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Published on March 29th, 2018 | by Dan Nicholls

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#604STACKS – The Ready Player One Experience (Vancouver)

The Feedback Society takes you inside the Ready Player One experience in Vancouver, promoting, you guessed it – Spielberg’s film adaptation of Ready Player One.

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This past weekend Warner Bros. Pictures seized onto the flurry of activity in the city of Vancouver and gave us a one-of-a-kind exhibit in promotion of the new Steven Spielberg adventure film Ready Player One. For two days leading up to the Juno Awards there stood a tall stack of shipping containers dressed up to resemble the Stacks – the home of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and our point of entrance into the world of the OASIS.

Geeks and general movie lovers alike were in awe of the setup, which was flanked on both sides by two larger-than-life banners featuring variations of the film’s poster art. Lit up with a glowing Ready Player One logo at the top, the exhibit made one exciting Hollywood North nighttime attraction.

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Dubbed the #604STACKS, there were three main rooms to explore. The first was a retro arcade filled with playable machines ranging from Ms. Pac-Man to Street Fighter II.

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Sure it’s kind of fantastic to crack out on a modern game with a wireless controller and a big screen TV for hours on end, but there’s something so appealing about the physical commitment that an arcade game brings. You can’t pause it to check your phone and your eyes can’t really wander to something distracting. It’s just you and the game. Sort of makes you live in the moment. In this sense, room number one immediately romanticized the subject matter of the film.

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The middle of the stacks entered into a living room set inspired by the main character’s home in the film. Kicking your feet up and sitting back on Wade’s couch made for the perfect photo opportunity, and the film’s nostalgic yearning for the 1980s was felt in every inch. Old school posters featured the band Rush and movies like Back to the Future. An old microwave sat next to an FM radio. And the couch looked and felt like it came straight out of someone’s old basement. The pictures will last a lifetime but being inside it just felt so cool.

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The final portion of the Stacks was also home to its longest line. Rabid fans waited upwards of two hours for a chance to play a brand-new VR video game developed by HTC Vibe specifically for Ready Player One. I suppose your enjoyment might have been weighted on a different scale based on your past history with VR headsets, but this was my very first time inside such an immersive first person experience. And holy hell it was amazing. As one satisfied fan told me after exiting, “I’m coming back tomorrow and I’m coming back early.”

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Once I was outfitted with my headset and controllers, the game booted up and I was suddenly on a foreign planet blasting away at Gunters (prize collectors within the OASIS) while portal jumping to different vantage points on the terrain. Turning 360 degrees around revealed new visual wonders and for one brief moment my senses really convinced my brain that I wasn’t just inside of a shipping container on the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery. What tripped me out the most was when I instinctively looked down at my arms only to see skinny limbs outfit in a futuristic sci-fi costume. It was wild.

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Regardless of where anyone stands on Ready Player One, it’s undeniable that the #604STACKS was a rousing way to enjoy a weekend night. Here’s hoping more studios make the investment to champion their films in such a highly interactive fashion. I have yet to see the finished film but after this exhibit I pre-ordered my ticket for the first showing I could attend.

“Ready Player One” is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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About the Author

Dan Nicholls

is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls



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