[ Editor's note: This Ready Player One activation walkthrough is brought to us by Bleeding Cool correspondent Brandon Wainerdi from SXSW.]
Capitalizing on the hype machine that surrounded Sunday's premiere of Steven Spielberg's latest film, Ready Player One also rented out an enormous building in the heart of South by Southwest (SXSW) to build even further excitement.
Fans were literally placed into the fabled OASIS, allowed to run around The Stacks (literally stacked trailer homes), a lifesize Iron Giant, and zero-gravity night clubs. There was a Hot Topic pop-up shop stocked to the brim with Funkos and pop-vinyl key sets, and exorbitant amount of patches made sure that fans could take some of the Ready Player One world home with them.
Various pieces of '80s paraphernalia were scattered in corners of comfortable sofas and record players. And, then the highlight of the build-out for me especially, was a full replica of the hero DeLorean- complete with a flux capacitor and a movie-appropriate "Parzival" license plate. I definitely did not hold up the line with photos in a variety of poses to satiate my inner 10-year-old.
As an added bonus — my time at the activation was highlighted by surprise appearance of the full cast of The High Five. Tye Sheridan (Parzival), Olivia Cooke (Art3mis), Lena Waithe (Helen/Aech), Win Morisaki (Daito), and Philip Zhao (Shoto) held court with host Aisha Tyler (Archer) who delved into a Q&A covering everything from their auditions to their prior experience with Ernest Cline's book (spoiler: not much).
You can read more about the LIVE event hosted by Twitch and IMDB here, which also had an appearance by Ben Mendelsohn (Nolan Sorrento), screenwriter Zak Penn, and author Ernie Cline.
Upstairs, there was a real-life version of the Stacks, each mobile home housing impressive VR experiences (which, obviously, were very tough to accurately photograph). But it was a nice touch and an obvious addition to the already-impressive marketing push. The movie (spoiler free review from the world premiere during SXSW here) might not open to the general public until March 29th, but for some lucky fans in Austin this weekend, the world has already gotten its first real look at living in the OASIS.