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Pentagon Papers Release (2011)

‘Ready Player One’s’ Steven Spielberg and Ernest Cline on pooling their nostalgia to tell a new story

‘Ready Player One’s’ Steven Spielberg and Ernest Cline on pooling their nostalgia to tell a new story

Steven Spielberg was a gamer before there was a name for such a thing, and he has the stories to prove it.

He can tell you about playing Pong in 1974 on Martha’s Vineyard with Richard Dreyfuss during the filming of “Jaws.” Years later, when he was making 1982’s “E.T.,” he had a Missile Command arcade cabinet hauled to the set because he was obsessed with trying to score over a million points. “I was determined to break the bank before we wrapped the movie,” he remembers. “That was the race for me.”

Combine that abiding love of video games with Spielberg’s deep association with the 1980s — a decade that cemented his reputation as Hollywood’s pre-eminent hitmaker — and he seemed...

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