Ready Player One is filled with 1980s pop culture references. The book is almost a love letter to 1980s video game culture and it’s hard to read without hitting up YouTube to listen to the songs author Ernest Cline mentions in the text and maybe to watch clips of people playing the video games he references. All the 80s nostalgia got me thinking about what I miss the most from the decade I grew up in like New Edition and playing Below the Root on my family’s Commodore 64. Since I was reminiscing, I asked the artists performing at our Bumbershoot Ready Player One show, what do you miss most about the 1980s? What are you nostalgic for?
Olivia: This book is so much fun to read!! It’s almost impossible to not get overwhelmed with all the 80s music potential for the upcoming Bushwick Book Club show at Bumbershoot. Although I experienced only a portion of my childhood in the 80’s (I clearly don’t have as much D&D or BurgerTime experience as Halliday’s character) some things I remember fondly are: Lite Brite, slap bracelets, dancing to Paula Abdul’s Spellbound album on vinyl, My Little Pony, neon colors galore, and running around my neighborhood in Aylmer, Quebec, without a care in the world (or sometimes clothes for that matter…. hey, I was only like 4 or 5 years old!). I was also a huge fan of New Kids On The Block, Paul Simon and Miami Sound Machine. Movies like The NeverEnding Story, The Last Unicorn and Who Framed Roger Rabbit definitely had a lasting impression on me. With so much content to choose from, I can’t wait to hear everyone’s songs on September 2nd!
Julia: I am most nostalgic for the Cruisin’ Classics free tapes that the Shell Gas Stations used to give out during the summertime in the 80s. Granted, these were tapes with music from mostly the 50s and 60s, but I can remember that cheesy cover with the close-up of the boombox or the sports cars. These albums were the soundtrack to my childhood, and to this day, whenever I hear any of these songs today, I am transported to the sweaty backseat with a side ponytail singing Blue Moon at the top of my lungs.
Chris: The best memories I have rooted in the 80’s are: Gremlin’ hatchbacks, Steve Winwood (Arc of a diver), Casio synthesizers and the video game Pitfall for Atari 2600. Oh and warm puffy vests in the fall.
Geoff: I loved growing up in the 80’s in Spokane, WA. And I certainly connected to many of the references in the book… Mostly on the video game and movie side of things. I loved sitting with my Atari, and later on the Nintendo and figuring out those bizarro games with my Dad. They were seriously weird! I’m thinking Adventure, Moon Patrol, Berserk and Battle for the Atari. When the Nintendo came out we started playing Joust, Balloon Fight, Ghosts and Goblins, Metroid, Faxanadu, Rygar, Zelda, etc… It was some long hours sitting in our game room.
I miss sitting in the back of the Pickup going for a ride, with no one judging. I miss leaving the house for the day on my BMX and coming back at Sundown. I certainly miss the song Eternal Flame by the Bengals… that one slayed me.
But the thing I have to say I’m most nostalgic for is adventure. Literally adventure. You would leave the house without having any idea what you were doing or where you are going. If you wanted to meet up with your friends, you had to make plans and stick to them. Now a days it’s hard to even turn your phone off.
The Oasis is quick at hand… this we can all see.