Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guest Post: When This Baby Hits 88 Miles Per Hour...

The intrepid Dr. Newhouse-Bailey is on a perilous quest to win a Delorean from author Ernest Cline.

I finally broke down and bought Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (I know I should have done it earlier) when it was announced that he hid a code in the text to unlock the first of three gates in a competition for a Delorean (complete with Flux Capacitor). You can read about the contest here or watch the video below.
Pictured, from left to right:
Virtual Delorean, Pure Nerd Joy.

With the proper motivation, I made the purchase at my local comic book store and couldn’t have been happier. I was left with a text that pulled on my nostalgic heartstrings with nerdy pop-culture reference after nerdy pop-culture reference. Take those away, you are still left with a gripping tale that all should read. It is a text that once you begin reading, you will be hard-pressed to put it down.

This is not, however, a review of the book. Just buy it already.

The competition is a series of trials to clear three gates (just like the book!). Gunters (book reference) attempt to clear these tasks with the first to complete all three deemed the winner. Ernest took his Delorean to San Diego Comic Con and is currently wrapping up a book tour. You can read all about it at

Despite its appearance, this gate does not
lead to the secret hideout of David Lo Pan.
Or does it...?
After reading the book, I went through the text and decoded the first gate. When the first gate opened I was left with a downloadable Atari rom called “The Stacks”. Similar to “Pitfall”, I completed the game and found the Easter Egg that granted access to the second gate.

The second gate was a Sims-style game called “The Ultimate Collector.” It is a Facebook app in which you buy and sell wares from your local mall, garage sales, conventions, etc. There were dozens of quests to achieve including five from Ready Player One that would unlock a virtual Delorean to place at your garage sale.

This game quickly became the bane of my existence as I sorted through bins and bins of stuff searching for the right lunch box, video game and movie poster. I am proud to say I completed the task without spending any of my own money, but it was a chore.

Over 1,000 gunters (read the book already!) cleared the first gate and 290 have been verified for clearing the second gate. The deadline to complete the second gate is midnight on July 31. At that time the third gate will be open and the first to complete it will walk away with their very own Delorean. The way I figure it I have a better than 1:1,000 chance in winning the car. I doubt I will ever have odds this good again. Wish me luck!