Arriving on 29th March, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One opens up a whole new vista of adventure.
The Jurassic Park director's new film, adapted from Ernest Cline's novel, transports viewers into a virtual world known as the OASIS where, as the latest trailer puts it, "the limits of reality are your own imagination". It’s a place where people go to escape the mundane reality of the real world, an extraordinary simulation where they can do anything and be anything they desire, a place full of pop culture nostalgia and wondrous beauty.
Plus, there's a chance to race the Iron Giant while driving Back to the Future's time-travelling DeLorean. Who could possibly say no to that?
And Ready Player One’s OASIS isn’t the only virtual world that we wish we could live in. Here are five others...
1. Game Grid – TRON (1982)
Whereas Ready Player One transports us to the OASIS, TRON transported viewers into the mainframe over 30 years ago. In the film, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is scanned into a digital world by a power-hungry AI, and forced to compete in a series of gladiator style battles to the death in a cyber arena known as the Game Grid.
Although the idea of being forced to compete to the death by the ultimate piece of malware isn’t the ideal reason to move to the Game Grid, what sells it to us is the sheer amount of 80s retro sci-fi found here. With the dazzling neon colour scheme mixed in with old school technology, it’s a complete visual treat.
Moreover, we would do anything to ride the movie’s famous light cycles. Just think about how much more fun and colourful they’d make our day to day vehicles. Who needs public transport when you have a light cycle, right?
2. The Game – Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (2003)
When the villainous Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) creates a video game designed to control the minds of all who play it, it’s up to young agent Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) and his grandfather (Ricardo Montalban) to enter the game directly to put a stop the Toymaker’s plans.
As realised by director Robert Rodriguez, this virtual world is highly stylised with its creative visuals and bright aesthetics, with each level being completely different from the last. Whether it involves fighting in giant robots, competing in futuristic high speed racing or making your way through an active volcano, this virtual world is every videogame lover’s dream.
Plus, we’d get our own snazzy suits. What’s not to love?
3. The Matrix – The Matrix (1999)
What if you were already living in a virtual world without your knowledge? That’s the mind-bending discovery made by Keanu Reeves’ hacker Neo in the Wachowskis’ sci-fi epic. It turns out the real world is a grim dystopia run by machines, and that they've plugged humanity into the titular simulation to keep us quiet and under control.
Admittedly, the fun of living in this virtual world only relates to those capable of hacking into it. If you so happen to be one of those who took the red pill, you’ll be able to master Kung fu, suspend yourself in mid-air, and easily dodge bullets in an incredibly stylish fashion. If you’re not one of this minority, though, living in the Matrix mirrors your life as it is know.
Just keep an eye out for a lot of people wearing sunglasses and leather coats.
4. The Simulation – The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
1999 was a great year for the sci-fi genre. Not only did it give us the aforementioned The Matrix, it was also the year of the lesser-known The Thirteenth Floor.
Part sci-fi thriller, part noir mystery, Josef Rudnak’s mind-bending film sees scientist Douglas Hall (Craig Beirko) framed for the murder of his boss who had recently invented a VR simulation of 1937 Los Angeles. To prove his innocence, Hall must enter the simulation and follow a trail of clues left by his boss to solve his murder, uncovering unsettling truths along the way.
1930s L.A. had to be one of the most exciting times to be alive, the height of Golden Age Hollywood. The Thirteenth Floor’s simulation would allow us to live in a fully realised recreation of this period. Why not visit Hollywood’s film studios or drive down Sunset Boulevard in a classic car? Just don’t let any of the people living there know they’re a computer programme.
5. The Animus – Assassin’s Creed (2016)
"Bringing history to life" is a phrase that gets used frequently nowadays. But if there’s one example where it rings true, it’s in Justin Kruzel’s Assassin’s Creed, the cinematic adaptation of the popular videogame series.
Convict Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) interfaces with a device known as the Animus, which allows him to relive the memories of his distant relative, Aguilar (also played by Fassbender), who lived in 15th century Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. What could be fun about living in a time where the quality of life was... poor?
Well, hooking yourself up to the Animus not only lets you time travel, but puts you in the shoes of a highly trained Assassin. You’ll spend much of your time sightseeing by climbing up iconic landmarks and leap across rooftops, get acquainted with a host of historical figures, hunt down powerful artefacts, and engage in epic battles. Having access to an Animus would be the interactive history lesson we’ve always wanted.
Although, unfortunately, the OASIS doesn't look like an actual prospect anytime soon, we will be able to enter it vicariously when Ready Player One arrives in Cineworld on 29th March. Don't forget to tweet us your favourite virtual worlds @Cineworld.
Andy Murray is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.