A big appeal of Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One was its reverence toward the pop culture of the 1980s, from movies to video games. As the big-screen Steven Spielberg adaptation inches closer to theaters, the marketing masterminds at Warner Bros. have been tapping into that nostalgia with Easter egg-filled trailers, and now there’s an online arcade with a number of vintage games to play.
Ready Player One takes place nearly 30 years in the future, where the real world has fallen into dystopic disrepair, and citizens find refuge in a massive, interconnected online world known as the OASIS. When the creator of the system dies, he leaves behind a treasure hunt, where fans can solve puzzles and clues based on ‘80s pop culture in order to win the grand prize: control of the OASIS itself. The marketing campaign for the film has followed suit, using QR codes to unlock hidden featurettes, and dropping riddles on Twitter that, when solved, allow fans to unlock the various games.
The vintage game hunt started with the arcade classic Joust, but in the days since, several other games have been unlocked at the online arcade. Currently, Rootbeer Tapper, Sinistar, and Robotron: 2048 are also available, and there’s still one more title to be revealed. It’s a neat way to give fans a taste of that ‘80s nostalgia before they see the film and a clever diversion for anyone who’s eager to try a game that they might have played years ago — provided they haven’t already come across the Internet Archive and its plethora of classic games, of course.
Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One hits theaters on March 30th.