Middletown is James Halliday’s childhood hometown. Its name indicates speaks to the fact that it is normal and average––an “everytown.” This is a contrast to Halliday himself, who was extraordinarily intelligent and eccentric from a very young age. Halliday had a very unhappy childhood; he was shy and awkward, with an alcoholic father and a mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, he is nostalgic about the pop culture of his youth and is obsessed with making replicas of elements of his hometown inside the OASIS. Indeed, there is even a whole planet, Middletown, in which Halliday has created 256 identical copies of his hometown. Wade identifies that it is strange that Halliday would so obsessively recreate a place in which he was highly unhappy. Yet as the novel unfolds, it becomes clear that part of why Halliday is nostalgic about Middletown is due to his love/hate relationship with the real world. When Wade wins the Easter egg, Halliday expresses his regret that he retreated into videogames so much and did not participate in reality more. Perhaps the prominence of Middletown inside the OASIS illustrates Halliday’s nostalgia for the part of his life wherein he spent more time in the real world––even if that world was a rather unhappy one.
Middletown, Ohio Quotes in Ready Player One
I quickly lost track of time. I forgot that my avatar was sitting in Halliday's bedroom and that, in reality, I was sitting in my hideout, huddled near the electric heater, tapping at the empty air in front of me, entering commands on an imaginary keyboard. All of the intervening layers slipped away, and I lost myself in the game within the game.