WARNING: Massive SPOILERS for Ready Player One are in play. If you want to avoid any further details of the film's OASIS quest, bookmark this page and come back later.
When James Halliday, the enigmatic creator of Ready Player One's OASIS, passed away, he left behind the Easter egg to end all Easter eggs -- control of his greatest achievement. But looking at the hunt for Halliday's egg, specifically the challenges that acted as gates to the final prize won by Wade Watts and the rest of the High Fivers, there was a lot more the man was leaving behind.
Perhaps the greatest prize left behind by James Halliday was a chain of moral challenges and lessons to test whoever would try to control the OASIS. What were those lessons? Well, you're about to find out. So if you really don't want to know what happened in Ready Player One, now's your last chance to log off before we head into the OASIS and piece together the film's ultimate puzzle.
The True Meaning Of The OASIS Challenge
Putting it all together, the entire OASIS challenge in Ready Player One is meant to show Halliday's regretful decisions in life, as well as impart his advice about running the OASIS. Ultimately, this serves two purposes: not only would this prepare the next generation of OASIS user to utilize the resource better than the current and past generations did, it groomed them to potentially run it better than he did thanks to lessons from the past. With no heir and a lonely lifestyle that was a by-product of his sole ownership of the OASIS, Halliday had one last chance to leave his lasting legacy in the right hands.
Seeing as Nolan Sorrento and IOI's plans for the platform were in line with the unwieldly and all-consuming entity that the OASIS had become, the Easter egg challenge allowed James to do something that he couldn't do himself. As his reclusive final act in life, he drafted this challenge as his legacy's redemption in the hands of future generations, creating a more responsible and friendly OASIS through three personal challenges.
The Copper Key Quest
To retrieve the Copper Key, OASIS participants in Ready Player One's film version are challenged to a street race around a trap-filled New York City. With obstacles like Rexy from Jurassic Park, King Kong and a bunch of surprises in the way, the Gunters and Sixers race through the city to the finish line, in hopes that someone can beat Kong and retrieve the prize. But James Halliday wasn't trying to teach the future heir to the OASIS how to beat a simple game.
Instead, he was imparting wisdom to the participants that would attempt winning his life's legacy, with the first lesson being that to run the OASIS, you can't be some "corporate asshole" who wanted to beat the system. If anything, Halliday felt that in order to really rule this digital land with the right mind, you need to think outside of the box and have fun with it. So in this challenge, as well as the rest, James' playful and creative nature was on display, requiring the victor to be clever enough to go backwards as fast as they could, with conviction they could navigate the way to victory.