Ready Player One – Commentary

The digital adaptation of the novel Ready Player One is a riddle-based hypertext fiction. The novel is comprised of three main riddles, and the individual who solves the riddles, and gains the keys, will win the whole of the OASIS creator’s fortune.

While a movie deal has been signed, its release is not scheduled until 2018, and no other adaptations have currently been made for the novel. The entire premise of Ready Player One means it will make a fantastic hypertext adaptation. The possibility of the user encountering dead ends and being rerouted back to a previous screen is an important aspect of this hypertext adaptation.

The concept of storytelling has evolved during the beginning of the 21st century, and the audience is now a critical component in active storytelling. The user’s experience is vital to the success of the story, without interaction in a digital adaptation the user can feel a sense of detachment from the story. This is where my hypertext fiction is key. By focusing on user involvement, and enabling the user to interact with the text and essentially solve the riddles themselves, the user becomes ingrained in the story. This adds a new dimension that the book cannot offer.

Linda Hutcheon’s theory of ‘modes of engagement’ reveals ‘how adaptations allow people to tell, show or interact with stories’.[1] The majority of books would fit into the tell element of Hutcheon’s theory, whereas most hypertexts allow for interaction. My hypertext allows the user interactivity by immersion. Marie-Laure Ryan argues that ‘immersion remains the most fundamental of literary pleasures’.[2] It is fundamental to the progression of hypertext literature that the interactivity and reader immersion remain interlinked.

Hutcheon also argues that: ‘adaptations is repetition, but repetition without replication’.[3] By concentrating on the riddles aspect of the novel and developing it into its own story, I was able to ‘repeat’ the story, without ‘replicating’ it. This allowed me to enhance the story in the way I saw fit, and to add my own designs to the adaptation.

The use of code allowed me to experiment with how the hypertext looked and to develop the project to my own specifications, without the limitation of WordPress or other CMS sites. It was difficult to develop from scratch but also allowed greater use of links within the hypertext. Links are important for hypertext literature, and I have incorporated many within mine. This enabled the reader to fully be able to explore and ‘click’ through the adaptation.

The inclusion of questions and puzzle solving meant the user must be fully engaged with the hypertext at all times in order to progress to the next ‘level’.Linearity, while present in the book, is not necessary for a hypertext. My project maintains the impression of linearity, while presenting the user with a range of choices to jump between before the logical progression.

My overall aim was to create an interaction riddle based hypertext fiction, which developed upon Ernest Clines Ready Player One and encouraged users to immerse and interact in a new way with the novel.

 

[1] Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of adaptation. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006 p23

[2] Ryan, Marie-Laure ‘Fictional Worlds in the Digital Age’ In: Schreibman, Susan and Siemens, Ray ed. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies [Online]. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Chapter 10. Available from: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companionDLS/

[3] Hutcheon. A Theory of adaptation. p7