Spielberg’s Ready Player One is an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. Set in the near future, the Earth is in terrible condition and most people spend their lives connected to the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual universe that pretty much runs the world. The creator dies, leaving behind a contest to decide who will be the next one to own and control the OASIS. Wade Watts and his friends are determined to keep it out of the hands of a terrible organization.
Here are 7 differences between the book and the movie. Major spoilers for both versions below.
1. The Copper Key
Book: Parzival finds the Tomb of Horrors from Dungeons & Dragons, where the lich king resides. He defeats the lich king in the video game Joust, receiving the first key. To get past the first gate, he plays Dungeons of Daggorath, and then plays as Matthew Broderick’s character in the movie WarGames.
Movie: To win the first key players must win a race. The race is an intense free for all. The players can use weapons on each other and there are things like a T-rex and King Kong to prevent the players from crossing the finish line. If they can cross, they get the key.
2. The Jade Key
Book: To get the second key players must play through the text adventure game Zork on the planet Frobozz. To pass through the second gate players must play through Black Tiger. At the end, they can select a giant robot.
Movie: To get the second key players must enter The Shining. This leads to all kinds of horrors that players must survive. Ultimately, they win by doing the scariest of things in Halliday’s eyes: asking a girl to dance.
3. The crystal key
Book: Based on the Rush album 2112, players must enter the Temple of Syrinx. There’s a hidden guitar that must be placed on an altar. If they play the right song on the guitar, they get an extra clue. The third gate must be unlocked by three people with the crystal key. The final trial includes the Atari game Tempest and the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Movie: To get the final key players must enter Anorak’s castle. There is an Atari 2600 console with every game ever made for the console. To win, one must play Adventure, the first game to contain an easter egg. However, playing to win will not get them the key. They have to find the egg.
Book: I-r0k is an annoying gunter. This idiot accidentally gives away the first key’s location and puts Parzival in danger when he reveals that they all go to school on Ludus.
Movie: I-r0k is one of Sorrento’s henchmen. Sorrento pays him to do his dirty work, like finding artifacts and killing avatars. He’s not great at his job.
5. Going undercover
Book: After Wade’s identity is discovered, he goes into hiding using a new identity. He purposefully racks up debt and is taken by IOI. He works for them while secretly hacking into their system. After getting what he needs, he escapes and meets his friends in person for the first time.
Movie: After the attack on the stacks, Art3mis has Wade kidnapped and brought to her. She’s reveals that she’s Samantha, the leader of a rebel group. IOI finds them and arrests her while Wade escapes. With the help of her friends she attacks IOI from the inside.
6. Ogden Morrow
Book: Og secretly listens in on the High Five’s conversations in Aech’s chatroom. He reveals himself after Wade escapes IOI and provides transportation for the remaining High Five to come to his home. This provides them with a safe place for the final battle.
Movie: Og poses as the curator of a library that contains all available information on Halliday. He doesn’t meet the kids in person until after the final battle. When Wade has won, Og brings Halliday’s lawyers to him and becomes a consultant for the OASIS.
Book: Parzival, Aech, and Art3mis meet Daito and Shoto after they’ve become the High Five. Daito and Shoto, known together as Daisho, are brothers who live in Japan. Well, kind of. They’ve never met in person and they aren’t actually related. Shoto doesn’t even know Daito’s real name until he reads the obituary.
Movie: Parzival and Aech are already friends with Daito and Sho at the beginning of the film. The two are best friends, not brothers. While their avatars may not have made it, both are alive and well at the end.