Ready Player One Questions and Answers

Ernest Cline

What is a gunter?

The word "gunter" is a fusion of the words "egg" and "hunter." In Wade's world, gunters are people who spend much of their time in the OASIS virtual reality world looking for James Halliday's Easter egg. A computer-generated Easter egg is defined as a secret object, message, or clue hidden inside a program by its creator. Halliday designed his egg hunt to mimic the first video game Easter egg, created by the real-life Warren Robinett. When Robinett coded Adventure, he hid a message identifying himself as the game's creator in the Black Castle. In the story, Wade Watts/Parzival is the gunter who finds Halliday's egg.

What does OASIS stand for?

OASIS stands for the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. Ontology refers to the study of reality or existence, while anthropocentrism holds that humans are central to life in the universe. Basically, the OASIS is a virtual world that allows players from all over the globe to coexist inside thousands of simulated environments at any given time. Its immersive environment so perfectly simulates a superior reality that no one wants to log out.

Users access the OASIS through an Internet connection and only pay a one-time sign-up fee of 25 cents for a lifetime OASIS account. Once inside the OASIS, users appear as avatars in their preferred gender form or disguise. In the OASIS, users pay real money to equip their avatars with teleportation vehicles, homes, clothing, accessories, magic weapons, and guns. They also pay teleportation fares to travel from one OASIS planet to another. Some users even pay monthly fees to stream their own shows through their POV (personal OASIS vidfeed) channel. Local celebrities or entrepreneurs use their POVs to stream their own reality shows, earning substantial incomes from user fees.

What are Fyndoro's Tablet of Finding and the Cataclyst?

In the book, these are two of the most powerful weapons in the OASIS. Fyndoro's Tablet of Finding is a flat tablet made of polished black stone. It can be used once a day to display any avatar's precise location in the OASIS. However, the tablet has range limitations. The tablet's owner must be on the same planet as his target to discover the exact coordinates of the target's location. If the owner is merely in the same sector as his target, the tablet simply reveals the planet the target is on; it will not provide exact location coordinates. Meanwhile, if the owner and target are in different sectors altogether, the tablet will only reveal the target's sector location (again, without any coordinates). Fyndoro's Tablet of Finding is sold to IOI for almost two million credits.

The Cataclyst is a rare, powerful bomb that can kill every avatar in a sector. There is no defense against it. The Cataclyst sold to an anonymous bidder for a little over a million credits. Later in the book, we discover that IOI was the buyer. The Sixers deploy the Cataclyst during the final Third Gate challenge, and it levels everything on Chthonia, leaving the Third Gate hovering in mid-air. The only things that are impervious to the Cataclyst are artifacts.

What is IOI?

IOI refers to Innovative Online Industries, a global communications conglomerate and the world's largest Internet service provider in Cline's Ready Player One. IOI sells Internet access to OASIS users and earns revenue from the sale of products and services inside the virtual reality world. In the novel, IOI is focused on finding Halliday's egg, claiming his fortune, and obtaining complete control over the OASIS. IOI not only wants to charge users OASIS connection fees, it also wants to levy taxes for the privilege of accessing all the functions of the OASIS. As the sole owner of OASIS, IOI would retain the right to regulate speech and commerce in the virtual reality world.

What are the "Limerick" and the "Quatrain"?

The Limerick refers to a short rhyme that reveals the location of the Copper Key. Wade discovers the Limerick by piecing together 112 notched letters from Anorak's Almanac (a collection of Halliday's journal entries about life and 80s pop culture). Eventually, Wade figures out that the Copper Key is located in a recreated Dungeons and Dragons module (called the Tomb of Horrors) on planet Ludus. The Quatrain is also a rhyme, and it reveals the location of the Jade Key in a "dwelling long neglected." It is Aech who reveals to Wade that the "dwelling" refers to a white house on planet Frobozz, from a recreated text-adventure game called Zork.

What is a stargate?

Stargates are space portals that shorten the time needed to travel long distances. There are stargates in every sector in the OASIS. However, they are very expensive to use and are usually only utilized by corporations or very wealthy avatars. In the book, Wade decides to use one for his journey to Archaide, thinking that the Jade Key is located there. Although he doesn't find the key, he ends up winning a very valuable artifact after acing a Pac-Man game: a magical quarter with regenerative powers. When the Cataclyst bomb kills every avatar in the sector and levels the entire terrain of Chthonia, the quarter allows Wade's avatar to be resurrected.

What is the Hab Block?

The Hab Block is a network of hallways containing stacks of coffin-shaped sleeping capsules. The capsules are called hab-units. Each hab-unit is a meter high, a meter wide, and two meters long. In Imperial measurements, this would be about three feet high, three feet wide, and six feet long. Each capsule contains a gel-foam mattress pad and pillow. A surveillance camera is mounted above the door of each hab-unit, and an entertainment console is built into the walls. New indents can only access IOI-N, IOI's news network. Once an indent has earned above-average ratings in three consecutive performance reviews, he or she will have access to more entertainment options.

What is Incipio?

Incipio is a planet in Sector One. It is where new avatars are created. Wade tells us that there are few interesting activities on Incipio. New, low-level avatars can interact with others of a similar level there. There are also many malls on Incipio, but this holds little interest for Wade.

What are Supply Droids?

Supply Droids run errands for Sixer troops; they resemble the Johnny Five robots from the 1986 movie Short Circuit.  When IOI deploys a force shield over Anorak's Castle, supply droids ensure that Sixer troops are supplied with the equipment and ammunition they need for battle. Unknown to IOI, Wade takes control of a Supply Droid and uses it to detonate an antimatter friction-induction bomb over the 99th level wizard holding the Orb of Osuvox.

What is the Oology Division?

The Oology Division is the base of Sixer troops, located on the 106th floor of IOI Headquarters. It contains high-walled cubicles, each filled with high-end immersion rigs. IOI's immersion rigs are networked so that multiple Sixers can control any one avatar. The Oology division is also staffed by cryptologists, Halliday scholars, pop-culture historians, and video game experts. Oologists who work for IOI have unlimited access to money, weapons, spacecraft, and artifacts.

How is the Rubik's Cube significant to the story?

In the story, Halliday designed the OASIS as a game interface. The Rubik's Cube configuration is significant because Halliday's game is predicated on the fact that there is a solution to every puzzle in his egg hunt. In our world, computer scientists spent 35 years of CPU time to figure out that every configuration of the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube can be solved in 20 steps. So, if a Rubik's Cube can be solved (regardless of configuration), it follows that Halliday's egg puzzle is equally solvable.