Ethos Education

Ready Player One

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Assembly Objective:

  • Can you buy whatever you want and still be a responsible citizen? And are you being manipulated by adverts? Suitable for use at Harvest, this assembly explores our responsibility as global citizens to share the resources we have on our planet. It presents a biblical perspective on consumerism and debt, and encourages students to take an ethical approach to what they buy.

Film:

  • Ready Player One (Amblin Entertainment/Warner, 2018, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.


Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of individual liberty presupposes that every person has the right to live as they choose regardless of how it affects the lives of others. However, the values of mutual respect and tolerance mean that in any situation, each of us has a responsibility to listen to the opinions of others. This assembly helps students assess how their actions impact the lives of others at home and abroad.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Make your choice (quiz)

In advance of the assembly, make a tray of small prizes where everything is worth less than £2 (penny sweets, stationery, a flower, a bouncy ball etc.). Also include a £2 coin hidden in a piece of blu-tack (or a scrunched up piece of paper). Cover the tray with a cloth or tea towel.

Invite as many volunteers as you have objects on the tray up to the front and tell them that when you remove the cloth they may select one item each to keep.

Watch what happens as they make their selection and point out that the blu-tack (or scrunched up paper) was an unattractive option amongst the other prizes, but in fact contained the most valuable prize. Probably the person who chose last got the most valuable prize.


FILM CLIP

Ready Player One (Amblin Entertainment/Warner, 2018, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

  • Start time: 00:25:03
  • End time: 00:29:23
  • Clip length: 4 minutes 20 seconds
  • Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), lives in a dystopian future where people play a game called OASIS in order to escape the real world. When the creator of the game, James Halliday, died he left instructions that control of the game, and his wealth, should pass to the person who could find the three digital Easter Eggs he had hidden within it. In this clip, we see Wade (as his avatar, Parzival) take his place on the starting grid of the game. He has just worked out that by going backwards, he will cross the finish line without losing his life. On finishing, Parzival meets Anorak, Halliday’s avatar (Mark Rylance), and is rewarded with a key and a clue. The scene then cuts to the headquarters of IOI, a corporation which is investing resources to try and win the game in order to push people into debt by selling products to them. At a Board meeting, the executives are questioning how Parzival, an individual, has won the first key. Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) reveals that loyalty to their company is more important to them, and that by launching a new upgrade, Pure O2, their shareholders will make money. The upgrade will sell 80% of a player’s field of vision in the Loyalty Centre (shop) to advertisers. The scene cuts back to Parzival who, with the money his prize has given him, is buying shiny objects and a new suit in the Loyalty Centre. The clip ends with Parzival (as Wade) receiving his new gaming suit in the real world.

TALK

Download the Ready Player One PowerPoint for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Today’s assembly will be about happiness and fairness. At Harvest time we stop and acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God. We also remember that we have a responsibility to help other people on our planet find happiness and fairness.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Take a moment and think about the last thing you bought. Perhaps it was some chocolate or a packet of crisps. Do you ever stop and think about where that came from and who made it? Now think about some of the bigger things you own – your clothes, your devices, your products. Do you ever think about where they came from? Do you ever think about who made them?
    • Most of you will be restricted in what you buy by the amount of money you can get from pocket money, your part-time jobs and so on. Probably you know what it feels like to really want something but not be able to have it because you haven’t got enough money. It’s tough, isn’t it? It’s especially hard when there are people whose job it is to make us want more and more stuff! Advertisers and companies spend millions of pounds trying to persuade us that our lives are not complete until we buy their product. Meanwhile, the products we buy may be made by people who are living in poverty, and getting them to us may have a big impact on the environment.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • All of us, no matter what age we are, and no matter how much money we have, are influenced by adverts and marketing strategies. In the clip we’re about to watch, we’ll meet a character called Wade Watts, who lives in a world where everyone tries to escape their real lives by playing a game called OASIS. In OASIS, there are three hidden keys, or Easter Eggs, left by the creator of the game to be discovered after his death. Wade, and everyone else who is playing the game, is trying to find the keys and win ownership of the game.
    • Let’s watch the clip from Ready Player One. Wade plays as an avatar called Parzival, and he thinks he has figured out how to win the first race.
    • Play the clip from Ready Player One (Amblin Entertainment/Warner, 2018, cert 12).
      • Start time: 00:25:03
      • End time: 00:29:23
      • Clip length: 4 minutes 20 seconds
    • Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), lives in a dystopian future where people play a game called OASIS in order to escape the real world. When the creator of the game, James Halliday, died he left instructions that control of the game, and his wealth, should pass to the person who could find the three digital Easter Eggs he had hidden within it. In this clip, we see Wade (as his avatar, Parzival) take his place on the starting grid of the game. He has just worked out that by going backwards, he will cross the finish line without losing his life. On finishing, Parzival meets Anorak, Halliday’s avatar (Mark Rylance), and is rewarded with a key and a clue. The scene then cuts to the headquarters of IOI, a corporation which is investing resources to try and win the game in order to push people into debt by selling products to them. At a Board meeting, the executives are questioning how Parzival, an individual, has won the first key. Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) reveals that loyalty to their company is more important to them, and that by launching a new upgrade, Pure O2, their shareholders will make money. The upgrade will sell 80% of a player’s field of vision in the Loyalty Centre (shop) to advertisers. The scene cuts back to Parzival who, with the money his prize has given him, is buying shiny objects and a new suit in the Loyalty Centre. The clip ends with Parzival (as Wade) receiving his new gaming suit in the real world.
    • There was a lot to take in there. We saw Wade, or Parzival, win the race. We then saw a meeting at the IOI headquarters. And finally we saw Parzival shopping with the money he won in the race. There were a few interesting things to think about in the clip we watched.
  • PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Firstly, in the world of the game, it was possible for an individual like Wade to win the key. Wade didn’t have lots of money or a team of people helping him, but he had worked out that the way to win the game was actually to wait until everyone else had shot off, then go backwards. By choosing to do the opposite thing to everyone else, he won.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • In the Bible, we learn that God loves all people, but he is especially kind to those who are weak and poor. From God’s perspective, the important thing in life is to put other people first and look after those who are weaker. In fact, in a famous verse from the Bible, Jesus says that in God’s kingdom:
    • ‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ (Matthew 20:16).
    • In our culture, it often feels as though the most selfish people are the winners, but Jesus challenges his followers to put others first, to choose to do the opposite thing to everyone around us. Whether or not you would call yourself a Christian, it’s a good thing to think about other people’s needs and to make the world better by being less selfish. It might be choosing to be kind to someone who annoys you. It might be sharing your lunch with someone. It might be picking up some litter or putting your recycling in the right bin. Small actions that possibly feel like the opposite to what everyone else is doing can make an enormous difference.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Secondly, Sorrento and the executives at IOI headquarters would do anything to win the game. You have to watch the whole film to spot some of this, but they were using their influence to make people buy more and more in-game purchases. By doing this, they led people into debt and then would enslave them in the real world to help them try and win the game.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • When people say that they are Christians, and they follow Jesus, the Bible tells them to look after others. There is another verse from the Bible that says:
    • ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8)
    • In other words, if you want to know how to live a good life, you need to think about justice, about mercy and about being humble. We’ll come back to that idea in a moment.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Thirdly, we watched what happened when Parzival suddenly had lots of money. He went on a spending spree with his friend, buying up lots of extra tools for the game. He was just like many of us. When we get some money we spend it on lots of stuff to make us feel happy. We are tempted by all the things we can buy, but what we quickly learn is that having all the right stuff doesn’t actually make us any happier in our lives. Lots of people end up in large amounts of debt because they are pressured into buying things that they can’t afford.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Ready Player One is a film set in the future, in a world that doesn’t really exist, but there are aspects of the world that remind us of our world.
    • It’s not a fair place. Some people have more money and more power than others, and some of them use that power and money to do harm to others.
    • It’s not a happy place. People are trying to find happiness, either by escaping into the world of the game or by trying to get richer, and some of the others are exploiting them by pushing them into debt.
    • Fairness and happiness are important to human beings, whether they are in the world of a movie, or the real world. Perhaps the answer to some of the problems we see in the world is to try and live like the verse we read earlier.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. All of us have the power to make changes to the world we live in.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Acting justly means living with fairness towards others. It might mean thinking carefully about how much plastic we use in order to treat the planet more fairly or thinking about where what we buy comes from. It might mean standing up for the rights of people who are unfairly treated.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Loving mercy is all about being kind towards others, forgiving them and treating them as we would want to be treated.
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • Walking humbly means not living selfishly, and choosing to put the needs of others first. That might mean letting someone else go in front of you in a queue or offering to help someone even though you’re in a hurry.
  • [PowerPoint slide 14]
    • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. That’s how you really win the game.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Ready Player One PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Harvest.
    • Today’s assembly will be about happiness and fairness.
    • At Harvest time we stop and acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God.
    • Also remember that we have a responsibility to help other people on our planet find happiness and fairness.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • What was the last thing you bought?
    • Do you ever stop and think about where that came from and who made it?
    • Now think about some of the bigger things you own – your clothes, your devices, your products.
    • Do you ever think about where they came from?
    • Do you ever think about who made them?
    • Advertisers and companies spend millions of pounds trying to persuade us that our lives are not complete until we buy their product.
    • Meanwhile, the products we buy may be made by people who are living in poverty, and getting them to us may have a big impact on the environment.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Ready Player One.
    • Introduce the clip.
    • Wade Watts lives in a world where everyone tries to escape their real lives by playing a game called OASIS.
    • In OASIS, there are three hidden keys left by the creator of the game to be discovered after his death.
    • Wade is trying to find the keys and win ownership of the game.
    • Play the clip from Ready Player One (Amblin Entertainment/Warner, 2018, cert 12).
      • Start time: 00:25:03
      • End time: 00:29:23
      • Clip length: 4 minutes 20 seconds
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • It was possible for Wade to win by choosing to do the opposite thing.
    • Wade didn’t have lots of money or a team of people helping him.
    • He had worked out that the way to win the game was actually to wait until everyone else had shot off, then go backwards.
    • By choosing to do the opposite thing to everyone else, he won.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Matthew 20:16.
    • In the Bible, we learn that God loves all people, but he is especially kind to those who are weak and poor.
    • From God’s perspective, the important thing in life is to put other people first and look after those who are weaker.
    • In our culture, it often feels as though the most selfish people are the winners.
    • Jesus challenges his followers to put others first, to choose to do the opposite thing to everyone around us.
    • It’s a good thing to think about other people’s needs and to make the world better by being less selfish.
    • Examples – choosing to be kind to someone who annoys you, sharing your lunch with someone, picking up some litter or putting your recycling in the right bin.
    • Small actions that possibly feel like the opposite to what everyone else is doing can make an enormous difference.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Sorrento would do anything to win the game.
    • They were using their influence to make people buy more and more in-game purchases.
    • By doing this, they led people into debt and then would enslave them in the real world to help them try and win the game.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Micah 6:8.
    • When people say that they are Christians, and they follow Jesus, the Bible tells them to look after others.
    • If you want to know how to live a good life, you need to think about justice, about mercy and about being humble.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Parzival’s spending spree.
    • When Parzival suddenly had lots of money, he went on a spending spree with his friend.
    • He was just like many of us.
    • When we get some money we spend it on lots of stuff to make us feel happy.
    • We are tempted by all the things we can buy, but what we quickly learn is that having all the right stuff doesn’t actually make us any happier in our lives.
    • Lots of people end up in large amounts of debt because they are pressured into buying things that they can’t afford.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Ready Player One is not so different to our world.
    • It’s not a fair place.
    • Some people have more money and more power than others, and some of them use that power and money to do harm to others.
    • It’s not a happy place.
    • People are trying to find happiness, either by escaping into the world of the game or by trying to get richer, and some of the others are exploiting them by pushing them into debt.
    • Fairness and happiness are important to human beings.
    • Perhaps the answer to some of the problems we see in the world is to try and live like the verse we read earlier.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.
    • All of us have the power to make changes to the world we live in.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Acting justly.
    • Living fairly.
    • Thinking about the environment.
    • Thinking about what we buy.
    • Standing up for the rights of others.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Loving mercy.
    • Being kind to others.
    • Learning to forgive.
    • Treating others as we’d like to be treated.
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • Walking humbly.
    • Not living selfishly.
    • Letting someone else go first.
    • Offering to help when you’re in a hurry.
  • [PowerPoint slide 14]
    • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.
    • That’s how you really win the game.

Photo Copyright for Ready Player One PowerPoint: Slide 1 Pixabay.com / Slide 2 User Rept0n1x at Wikimedia Commons / Slide 3 Warner Bros / Slide 4 Warner Bros and Warner Bros / Slide 5 Pixabay.com / Slide 6 Warner Bros and Warner Bros / Slide 7 and 12 iStockphoto.com / Slide 8 Warner Bros and Warner Bros / Slide 9 Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment / Slide 10 Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment / Slide 11 (fair trade goods) Ranveig Thattai and beach Pixabay.com / Slide 13 Pixabay.com / Slide 14 Warner Bros / Slide 15 Warner Bros


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, we live in a world where people are often treated unfairly and are unhappy. Help us to walk the opposite way. Help us not to be selfish but to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Thank you that you have a special kindness towards the poor and the sad. Thank you that you love us. Amen.

Reflection

  • [PowerPoint slide 15]
    • Show the slide and play some reflective music, asking the students to take a moment to think about one action they can take today.
    • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. What one action will you take today to help others?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of Ready Player One (Amblin Entertainment/Warner, 2018, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. A tray of cheap prizes (sweets, stationery items, bouncy balls etc.) and a £2 coin hidden in a piece of blu-tack or scrunched up piece of paper plus a cloth to cover the tray for Make Your Choice activity.
  3. Ready Player One PowerPoint.

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