In the year 2045 the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most people spend their days. In the OASIS you can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone. The only limit is your own imagination.
The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and control of the virtual reality software to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade wins the first challenge in the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.
The clip for this session comes from the beginning of the film. As the core concept of Ready Player One takes some explanation, this clip is a nice way in to the futuristic world it is set in, as well as showing some glimpses of how the OASIS impacts people’s lives. In this clip, Wade narrates his current situation. Orphaned in a world that has stopped trying to fix its problems and instead just tries to outlast them, he uses the OASIS as an escape. Here he meets his best friend H (whom he has never met in real life) and explains the different locations and activities people can get up to in the OASIS.
Show the clip and then break into smaller groups to discuss the following questions:
- From what you saw in the clip, would you like to explore the OASIS?
- Wade states that the world has stopped trying to fix its problems. Do you think this reflects the world we live in now?
- Do people in 2018 use technology to escape from the real world? How do they do so, and is this a bad thing?
- Should young people have a time limit for online activity each day?
Once you’ve finished your first set of discussions, hand out Bibles or copies of Proverbs 18:1-13. Ask each young person to examine a verse. (If you have lots of young people, get them to share a verse in pairs. If your group is smaller, give each young person two verses.) Ask everyone to consider the questions below for their verse. After this, split the young people into smaller groups, asking them to share their verses and thoughts with each other. Encourage further discussion with these questions:
- What is the meaning of this proverb?
- How could it be linked to the online world?
- Do you agree with the proverb?
- Is the Bible useful when discussing modern issues such as technology?
If you have time, watch the whole of Ready Player One (and enjoy the 80s-inspired soundtrack) to experience the selected clip in context.