The Frobozz is one of several planets that serve as a “shrine” to the earliest days of the OASIS. Wade explains that text adventure games create a virtual game environment through text; players use simple text instructions in order to play the game. After being given the tip by Aech, Wade can now see how the quatrain hints that the Jade Key is hidden in one of the most beloved text adventure games, Zork. He uses his Ring of Teleportation to get to Frobozz, hoping this means he will reach it undetected by the Sixers. Frobozz features 512 identical copies of the Zork playing field distributed across the planet; Wade chooses one at random and teleports there.
This chapter continues to explore the theme of nostalgia. It may seem strange that anyone in a game as rich, complex, and vivid as the OASIS would have any interest in text adventure games, given that these are extremely basic. However, Wade’s genuine love of videogames—from the very earliest and simplest to the most technologically advanced—again gives him an advantage in the hunt.
Wade approaches the white house in front of him and enters the kitchen. He retrieves the box of Cap’n Crunch from the cupboard and finds the toy whistle inside. However, when he blows it, nothing happens. He goes down the staircase in the house and uses his notes about Zork to help him navigate the maze of the game, collecting treasures along the way. After he is done, Wade returns and blows the whistle again. This time it transforms into a key, and Wade’s score increases by 18,000 points—putting him between Art3mis and Aech. The key is wrapped in silver foil, which Wade removes. The key is inscribed with a message: “Continue your quest by taking the test.”
All the years Wade spent alone making notes on his “research” are truly paying off now. Of course, Wade would likely not have done all of this research in the first place if it had not been something that genuinely interested in him. This passage thus again emphasizes the value in following one’s passions.
Suddenly, Wade hears the Sixers arriving, and knows that gunters won’t be far behind. He dashes to the Vonnegut and lifts off, narrowly escaping heavy fire. The Vonnegut is nonetheless damaged, so Wade stops at Joe’s Garage to have it repaired. He sends Aech an email thanking him for the tip and checks his feed for news about the battle taking place on Frobozz. There are reports of scores of gunters and Sixers are being killed, and Wade also sees that Sorrento’s score has increased, meaning he has also found the Jade Key. Shoto’s score also rises on the Scoreboard, but there is no change to Daito’s. Suddenly, Daito’s name disappears from the board, and Wade knows he must have been killed.
While Wade has finally gotten back into the game, this good fortune is tainted by the fact that the Sixers are continuing to ruthlessly pursue the egg at any cost. Given that they approaching the hunt with such bloodthirsty gusto, is there any hope of Wade and his friends beating them while still respecting the integrity of the contest? Or will they have to sink to the Sixers’ level and employ dirty tactics if they want any chance of winning?