Study Guide

Ready Player One Appearances

By Ernest Cline

Appearances

Chapter 2
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I was overweight, and had been for as long as I could remember. (2.20)

Even though Wade doesn't have any real-life friends, or ever go outside, he's still self-conscious about his appearance. Maybe at this point he's subconsciously preparing himself for a shift to the real world, when he'll have less control over his physical appearance. And hey, he's gotta look good for Samantha.

Todd13 wore an expensive designer skin, probably purchased in some offworld mall. (2.15)

In a world where people are barely employed and gas is at a premium, some people still find the money to spend on modifications for their avatar. Does that seem a little, well, crazy to you?

My avatar had a slightly smaller nose than me, and he was taller. And thinner. And more muscular. And he didn't have any teenage acne. (2.5)

These seem like minor changes to Wade, and maybe they are in a world full of Vulcans and cat people, but it still shows how the OASIS is a world where you can create your own appearance how you want it. Who needs Botox when you never leave your house?

Chapter 9
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

She seemed to be going for a sort of mid-'80s postapocalyptic cyberpunk girl-next-door look. And it was working for me, in a big way. In a word: hot. (9.4)

The OASIS is Wade's reality, so it makes sense that Art3mis's digital body would turn him on. Plus, he can always fantasize that she looks exactly like her avatar. But can it be love if you don't know the other person's physical presence? We're dubious.

Chapter 17
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook

"No one ever looks anything like their avatar." (17.73)

This line is ironically uttered by Art3mis, the one person who looks the most like her avatar out of all of them. Aside from that one thing, she seems pretty comfortable with herself and her appearance.

Chapter 18
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Art3mis winked at me, and then her legs melted together to form a mermaid's tail. (18.34)

People in OASIS can transform their bodies into even non-human forms. Why? Maybe the more appropriate question is why not?

Chapter 19
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

For the first time in my life I had a flat stomach, and muscles. I also had twice the energy, and I got sick a lot less frequently. (19.41)

Wade is unconsciously transforming his physical appearance to more closely match that of Parzival, his avatar, further illustrating the blurring lines between reality and virtual reality. Except we think Parzival actually has hair…

I quickly reached a point where I could no longer fit comfortably in my haptic chair or squeeze in to my XL haptic suit. (19.38)

This becomes Wade's impetus to work out. Not that he is self-conscious or cares about his physical appearance, but that he simply cannot fit into his chair anymore. His improved physique is simply a side effect. Pardon us if we find that a little depressing.

Chapter 26
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I now looked exactly like the hero of Black Tiger—a muscular, half-naked barbarian warrior dressed in an armored thong and a horned helmet. (26.52)

See? Avatars play dress up, too! Even though Wade is playing a character who is playing a character who looks like a Conan the Barbarian rip-off, it makes Wade feel more masculine and heroic, too.

Chapter 29
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

The buildings looked identical to their headquarters in the OASIS on IOI-1, but here in the real world they seemed much more impressive. (29.4)

Wade is in awe of seeing IOI headquarters in real life. When something is constructed by human hands with physical material, it's a lot more impressive than computer code and polygons if we may say so.