Study Guide

Ready Player One Competition

By Ernest Cline

Competition

Prologue
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. (0.1)

The Hunt for Halliday's egg pretty much has the same cultural impact that John F. Kennedy's assassination did in the 1960s. The infamous Zapruder film is even referenced in the book (0.9).

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

Items in the OASIS had just as much value as things in the real world. (2.4)

This is another incentive to hunt for Halliday's egg. Even if you don't win the grand prize, the odds are good that you'll find a rare artifact, which can be sold for real dough. Well that's handy.

Chapter 3
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Over the years, a friendly rivalry had gradually developed between [Wade and Aech]. (3.10)

The competition aspect of their friendship is most likely what holds these two together. Here's hoping it continues to do so when they're back in the real world and there are no Easter eggs to be hunted.

Chapter 7
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I didn't want to ask [Aech] for his help. If I couldn't reach the tomb on my own, I didn't deserve to reach it at all. (7.34)

Wade competes not only with Aech, but with himself, driving himself to do things on his own. There's a subtle hint in this sentence that asking Aech for help would mean Wade would have to reveal information that only he's privileged to, something he isn't willing to do at this early, highly competitive stage of the game.

Chapter 8
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

A gifted human player could always triumph over the game's AI, because software couldn't improvise. (8.49)

Wade's showdown with Acererak demonstrates his competitive drive to triumph over a computer program. It also acts as a microcosm for the entire Hunt, which is basically a computer program that can't improvise either.

Chapter 9
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook

"Competition brings out the best in me." (9.113)

Art3mis says this line, but it could really apply to just about anyone in the novel. The competition for Halliday's egg is so heated, it puts the pacing into overdrive. If it weren't for all these highly competitive people, the plot wouldn't move nearly as fast.

Chapter 17
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I no longer cared that we were supposed to be rivals. (17.164)

For Wade, love trumps competition. Who needs a billion dollars when you can have an online romance with someone you've never met and might even be a different gender than you want them to be? Swoon.

Chapter 20
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Our conversations were now stilted and reserved, as if [Aech and I] were both afraid of revealing some key piece of information the other might be able to use. (20.17)

Competition is a double-edged sword. Early on, Aech and Wade's love of competition brings them together. In the middle of the book, it starts to tear them apart. Don't worry, though—their combined competitive drive to beat IOI will bring them back together in the end.

Chapter 22
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I would have to play a perfect game of Pac-Man. (22.35)

There are multiple competitions within the main competition for Halliday's Easter egg, and it shows just how competitive Wade is when he goes for the perfect game of Pac-Man as a bonus quest. It's not directly related to the egg hunt, and it could take anywhere from four to six hours. But he just can't help himself.

Chapter 23
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

If the Sixers tried to keep all of [the gunters] at bay, it would mean war on a scale never before seen in the history of OASIS. (23.41)

People across the world take this competition very, very seriously, even to the point of making a war out of it. It's a digital war, sure, but it's still a war.