So, I haven't read Ready Player One, which just about everybody seems to compare this to. Austin Grossman
has a really interesting Wikipedia page, where I learned he has been involved in such industry gems as Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and Dishonored. He's also been involved in the amazingly bad Jurassic Park: Trespasser (highly recommend the Let's Play) and the game that killed the Tomb Raider franchise, Tomb Raider: Legend. AND it told me that not only does he share a last name with Lev Grossman, author of [b:The Magicians|6101718|The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)|Lev Grossman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1313772941s/6101718.jpg|6278977], but they are twins! WOAH!
The point is, Austin Grossman has a lot of experience in the actual video game industry, and he has a twin who has written one well-received and one not as-well-received book.
This book was just BORING. I didn't care about any of the people, and I really didn't care about the fake history of a fake video game company. It started with an ASCII game and went on up, describing the play and the story and where the characters were in their lives. Then it described a Civilization 1-esque game. Then it described the next few games in the franchise. Then it described the first person shooter. Then it described the space colonization game. And then, finally, thankfully, there were no more fake games to describe.
So, so boring.
Also, even though he was a "writer and game designer" on multiple video games, I'm not actually sure he knows the limits of what video games are capable of. For example, he's trying to cross a moat, so he cuts down a tree and makes a bridge. There is no game I know of that is capable of this (especially in 1998) unless the programmers SPECIFICALLY wanted you to do that. Or maybe Minecraft, where you can repurpose the wood however you like. That is a small example I realize, but is a microcosm of how games are talked about for the entire novel. Most of the things I was rolling my eyes at were totally anachronistic for how video games actually work.