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Throughout the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, most specifically in the first few chapters, Wade Watts mentions all kinds of movies, tv shows, book authors, video games, and more that he has personally consumed and even studied. It makes sense that he could spend all of his free time doing this. But how much time would that actually take?

In other words, what kind of time investment would a person need to make to go through all of the 80's media mentioned by Wade as he claims to have done?

  • are you asking about a single viewing / reading of each? That's fine for the question, but disingenious to what Wade has actually done which, unless he is eidetic (there is no indication that he is), then he was consumed these various media countless times to acquire the kind of recall that he demonstrates in the book. Additionally, reading time isn't an objective measure like "X movie is 2 hours long" – NKCampbell Mar 29 '18 at 18:02
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    @NKCampbell - OP links that in the question – Odin1806 Mar 29 '18 at 18:07
  • @NKCampbell I assumed an answer would take that into account. Things like him specifically calling out certain times he watch/read something verses things he admitted to not covering well. Reading could be broken down into a typical words per minute reading speed to determine time it would take getting through a novel or journal. – Matthew Green Mar 29 '18 at 18:10
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    I have thought about this too related to that linked question, but we can not know exactly everything that Wade watched/listened/read/played. We can easily identify those that Wade mentions in the early chapters you are referring to, but there are other titles that are mentioned later on we would need to find for a more accurate catalog. I believe that later on he mentions how he listened to all the Rush albums ("Halladay revealed he programmed every single game he ever made to a Rush album...") and of course we can not calculate how much time was spent playing games or reading... – Odin1806 Mar 29 '18 at 18:14
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    I know an exact time can't be found @Odin1806 but a baseline time should be able to be found based on the references in the book. Any answer that wants to go above and beyond that would most likely be worth of a bounty. – Matthew Green Mar 29 '18 at 18:19
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Roughly 22,000 hours.

Wade has been working through everything for the last 5 years:

Over the past five years, I’d downloaded every single movie, TV show, and cartoon mentioned in Anorak’s Almanac. I still hadn’t watched all of them yet, of course. That would probably take decades.
Ready Player One - 0001

Over the past five years, the Almanac had become my bible.
Ready Player One - 0006

According to him he has been spending roughly every waking moment (not spent in school) doing research:

You’d be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week, is a lot of study time.
Ready Player One - 0006

So if we take him at his word that he read/watched/listened/played all that in the last five years, it took roughly 22,000 hours (equivalent to a fulltime job for 11 years).


Out of universe we have no idea since we are never given a full list of media, and so have no way to figure out the length.

  • This answer isn't near as interesting as I had hoped but no less right. – Matthew Green Mar 30 '18 at 14:01
  • I didn't think this was even answerable but somehow you did it! Good job. – Z. Cochrane Mar 30 '18 at 17:35
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    I was considering that while reading. He mentions a few movies he has seen about 150 times and others he has seen a couple of dozen times. These are just the highlights of a life that includes finishing and mastering about every video game released in the 80s. Let me put it like this: I have done extensive research on these topics myself and I am fairly certain, that not even the worthiest geek could do all that within five years. – user1129682 Apr 4 '18 at 6:31
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    I would not be surprised if Ernest Cline didn't do the math when he wrote the book. – amflare Apr 4 '18 at 13:50
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"Twelve hours a day, seven days a week..", if we take that at face value that means Wade has spent 2.5 of the past 5 years devoted to researching everything Halliday was interested in and grinding away in the Oasis to get to 3rd Level. That is A LOT of time. For perspective though, lets say Wade has seen 100 movies and each movie has an average run-time of 90min. This would mean that to watch 100 movies takes 6.25 days. We know Wade has definitely watched more movies than this, not to mention all the sitcoms. In one month, Wade could watch 500 90min movies. That is only one month out of his 2.5yrs of solid research. I would say that it is possible to watch, play, and read everything Wade has said he has done in the 5yrs since he began the Egg Hunt.

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