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‘Ready Player One’ virtual reality extravaganza debuts at SXSW

Ready Player One
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stephen Spielberg’s long-awaited Ready Player One finally lands in theaters on March 29, and we’ve got everything you need to know about the sci-fi blockbuster. The South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) has the world premiere of the film, and the entire festival has been turned into a virtual reality spectacle to promote it.

HTC Vive, the official VR partner of the film, has created no less than eight immersive VR adaptations that festival attendees can experience the OASIS for themselves. As Road to VR reports, the promotion has taken over a full two-story block in Austin, recreating the Stacks in the dystopian future envisioned by Ernest Cline’s novel.

Here’s a summary of the eight VR adaptations, which will also be showcased at VR arcades across the U.S. and available to download free from Viveport later this month:

  • Ready Player One: Avatar Creator: Make your own OASIS persona with millions if possible permutations.
  • Battle for the OASIS: Defeat waves of IOI Sixers on Planet Doom as you advance to Anorak’s Castle.
  • Rise of the Gunters: Join with two fellow Gunters and battle against an army of Sixers while collecting power-ups in a never-ending onslaught.
  • Gauntlet: Using a bow and arrow, fight against the undead in a massive dungeon.
  • Smash: Hand-eye coordination is the key to winning this homage to arcade games of the ‘80s.
  • Arcade Saga: This classic brick-smashing game will test your spatial awareness skills.
  • Aech’s Garage: The iconic location from the film is recreated using using the original ILM design.
  • The Distracted Globe Music Experience in TheWaveVR: Step into an interstellar music festival in a zero-G dance club with unique avatars. TheWaveVR app is also now available free on Steam for U.S. users.

Longtime VR fan Charlie Fink, writing for Forbes, caught up with producer Donald DeLine at the festival. “You can’t launch a movie like Ready Player One without giving fans a chance to step into the world of the Oasis,” he said. “Even Steven Spielberg got into the VR games, battling the IOI and making it to the final level of Planet Doom on his first try.”

“Recreating the Distracted Globe nightclub scene is the essence of what we’ve been working on in bringing TheWaveVR to market,” said co-founder Aaron Lemke. “Just like the film, we want to create a place where people can come and experience something beyond magical.”

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