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Old 07-08-12, 01:10 AM   #1
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Post Building an Atari game from scratch: Ready Player One reveals The Stacks

Author Ernie Cline was willing to go the extra mile to bring The Stacks to life

Ernest Cline,the author of the science fiction novel Ready Player One,is quick to identify himself as a proud member of geek culture, and like any other geek, he's willing to go to extremes to satisfy his interests in classic video games and 80's retro-cool. Still, the fact that Cline commissioned the creation of an entirely new, retro-styled Atari 2600 game to promote the paperback edition of his book should put him somewhere near the top of the geekdom echelon.

That game, The Stacks,is the first part of a three stage online scavenger hunt to win a DMC Delorean that Cline purchased on eBay (yes, that's the car modelmade famous by the filmBack to the Future). To even find the game, which is playable online, hunters have to uncover a secret web site URL hidden in the pages of the book. Finishing the game, which mimics the difficulty of a true old-school Atari 2600 adventure, unlocks access to the second online challenge, which will in turn open up a third challenge that will launch on August 1. Only players that complete all three challenges will have a chance to win the car.

Cline's Easter Egg Huntruns parallel to a similar scavenger hunt in the book, which takes place in a virtual world that dominates a dystopic version of the year 2044. When the creator of that virtual world dies, he leaves his vast fortune to the first player who can find three keys hidden amidst challenges that require intimate knowledge of '80s pop culture, including mastery of a certain classic arcade game.Ars OpenForum member BitPoetcalledthe book, "a mashup of video games, 1980s references, virtual reality, all centered around the hunt for and eccentric billionaire's fortune. Lots of fun, if you're a geek and lived through the 80s."

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