I silently wished [...] that I could save my place. But [...] I couldn't. (8.15)
There are no saves in real life, and the OASIS's lack of save points adds to the tension of the plot. Sure, it may not be real life, but sometimes the stakes are the same.
I was actually playing against Halliday. (8.53)
The whole egg Hunt is a game against Halliday. It's Halliday's legacy, giving him eternal fame. Or at least fame that will last as long as the OASIS does. But is this the kind of legacy people should be striving for? Can Halliday shake the fact that people also remember him as a disgruntled lover scorned?
The planet was the site of a meticulous re-creation of his hometown as it was in the late 1980s. (8.69)
Halliday didn't even like his childhood, but he preserved it anyway, like an insect in amber. He might have done it so he could pretend to go back in time whenever he wanted. To him, having a crappy childhood was better than a crappy old-hood. To which we say: fair enough.