Wade Watts

Wade Watts

    Ready Player One
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… in poverty. Wade was born in 2027, after the Corn Syrup Droughts and the Bandwidth Riots had wreaked havoc on the world.

Living... in the dilapidated “Stacks” of Columbus, Ohio, in the year 2045. Orphaned during those years of strife, Wade now lives with his aunt and her series of terrible boyfriends.

Visiting... the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality entertainment universe where people go to escape their glum realities. In the OASIS, you get to choose your own avatar and live any kind of life you want. As Wade notes, “It's a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination.” Wade goes by the name Parzival (or just “Z” for short) and hangs out with his best friend Aech, an ace mechanic who he’s never even met in the real world.

Profession... Gunter. Everything changed when OASIS creator James Halliday died and revealed that he had built a secret Easter egg into the game. Whichever player is the first to collect three magical keys and access the Golden Egg will be granted total control over the OASIS. Wade is one of the “Gunters” or “egg hunters” who’ve dedicated their lives to the task. Too bad it’s been five years and no one has even come close to finding the first key.

Interests... 1980s pop culture. In studying the digitized “Halliday Journals” to try to uncover clues for the Easter egg challenge, Wade developed a passionate love for Halliday’s favorite pop culture. From Back To The Future to The Breakfast Club, Wade lives and breathes anything 1980s—and anything James Halliday-related.

Relationship Status... single. A nerdy teenager, Wade doesn’t have much romantic experience, either in the real world or the virtual one. In fact, when he first meets famed Gunter Art3mis, he’s immediately overwhelmed by how cool and beautiful she is—as well as the question of what she’s like in the real world.

Challenge... protecting the OASIS. Wade would love to find the Golden Egg and gain control of the OASIS himself, but even more so he just wants to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the greedy corporation Innovative Online Industries and its villainous CEO Nolan Sorrento. IOI wants to commercialize the OASIS, and the company even forces impoverished people into indentured servitude as their army of Gunters. It’s totally against everything Halliday stood for, and against everything Wade stands for too.

Personality... shy and insecure, but smart and pure of heart. Wade doesn’t have a ton of confidence and thinks of himself as just a minor player in the massive world of the OASIS. But his love of the virtual world is pure. He may refuse to “clan” with other players, but it’s pretty clear that Wade has a lot of loyalty towards those he cares about.


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