Ready Player One is one of the best and most thrilling films of the last decade

A still from Ready Player One (2018), directed by Steven Spielberg

Seeing Ready Player One (2018) again in May made me remember some things that I haven’t thought about in years. I saw Ready Player One for the first time when it was released in theaters. Back then, I wasn’t really impressed by the film. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t in the right mood when I saw it. I saw it in a rather small, dull auditorium in a new cinema, and I went to the bathroom more than once during the screening. But, when I saw it again in May of this year, it left quite an impression on me. I now think that it’s one of the most enjoyable films of the last decade. For me, it now stands along films like Dredd (2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Logan (2017), Incredibles 2 (2018), Toy Story 3 (2010), Lincoln (2012), Room (2015), and even The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013). I can rewatch these films again and again, and there haven’t been many such films made in Hollywood in the last decade. I am familiar with the pop culture that is featured in Ready Player One. I know about the films and the music that get mentioned. Only when it came to video games was I not fully in the know. It’s because I didn’t grow up playing video games. I’ve got to say that the only home video game console that I’ve ever had before I reached my twenties was the Atari 2600. My father brought it over for a few weeks when I was little. I don’t know where he got it. This happened at a time when the Atari 2600 was several generations behind the consoles that existed. So, while other children got to play on their Nintendo consoles, for example, I got to play on the Atari 2600, and only for a few weeks. And the games that were on it weren’t even the best. There was Custer’s Revenge, which is a game that’s notorious due to its goal being to rape a Native American woman. There was Pac-Man, which people think contributed to the North American video game crash of 1983 because it’s a bad game. And there were a few other games that I don’t remember well. I played the games, but I didn’t enjoy them because they looked so primitive. Nowadays, the Atari 2600 is considered to be a pop culture icon and the first popular home video game console. It plays a part in the story of Ready Player One. But, when I played it as a child, I didn’t like it much. My “parents” didn’t let me do anything that they thought interfered with my schoolwork. They took away anything that they thought I was spending much time on. Therefore, I didn’t get to watch much television, or read books for children, or play with toys, and I certainly didn’t get to have a game console. Moreover, I don’t come from a wealthy family. Some people may think that I had a middle class upbringing, but I actually had a working class upbringing. I went to a regular school and got a regular Western education that was intended to keep the masses obedient and not knowledgeable. I had no money when I was a child, and I rarely had money when I was a teenager. I had only a few toys, and I had to draw and make my own action figures out of paper. In this respect, things got only a little better when I became a teenager. I acquired a small television set that could play VHS tapes after I finished the 8th grade in high school. But I couldn’t buy any tapes because I had no money. So, I had to borrow tapes from my local library. In this way, I became familiar with popular Hollywood films. On that same television set, I also got to see many films from Hong Kong because it had an antenna and was thus able to show a few local channels in black and white. I began working at my local library when I was in the 10th grade, but part-time work doesn’t result in thousands or even hundreds of dollars of income. So, the first console that I acquired when I was in my twenties is the PlayStation 2. I bought the slim model of the console, when the PlayStation 2 was already at the very end of its lifespan. The fact that this console has a built-in DVD player, and that it can play PlayStation 1 games, played a factor in my purchase. I still have this console, along with a remote control that I bought for it. The first video games that I bought for my PlayStation 2 were Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Final Fantasy X. Now, for anyone who knows something about video games, it should be clear that all of these games are excellent. Metal Gear Solid 2 is the best game in the franchise, in my opinion. Final Fantasy Tactics is easily one of the best and most memorable video games of all time. Chrono Cross is the perfect Japanese RPG. Games like these no longer get made. I’ve noticed that in the last decade the video game industry in the West and in the Chinese nation of Japan began to resemble the movie industry and the publishing industry. The video game industry is now dominated by monopolies that release unoriginal and dull games. Therefore, I don’t have much of an interest in games that got made after the 2000s. There are some exceptions to this trend, however. Nintendo continues to release fantastic games, even if they are sequels. Pikmin 3 for the Wii U, for example, is a fantastic game that I finished playing about a month ago. Unfortunately, because of the low sales of the Wii U, not many people got to play this addictive and polished game. By the way, the Wii U is my favorite console. I will discuss it in a future post. I haven’t even purchased a Nintendo Switch because I think that it’s lacking in features, and I’d rather use the Wii U that I have because of its much better backward compatibility and features. The new games don’t have ambitious stories, or innovative gameplay, or memorable music. Therefore, games like Xenogears, Pikmin, or even Pokemon Red and Blue no longer get made. Since there’s no innovation in gameplay, the focus nowadays is on graphics. But what good are better graphics if the game is boring to play? And the graphics may be more advanced but still look worse artistically. I will discuss this and other matters in future posts. The first handheld video game console that I bought is the PlayStation Vita. The fact that it plays games, music, and videos, and features backward compatibility via the PlayStation Store, played a factor in my purchase. It also has a web browser and features apps like Netflix. I still have this console, and I’ve got to say that I like it very much. I’ve never had a handheld console before I bought the Vita several years ago. When I was in the 7th grade, my sister brought me a Game Boy that her friend had. In this way, I got to play on a Game Boy, which was already outdated at that time, for several days. The only game that was on it was Pokemon Red and Blue. Fortunately, I got to finish the game before my annoyed mother forced me to return the handheld. There is a part in the game in which I got stuck for a day or more. It’s when I couldn’t find the move Cut in order to cut down trees and proceed to the next town. Somehow, if I remember correctly, I was able to acquire the move Fly before I acquired Cut (or was it the other way around?). Going back and forth between various town and roads and looking for any clue that might help was quite annoying. These days, solutions to problems such as these can easily be found in a video game guide. Of course, I would have preferred to play on a much better handheld that was available at that time. It’s called the Muslim Boy, and the Game Boy is actually a lame knockoff of this great Islamic console. The Muslim Boy was developed by Jihad Electronics. It featured unforgettable games like Super Muslim Bros, Muslim Man 2, Wariobeard 3, Muslim Or Die, Camel Racing, Arab Street Fighter II, Jihadvania, The Legend of Aladdin, New Muslim Super Studs, and Star Sheikh. The Muslim Boy was powered by a nuclear battery that could be taken out to power something like a Toyota war truck. Don’t ask me how that works. Muslim science is way too advanced for me to explain. Moreover, some of the parts of the Muslim Boy were perfect as replacement parts for the AK-47 assault rifle, which is another impressive Muslim invention, just like the Toyota war truck. Allegedly, Shigeru Miyamoto stole many of his ideas from the great Muslim video game designer Muhammad Muhammad. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing Ready Player One enough that I saw it again only two days later. I don’t have an interest in the story of the film, which is about the OASIS. What appeals to me is the fact that the film is well made, that it’s entertaining, and that it has appealing characters. After a turd like Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008), I thought that Steven Spielberg has lost it in his old age. But he came back with Lincoln and Ready Player One. I’m now considering buying the book by Ernest Cline on Audible, just out of curiosity. The video game industry is one of the industries that are being promoted by the Western establishment as a distraction for the masses, somewhat how “bread and circuses” played a role in Ancient Rome. Still, most of the consoles and games that were made before the 2010s are great, and I have no problem with people playing good video games. I can recommend looking at a book like Art Of Atari by Tim Lapetino. It’s amusing how the now primitive Atari video games had covers made for them that look so much better than the covers made for modern video games.