Wednesday, August 14, 2013



An awesome adventure through 80's video game / pop culture. 
The story will hook you and keep you scrolling the pages on your e-reader as fast as your arcade hardened fingers will let you.
Set in a depressing sounding future most people take refuge online, on an all encompassing virtual world called the Oasis. When the founder of the Oasis dies he leaves a final message - he is leaving his vast fortune and control of the Oasis to the person who completes his challenge. The challenge is a series of cryptic clues that lead users to keys. Find three keys and you win.
Now, the challenges are what set this story well apart from anything I've ever read. You need to take a trip back to the beginning of the video game era. You should hook up that old Tandy or Commodore 64 to practice. Throw in some early arcade games, a little dungeons and dragons. Brush up on your Monty Python quotes and your John Hughes movies b/c they will be essential as well. Player's need to be experts on all things 80's.
The book follows one player, Wade, on his quest to find the keys. We get to feel his excitement and despair while he tries to solve these cryptic clues, travel the universe of the Oasis, and compete with his virtual friends. When the competition starts to escalate he is not only in danger of dying in the virtual world but in the real one too. Each challenge is unique and interesting, putting all of Wade's gaming talents and 80's knowledge to the test. Everything from a perfect game of Pac-Man to reciting word for word The Search for the Holy Grail. The story builds and builds to an epic battle where, of course, good defeats evil...but, it was close for a few chapters.
One of the blurbs on the back cover is a quote by Jon Scalzi (who coincidentally is mentioned in the book a few times), he describes the book with one word - 'nerdgasm'. That pretty much sums it up. If you are a 'nerd' you'll love this book. If you are not, well, you won't understand anything and should not even open the cover.
I never realized how much of a 'nerd' I was until I started reading this book. I found myself laughing at all the 'old' 80's references, and lovingly recalled similar experiences with that computer that used a cassette (instead of disks). I fully understood all the D&D lingo. I even found myself jealous of Wade when he showed up to a virtual club in his Delorean made up to look a bit  like Kit from Knight Rider and then orders a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from the bar! Now, that is sad eh?
I'd describe the book as a nice little nerd package. You've got your epic fantasy/quest story line, you've got your nerd references, and your nerdy main character eventually saves the world (and lands a girlfriend - who also happens to be a big nerd). There is even an all powerful Wizard! What more could you want?


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