, but very shortly after we got our first computer the internet was something that I was able to get access to and one of the things that that allowed me to do was interact with people that I certainly would have not been able to interact with locally.
0:25:27.2 I think I may have talked about it before on the show but maybe if I haven’t, one of the things that I got involved with when I was probably 13, it was kind of my first experience into programming, like real programming, not just like, it was Macromedia Flash at the time. I think that was early beginnings, but there was a group of people that called themselves Yhackers or Y!Hackers for people who hacked things on Yahoo, particularly yahoo messenger. They would go and create applications and automate things within yahoo messenger to send, like, boot codes into chat rooms and you could go and, like, wipe out a whole chat room full of people by sending this particular code in there.
0:26:16.8 And that was actually a community that I managed to get involved with as a kid and I didn’t quite realize what some of the people were doing where they were, like, actively hacking into accounts and stuff and doing horribly malicious things, but there was, like, a culture of creating, like, your own app and then you would distribute it to other people to show off, like, “Hey, I made this cool trivia bot!” Or, “Hey, I made this thing that could go and do rainbow text!” That was not something that was available in the actual app itself.
0:26:52.4 And I think about it as I read through Ready Player One, just thinking about communities, like, kind of small, niche communities that I was able to be involved in similar to that during some of my childhood because of the connectivity of the internet. And it actually, kind of, gave me a little bit of a longing for it because I have, I guess more recently been more of a hermit and stuck to myself with things, and then also, sometimes I feel like looking at the internet now, it can be a place where you always have to put on your best or, like you’re selling yourself or marketing yourself rather than being a tight knit community. And that’s not true for the whole thing, but that’s definitely the way that my usage or experience has kind of gone where you’re selling yourself rather than being a part of a club or a really small niche.
0:27:48.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:27:49.1 **Jen Luker** Not only are you selling yourself but you’re selling a lifestyle, too. So if you don’t provide the illusion that you have and maintain that lifestyle then you don’t get to fit into the niches that you think you’re supposed to either and you get excluded from those niches. So it becomes very much, not just a sales pitch as it is the ability to be part of those groups.
(Typewriter Dings)
0:28:15.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** This episode of BookBytes is sponsored by Pluralsight.
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0:29:36.2 Also, for those listeners who would be interested in checking out the product you can direct message @Pluralsight on Twitter and they will send you a free trial code so you can experience the product for yourself.
0:29:48.9 And thanks to Pluralsight for sponsoring this show!
(Typewriter Dings)
0:29:51.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So, going back to the book I think another one of the reasons why they change it in the movie to a race is you’re able to see early on in the movie a bunch of the cars in the race are the exact same car with a different serial number on it and apparently they all start with 6 and so they are called “sixers” and they’re from this apparently evil corporation that is trying to take over The Oasis by winning the egg, and they are also the largest internet provider and they do a whole bunch of other stuff, it doesn’t say exactly what. I know one of the things they do is they have cabs, so I guess kind of like an Uber, like an auto-cab. And so I was wondering what y’all’s thoughts were on... the company’s called IOI and their motives and analogies to today, like, I think that’s actually inevitable if a contest like this would happen.
0:30:50.9 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah. It’s the Amazon/Comcast/Uber monopoly that’s going to emerge in 20 years. (laughs)
0:30:56.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs) Right.
0:30:57.6 **Safia Abdalla** Oh, terrifying.
0:30:59.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** I was going to say one of the terrifying things about it is that since they own the cabs, if you get into the cab and it identifies you as a criminal, it probably just takes you straight to the police.
0:31:11.0 **Safia Abdalla** Is this in the book or the movie?
0:31:14.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** This is in the book. He gets into a cab, he changes his identity back to his original identity so that he doesn’t get… So, in the book Wade is the one that goes into IOI, he goes in as an indentured servant and then he escapes.
0:31:33.7 **Jen Luker** So-
0:31:33.6 **Safia Abdalla** I see.
0:31:34.3 **Jen Luker** I have to explain a little bit of the difference between the book and the movie right now that’s a little bit deeper than that. So, before this happens, one of the brothers is actually murdered.
0:31:44.5 **Safia Abdalla** In the book?
0:31:45.9 **Jen Luker** In the book. One of the brothers is murdered.
0:31:47.7 **Safia Abdalla** Okay.
0:31:48.7 **Jen Luker** And-
0:31:48.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** One of the Japanese brothers.
0:31:50.4 **Jen Luker** Yes. So they’re murdered in their apartment, they’re found and what ends up happening is Wade discovers because evil dude, head of the sixes, tells him he’s got files on all of them and can find all of them, so in order to save everyone else he agrees, or decides, to break a bunch of laws and get himself slammed into indenturetude as opposed to in the movie where Art3mis kind of does it in order to break into IOI. So instead it’s actually Wade who does all of that and he does it on his own and everyone is kind of angry that he looked at their files in order to save them.
0:32:37.8 But the only way, I think, to get those files was to go in to IOI?
0:32:42.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, he had some passwords and stuff but you had to be on their intranet.
0:32:47.9 **Jen Luker** Right. So that’s why he decided to go into IOI to get their files and delete them off of IOI’s system so that he could save them. Otherwise they were going to get hunted down and killed because at first his aunt’s trailer is blown up, including the entire stack, and then the Japanese brother is killed, and then the others are threatened. So this is his option. This is what he chooses to do. Specifically, Art3mis was threatened.
0:33:16.5 **Jason Staten** And it came with dual purpose as well is not only just saving them but also at the point in that time in the book the sixers happened to have a stronghold kind of forcefield kind of going on around the final gate and so nobody else could actually get in. And so by Parzival going and infiltrating the IOI headquarters he was able to go and set up a delivery of a package for the mage that was holding up the invincible forcefield and the delivery was a huge bomb of some sort that went and wiped out that character immediately because it was delivered by a droid at a very specific time which is what finally kicked off the big battle towards the end where they have, like, robots and stuff.
0:34:11.4 **Jen Luker** Right, but that was the second re-entry, wasn’t it? It wasn’t the first. So the first time they went into IOI it was actually Wade on his own and the second time was Parzival going in to deliver the “package.”
0:34:24.4 **Jason Staten** He only did it once.
0:34:27.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, he only went in once. While he was there he set up a scheduled delivery-
0:34:33.6 **Jen Luker** Oh, right!
0:34:34.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** To someone who was inside of the forcefield.
0:34:38.1 **Jen Luker** Right, I remember now.
0:34:39.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Then he was able to send out a huge email blast, which I thought was really weird. He said he emailed everyone in The Oasis and I was like, how is that possible?
0:34:47.6 **Jen Luker** IOI has access to all of it. They are the-
0:34:50.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:34:52.2 **Jen Luker** They are the ISP.
0:34:53.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I thought maybe it was that he’d stole all the email addresses while he was in there, but it kind of just sounded like you could just email “” or something. And he also said most people wouldn’t get that email because it would get caught in their spam filter.
0:35:09.6 **Jason Staten** And I think one of the other things he did with it is he had his own channel, because everybody had their own kind of TV station that you could tune in to.
0:35:19.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** YouTube.
0:35:20.3 **Jason Staten** Yeah, but YouTube, or I guess it would be almost like a Twitch because they would-
0:35:23.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Twitch, yeah.
0:35:24.7 **Jason Staten** It was live. Yeah, see? Yet another thing that we have that is, it is the underpaintings of this, but people would see him reading that on his, kind of, live feed and media outlets would go and spin it around. So even if the email didn’t actually reach those individuals, just by getting select people and having the credibility he had just by being on top of the scoreboard, I mean that circulated it. So it didn’t seem that far-fetched for me.
0:35:54.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** That’s the other interesting thing about it. So you had to pay money to have one of these Twitch streams or whatever, one of these channels. So many things inside of The Oasis you have to pay for. Teleporting is super expensive. If you want to fly a ship you have to pay for it, or maybe have a friend that has a ship, and they’re trying to stop IOI from taking over because they’re going to make it worse, they’re going to make it more expensive.
0:36:18.3 So it’s free to get into The Oasis but most people are kind of stuck on this main planet that you first spawn at. Wade, he got a free teleportation pass to the school but it, you know, it sounds like they’re trying to protect the freedom of The Oasis but everything’s already so locked down and expensive. It seems strange to me that there’s only one virtual reality world and there’s not other options.
0:36:46.6 **Jen Luker** There’s one world but there’s a whole bunch of ways in which you can interact with that world, including different planets. It just depends on-
0:36:54.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right.
0:36:55.6 **Jen Luker** How you choose to do it.
0:36:57.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** But it’s all the same Oasis system.
0:36:59.6 **Jen Luker** Mm-hmm (affirmative).
0:37:00.7 **Safia Abdalla** Do you feel like that’s part of the kind of grander point? That there is this perceived diversity but behind it all is one, like, singular organization similar to the way that, you know, the Google-verse has a lot of perceived diversity but behind it all, it's one kind of entity controlling all of that?
0:37:23.4 **Jen Luker** I think, and maybe not like the Google-verse as much as, like, Disney for instance, that actually owns a bunch of TV stations and owns a bunch of movie studios and also owns a bunch of other types of companies. So it’s like, you know, the head company may be Disney, but there’s Warner Brothers and there’s, you know, all of the others down below it. So it’s kind of like masking it based on that.
0:37:49.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. But everyone in the world, The Oasis is like the real world to them and they are depending on this one company being benevolent.
0:38:00.8 **Jen Luker** But they’re not relying on the one company, they’re relying on the creators and controllers of The Oasis.
0:38:08.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:38:08.1 **Jen Luker** And there’s only so many people. There was essentially three people that had that control. Everything else is like an open source. The whole thing is an open source world. You can write you own planet and you can create your own clubs and you can create your own clothes, you just had to be able to…
0:38:28.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Afford it?
0:38:29.8 **Jen Luker** Sort of, yeah. You, kind of, like, it was kind of like buying space, I guess.
0:38:36.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right.
0:38:36.9 **Jen Luker** So maybe it was, like, you know, buying yourself a domain and having web hosting.
0:38:43.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, okay.
0:38:44.2 **Jason Staten** That is how it described them making money in it, was by selling real estate within The Oasis, that they were able to start selling estate within The Oasis for more money than actual real world.
0:38:56.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:38:57.7 **Jason Staten** And so that is how, like, money actually came to exist for, what is it? GSG? The company that ran The Oasis, not the IOI bad guys.
0:39:09.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Right. GSS.
0:39:11.7 **Jason Staten** Yes.
0:39:12.1 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Gregarious Simulation Systems.
0:39:14.6 **Jason Staten** Yes. It was GSG when it was games but then it became systems, yeah.
0:39:20.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So there’s one part in here in particular that really freaks me out and that was when they were in a private chat room which is, Aech’s, he controls, that he paid for, that is encrypted, that no one else is supposed to be able to get access to unless he invites them, and then Og, who is the other creator of The Oasis who didn’t die, he just shows up. And he’s been listening in to their conversations this whole time and he says, “Well, not to worry though because I’m the only one who has access. It’s totally fully encrypted except for that fact that I can get in.” And-
0:39:58.8 **Safia Abdalla** Famous last words. (laughs)
0:40:00.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** It’s like, wait. It’s encrypted but there’s a back door so, is it really?
0:40:06.1 **Jen Luker** But nobody knew about it so they didn’t take advantage.
0:40:10.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, luckily.
0:40:11.9 **Jen Luker** Insert wholesomeness.
0:40:15.0 **Jason Staten** But the moment that that all of a sudden becomes known then you can’t trust any connection that exists from that point forward because if there’s one back door, like, what conversations have or have not been listened to? Like, I mean that breaks the whole trust chain.
0:40:32.7 **Jen Luker** It’s true!
0:40:33.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, and there’s this other idea that Halliday programmed in all of these Easter Egg things, but if you programmed it then it’s code somewhere that someone can see. I just always thought that was a little weird that he programmed it and in five years no one’s found it or they’ve… the people that work at The Oasis found it but maintained it but didn’t tell anybody?
0:41:01.3 **Jen Luker** But the people that worked at Oasis didn’t know it existed either.
0:41:05.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** After he died they did.
0:41:07.5 **Jason Staten** Yep.
0:41:08.5 **Jen Luker** That is true except for the fact that, again, it was only the three at the top that had control of the whole thing, and two of them were dead.
0:41:17.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, I mean you would think they would have a bunch of programmers. You can’t just program something and then leave it sitting for five years. It has to be worked on.
0:41:26.1 **Jen Luker** But that’s that point! It’s the fact that it’s, that was all open source. It was just the very bare, basic bones thing that wasn’t. Everything else was open source.
0:41:34.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm. I didn’t catch the part that was open source.
0:41:39.1 **Jason Staten** Yeah.
0:41:39.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:41:41.4 **Jen Luker** ‘Cause you could buy your real estate and then do whatever you wanted with it.
0:41:44.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm, yeah. So you could have your own world that’s a private repo.
0:41:50.3 **Jen Luker** Yeah.
0:41:51.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** But it still seems like there’s some big overarching code to support the whole thing. It did mention some interesting things about how it was able to support so many people at a time unlike other massive multiplayer online games today. I don’t remember exactly, it was some sort of distributed system that balances the load of computation across different devices.
0:42:16.1 **Jason Staten** Yeah, like everybody within that sector all of the sudden starts taking a share of the load.
0:42:22.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:42:22.9 **Jason Staten** There are some amazing strategies that are taken to go and deal with that sort of stuff. Are you familiar with the game EVE Online?
0:42:31.4 **Jen Luker** Yes!
0:42:31.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** I’ve heard of it.
0:42:33.7 **Jason Staten** So one of the things that they do within EVE to deal with major battles because that happens within there every now and then, I mean they usually try and keep it peaceful because it costs lots of money, like real world money, to do battles in it. But when that happens, what they do to cope with it is rather than having a glitchy lag where, like, people get different perceived performance it does actually go and slow down the server time and so something that would normally take one minute would end up taking five minutes in order to go and deal with the load of it. So it winds up getting spread out and smoothed out a little bit more versus having, kind of, hopping around that you might see with lag in some other games.
0:43:23.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Interesting. And does that lag take place across the entire world? I mean, I’m assuming it’s an entire world. In The Oasis you have different sectors because it’s so huge, but…
0:43:34.0 **Jason Staten** I think that they organize it in the same way where different sectors will be given, like, different sets of servers and they might even be able to shift more load to more servers. But it’s not a distributed thing where everybody on it is involved because you have the challenge of once you start putting computation on the side of the clients you have to start being able to trust that clients that they are telling the truth.
0:44:00.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Oh, yeah. So you would have to have some sort of way of being able to trust the clients which.... may or may not be possible, I guess.
0:44:12.2 **Jason Staten** Yeah.
0:44:12.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** You could probably do some sort of, like, zero knowledge proof or something.
0:44:16.3 **Jason Staten** Yeah, something like that. Some sort of even, like, slight check sum sort of thing where you hand over a sum to them but you still, you’re in a partial trusted environment and I’m sure it’s been done before where, like, you are saying, I don’t know what your position is and then if you’re, if you repeatedly say things that are false or not aligning with what other systems are saying then it can be deemed that, well, given, like, Adam, your machine constantly gives me values that are incorrect it can be assumed that, like, you’re in the wrong.
0:44:53.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. So another thing I wanted to touch on is the ‘80s themes because I think that’s one of the big appeals of this book is it’s just cram packed full of ‘80s references, almost… like, almost too much and it’s very, very specific. It’s like, the name of the song, the band, RCA 1987 because they are so intense on learning everything about the ‘80s that Halliday loved. So I was wondering, like, how many of the references did you get or not get? Did you like that part?
0:45:30.4 **Jen Luker** So, it wasn’t just that Halliday loved them it was that he grew up in them and it was almost like he stopped aging at a certain point and he got stuck in the ‘80s because life didn’t turn out the way that he had hoped or wanted and so that’s where he stopped.
0:45:50.0 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:45:50.7 **Jen Luker** Which meant that everything that was involved in that was all from that time period where he was growing up. Now being a child of said ‘80s (laughs) I appreciated and recognized a great majority of them, I think?
0:46:06.0 But no, going back to your point, the reason why the hunt was so focused on the ‘80s was because it was his Easter Egg and he hid his clues in things that he knew and because of the fact that everything he knew was basically based on the ‘80s because he stopped growing and evolving at that point, meant that the entire world got dug into the ‘80s because of the fact that they were looking for clues, too. But it was a worldwide phenomenon where everybody was looking for this Easter Egg and all of the clues and the keys that would lead to it. So-
0:46:48.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:46:49.4 **Jen Luker** The ‘80s became extremely common.
0:46:51.9 **Safia Abdalla** Was there a meta reason that the author of the book centered on the ‘80s as the kind of time period to trap the characters in, do you think?
0:47:04.5 **Jen Luker** The author was an ‘80s kid, too. (laughs) Huge fan of that, so wrote what they knew.
0:47:12.3 **Safia Abdalla** So it’s just kind of personal. Yeah, that was one thing I kind of found a little bit harder for me to relate to. Obviously because I wasn’t born in the ‘80s but also as someone who immigrated to the United States it’s a lot harder for me to build, like, a cultural dictionary of, like, all of the different kinds of things that happened in different time periods in American culture. So-
0:47:35.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
0:47:36.3 **Safia Abdalla** When I was watching the movie I was just, like, trying to get references to things and yeah, I need a guide book for that.
0:47:46.2 **Jen Luker** There are, in fact, guide books and college textbooks that are all based on this now, too. So, they exist!
0:47:52.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Wow. So a lot of the references went right over my head. I was born in ‘88 so there were still some ‘80s things around, you know, I saw some things. There was a pizza place I loved going to as a kid and they had the Mrs. Pacman arcade but it was the one where you could sit down and eat your pizza while you played it. Kind of like what he mentioned in the book where he got his extra life coin, but I think he was playing Pacman. So I was playing Mrs. Pacman.
0:48:25.5 And… a lot of those older games are, they just seem incredibly difficult to me and I’ve had very little interest in playing them but this book kind of sparked some interest in it and I’ve looked up the video of Adventure where the little tiny dot goes around and it picks up the little tiny pixelated sword and eventually you can find the Easter Egg where it says the name of the creator.
0:48:58.2 I have not seen a lot of the movies referenced. One of the challenges is to repeat lines of a movie. In the book and in the movie they’re different movies. It’s War Games and then in the movie it’s a horror movie. I forgot what it was.
0:49:15.3 **Jen Luker** I watched War Games on rerun for years, just saying.
0:49:21.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
0:49:21.5 **Jen Luker** So I knew that.
0:49:22.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** The movie I did really get was Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
0:49:26.8 **Jen Luker** Yes.
0:49:27.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** I feel like that one has really stayed popular way past the ‘80s. What about you, Jason?
0:49:36.0 **Jason Staten** For me, a lot of it did, like you said, go past me; especially because I have only read the book. One of the things that stood out to me is sometimes a song would get referenced and it would draw nothing, a total blank for me as to, like, what that particular thing was and so I would just have to think, “Okay, well that is definitely an ‘80s reference.” And it did actually make me think that it would have been nice to have the movie right there.
0:50:06.7 I would say one of the things that was interesting about the time period and that stands out in the book about the ‘80s is in particular video games that there were so many different ways that the things were going at that point, whether it be, like, the various computers between the Apple 2 or the, what are the, the TRSH-
0:50:31.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Like, the TRS 80?
0:50:33.2 **Jason Staten** Yeah, the “trash” and the-
0:50:37.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
0:50:37.2 **Jason Staten** I don’t know, just all the options that were available there and all of them have these crazy numbers after them, too. It was always, like, The Atari 2600 it couldn’t just be, like, I don’t know, any other number than that or, like, any small number but it was a bunch of different groups all trying different things and looking at it now, it seems kind of exciting in one way because there was lots of, like, innovation or, like, lots of trying different approaches at things and now when it comes to things like gaming, I mean, we’re moving down towards a lot more of the same whether it’s like, I mean, if you’re on a PC it’s very much like you have windows, windows games on the PC. Or like, that’s the platform that it’s built on top of. Or when it comes to consoles, like, there are only a few major ones, it’s not quite as widespread.
0:51:32.7 And also, just like, the mind power that was necessary for those games to, like, go and turn just, like, a set of, like, pixels that, you know, a few blocks into, like, this Adventure that was really going on. That’s the other kind of cool thing is, like, you could, you could really like, bring yourself into that realm where you had to, much like even-
0:51:53.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah they had so many constraints.
0:51:55.9 **Jason Staten** Even Halliday’s love of Dungeons and Dragons is something where it’s very mental and not just laid out for you on a screen in high definition.
0:52:06.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:52:07.5 **Jen Luker** That was kind of the beauty of the time. It’s like-
0:52:09.5 **Jason Staten** Yeah.
0:52:09.9 **Jen Luker** We had games and computer systems and consoles coming out like we have JavaScript libraries these days, right? So, like-
0:52:17.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
0:52:18.0 **Jen Luker** They were coming out of your ears and every single one was different and every new version had a new unique game that you could play on it but you couldn’t play it on any of the other versions because it was only written to comply with this one version of this one thing. And, you know, sometimes it came down to you had to have this operating system on this bit of hardware with this game otherwise it would never work.
0:52:38.6 So it was just, it was wild and it was, you know, it was the wild west of, you know, new programming adventures as far as the entire world was concerned. So it was all exciting. It was all new technology and every single thing that came out was just like, mind blowingly new. And that was the cool thing about the timeframe, you know?
0:52:58.8 And so I felt like the whole purpose of taking that construct and applying it to something like VR was kind of trying to recapture that magic of the time, one of the beauties of the ‘80s was the fact that everything was new and everything was an adventure and everything was mind blowing. And by that point, nothing was new. Everyone was poor and broke and dying, and there was nothing to live for.
0:53:30.3 So having VR and the world be open again, the universe be open again, and not only did you have all of the future you could create but you had all of the past that you could explore. Not only was the past exciting to explore but the past held the Easter Eggs and the keys. There was something to find there and it gave people something to live for.
0:53:54.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm. Yeah. So I wonder what it was like after the key was found, after the egg was found. Especially if you had been looking for it for five years.
0:54:08.4 **Jen Luker** That all depends on what Parzival decided to do with it.
0:54:11.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. (laughs) So what did y’all think of the ending?
0:54:16.1 **Jen Luker** The endings are pretty similar in both. The thing that I thought was that it wrapped it all the way back around to it all being about relationships and how technology influences those relationships. In the end it wasn’t even about the games, it wasn’t even about the ‘80s, it wasn’t about the future. It was about coming of age and relationships in a world that’s close but not quite to our own.
0:54:44.3 **Jason Staten** That was the thing that stood out to me even before the last battle in the book where they all go to Og’s castle, or his home. (laughs) And one of the things that Wade realizes is that regardless of the outcome of the battle, like, he is still going to meet Art3mis face to face.
0:55:07.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. It’s interesting because the whole thing is about this virtual world and then the creator of that virtual world says don’t make the same mistake I did and, you know, go out and live your life in the real world.
0:55:28.4 Of course it’s going to be a lot easier now that he has a ton of money and that he’s already met a girlfriend.
0:55:41.5 **Jen Luker** But I think that was part of the thing, it wasn’t that he said don’t make the mistake that I did as in get stuck in the universe, he meant don’t make the same mistake I did and get stuck at a certain point in my life and never be able to progress beyond on that. Don’t get stuck being 20.
0:55:57.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Don’t get stuck in the ‘80s.
0:55:58.7 **Jen Luker** You know? Don’t let high school be the pinnacle of your existence. So much exciting life exists beyond high school and so don’t let that be the end, you know? And I think that was kind of the point, whether you use technology or you use the real world the purpose was to keep evolving.
0:56:18.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. All right. That’s probably a good place to end it. You have anything else?
0:56:23.8 **Jason Staten** I did have one more question.
0:56:25.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:56:26.2 **Jason Staten** And that was for each one of you. Is there an Easter Egg that you have either found or made in your history that you reflect upon fondly?
0:56:39.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm. Well I know Jen has an Easter Egg we’ve talked about on her website.
0:56:45.8 **Jason Staten** Sort of. I’m not sure that’s really an Easter Egg at this point, though.
0:56:49.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** It kind of is.
0:56:51.0 **Jen Luker** But if you click on the button it ends up changing the background (laughs). That’s always a fun one. When I was a kid I switched the prince and the princess in Donkey Kong. The prince was the one at the top.
0:57:04.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** How did you do that?
0:57:06.7 **Jen Luker** Well I wrote Donkey Kong from scratch-
0:57:08.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Oh.
0:57:08.8 **Jen Luker** When my parents wouldn’t buy it for me.
0:57:10.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Oh, right.
0:57:11.4 **Jen Luker** On my Commodore 64. And it was a really bad version but it was mine. So there you go.
0:57:19.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** I don’t think I’ve found any but I did used to use a GameShark on the Gameboy Color and you plugged the GameShark in the Gameboy and then the cartridge into the GameShark. So it would play the game but then you would try to do something, go back in the GameShark, change something, go back into the game and see if it affected the game in the way you wanted to. So you could possibly jump higher or have unlimited lives or something like that. And there were often some very unexpected results.
0:57:58.5 **Jen Luker** There were some fun Easter Eggs in Wolfenstein. There was also an entire collection of keyboard modification keys that you could use for Invader Zim that I used to do a lot. Yeah, there was always something cool.
0:58:16.2 **Jason Staten** The GameShark makes me think of my Nintendo. I have a Game Genie for, and I actually still have the big gray box and I have the old Game Genie book where it’s this awesome looking genie thing and inside of the book there are certain lines that I have highlighted and I remember going and putting in the, now knowing them as hexadecimal codes, and it’s interesting to know, like, how they actually worked or, like, now being a programmer and understanding that a little bit more where it would go and you would give it a position in memory and then you would also tell it what value to go and set that position in memory to, either to set it to that value on initial startup or to freeze that value so it’s always that. So, like, infinite lives is like, don’t let this value ever go down.
0:59:20.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
0:59:21.6 **Jason Staten** Whereas sometimes super jump is starting with a higher base value so rather than starting from, like, no acceleration you would instead start jumping with a pretty high acceleration to make you wind up jumping higher. And, yeah. So way, way fun stuff from being a kid. I remember moon jumps and stuff like that in Mario being awesome.
0:59:48.8 And as for a particular easter egg for me, it was more cheat code than Easter Egg but I guess, I mean there’s a little bit of overlap, and that was when I was kid, I mean I was probably like four or five at the time, I lived in an apartment and I lived downstairs from this guy named Jim and he had an awesome computer and I remember he used to have Doom on it and it, like, it excited me and also terrified me as a little kid at the time, of, I mean, kind of scary monsters and stuff. But I remember, like, feeling the relief that he gave me when he taught me the mnemonic of “I drink kool aid from apples” which is the set of keys that you can put in to go and get, like, maximum life and like, all the cool weapons including ones that you couldn't actually pick up in the game.
1:00:47.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
1:00:49.1 **Jason Staten** And, like all the keys and so, like, it just made the experience, like, awesome, because you could get like, these absurd guns like the BFG, like, the Big “effing” Gun and-
1:01:05.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
1:01:05.4 **Jason Staten** Like, and just destroy everything. And it, I don’t know, it just felt so good knowing that as a kid because, I mean, not everybody did know that because that was, like, I think at that time it was, I’m sure, maybe some internet existed but not a whole lot and I certainly didn’t have it and I didn’t have friends who played computer games like that so it was just way cool to have, like, this little thing that, like, I knew and he knew because he passed that knowledge onto me. And I still-
1:01:32.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Hmm.
1:01:33.8 **Jason Staten** Remember the mnemonic today, so, it was a good one.
1:01:37.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, so I guess one that I actually found that’s super well known is in Mario Brothers, you can jump above the end tunnel at the end and then you can get into this area where you can jump ahead into different worlds.
1:01:52.8 **Jason Staten** Hmm. Yeah, the world negative one.
1:01:56.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Really?
1:01:57.5 **Jason Staten** Oh, oh no. That’s a different thing, but the warp zone, that’s what you found.
1:02:01.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah, the warp, the warp zone. Yeah. We found that on accident and it was really exciting to see that.
1:02:09.5 **Jason Staten** Oh yeah. And then the negative one thing is a glitch with the warp zone. So because they built in the warp zone you could go and you could jump through the wall rather than running over the top. You could jump just to the right set of pixels and make Mario slide through the wall.
1:02:31.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Wow!
1:02:32.6 **Jason Staten** And if you didn’t go too far to the right because it used his position to kind of pan the camera-
1:02:38.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
1:02:39.2 **Jason Staten** You could still go into the tunnel but that part of memory had not yet loaded up yet and so when you went down it would put you into what was world, they call it negative one because worlds used to be, like, 1-1 or 1-2.
1:02:54.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
1:02:54.8 **Jason Staten** Well when you went into negative one there was just no first digit on it. And so you got-
1:03:00.2 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
1:03:00.2 **Jason Staten** Stuck in this forever waterworld. And so you would get to the end of it and then it would send you back to the beginning of it and you just kept doing it until you died, but-
1:03:09.3 **Adam Garrett-Harris** What? (laughs)
1:03:09.8 **Jason Staten** Like, it was just kind of random memory that you could go and traverse.
1:03:15.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. Cool Well, we better wrap it up. Unfortunately Safia dropped off due to technical difficulties, but thanks so much for listening! Let us know what you thought on Twitter. You can reach us @BookBytesFM or @AGarrHarr or @JasonStaten or @CaptainSafia or Jen is @CodeMonkey, no, @KnitCodeMonkey. And if you haven’t already we would appreciate any reviews you would like to leave on iTunes, that helps people find us. Yeah, so… Thanks! See ya.
1:03:57.1 **Jason Staten** Later!
(Exit music: Electro Swing)
1:04:05.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** So, Safia, you kind of dropped off at the end of the episode there and I was just wanting to follow up and see why you kind of had a mixed reaction to whether or not you liked it?
1:04:19.1 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, so for me, Ready Player One was just a little bit difficult to relate to for a couple of reasons. I touched on one of them slightly while we were recording and I wasn’t dropping off, which was there were so many cultural references in the movie that I didn’t get not only because, you know, it was something that, a lot of them were things from the ‘80s that happened before I was born but also just because I sometimes feel that having immigrated to America and have, kind of, lived here as an immigrant I don’t necessarily pick up on cultural references from past eras as quickly as other people. It just wasn’t part of, you know, growing up for me. It’s not like my parents talked about it or it was something that was going on in my family. So a lot of those, like, you know, cultural references from the ‘80s just went over my head and I found it very hard to relate to the film because of that.
1:05:15.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
1:05:16.6 **Safia Abdalla** Like, a big part of the film was very much so centered on, like, video game culture and I’m not a gamer. It was very obviously, like, allusions to gaming culture, some that I understood, like, you know, the concept of an Easter egg, but there were some moments where I didn’t feel like, completely in completely in touch with the narrative ‘cause it wasn’t something that I was, like, super into. For me, I found it very hard to respond in a very strong emotional way to the movie just ‘cause I kind of didn’t get parts of it and it didn’t really, like, didn’t resonate with me.
1:05:50.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. I did not understand a lot of the ‘80s references and also don’t play video games anymore but I used to as a kid, so I do have kind of a nostalgia towards video games.
1:06:01.8 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, I guess that’s the thing is, like, I did see this and a couple of people in my network were, like, talking about the movie, like a big part of them wanting to see it was the nostalgia and that appeal kind of wasn’t there for me as someone who didn’t really have anything to be nostalgic about.
1:06:17.8 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. So have you seen this video called “Ready Player One for Girls”?
1:06:23.0 **Safia Abdalla** I have not, but that sounds intriguing.
1:06:25.6 **Adam Garrett-Harris** It’s by this YouTuber named Jamie Nicholson and she takes Ready Player One and she puts, like, pink glitter on the cover and pretends it’s a female version and then she reads passages from it where she’s just replaced all of the different ‘80s references with different things that she would actually know.
1:06:43.7 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah.
1:06:44.4 **Adam Garrett-Harris** And some of it I think is obviously sarcasm going to the extreme of even joking about, kind of, how women aren’t smart, but it's pretty good.
1:06:55.5 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah, so it’s kind of a satirical play on-
1:06:57.9 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah.
1:06:58.9 **Safia Abdalla** The movie. Nice. Yeah, I think that kind of stuff is interesting and I think it’d be kind of interesting to see what it would look like if the plot of Ready Player One was written with a couple more underrepresented characters because I definitely think that some of the themes that are discussed in the movie, and I’m pretty sure the book, are things that would be really relevant to those types of people. You have themes of oppression, you have themes of being a David that is, like, fighting against a Goliath. You have themes of people who are disenfranchised and disadvantaged coming together to do something that people didn’t believe they could do. So I think a lot of those themes would be really resonant for a lot of people who are underrepresented.
1:07:46.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. Well, with Aech, Aech being a female of color, it touches a lot more on it in the book, about why she uses a white male character in The Oasis, but her mom told her to do that because she would get treated differently.
1:08:04.2 **Safia Abdalla** Oh! That’s, that, yeah that was not something that was touched on in the movie and that’s definitely a very relatable concept. I know lots of female programmers who will, like, use androgynous or ungendered GitHub user names to avoid people having certain perceptions of them when they’re contributing to open source. And that’s, you know, a plot device in a fiction book, but it is something that real people do in real life.
1:08:28.5 **Adam Garrett-Harris** Yeah. Cool. Well, thanks for following up and that was good to hear why it wasn’t as relatable.
1:08:36.2 **Safia Abdalla** Yeah. And hopefully my internet won’t be as terrible-
1:08:39.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** (laughs)
1:08:39.9 **Safia Abdalla** In the future. (laughs)
1:08:39.7 **Adam Garrett-Harris** All right.
(Typewriter Dings)
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