Thoughts on Ready Player One

We were assigned a science fiction novel to read for our Expanded Cinema class. The book appears unassuming and the title is a bit cheesy. However after a rough first few chapters I started to become more engaging.
The story revolves around a kid in a dystopian world where resources and wealth is scarce, but one technology prevails as a sort of free “drug”.  This drug is a Virtual Reality console connected to a online world with millions of other people.
The through back references to the 1980’s are far and plentiful. I feel bad for people who didn’t grow up in the 80’s in general, but even more so for people who have to read this book. I got most of the references, but they can get tiring or boring for younger people. It was a nice twist to have a reason for 80’s  pop culture be so widespread in the book’s world if only just to drop a dozen one liners in a page.
That being said, I am found the protagonist to be more likable, and once the book actually turned him into a worthy protagonist I started to relate to what he was experiencing.  Cline’s take on VR is interesting but not an original idea on it’s own. There is an anime called Sword Art Online which has a similar concept. You also see random references in pop culture that kind of allude to this escape from reality like Hackers, Star Trek and the Matrix.
This is probably one of the first times since I was a teen that I read a book before it appeared in the movies. I also feel that if and when VR irons out its quirks, its addiction would probably be as bad as described in the book.