The video itself opens with a black screen, then Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" begins to play. Halliday appears as he did in the year 2014 as per his appearance on TIME magazine, complete with horn-rimmed glasses, faded Space Invaders T-shirt, and jeans. The first scene takes place at a high school dance in a gymnasium in the 1980s (appeared in the film Heathers, 1988), with digitally added teenagers that appeared in various John Hughes films. (Extras from Heathers)
Halliday begins to sing and dances to "Dead Man's Party" but then suddenly stops. It cuts to Halliday now standing before an open casket in a funeral parlor. His older self can be seen lying in the casket next to him, quarters over both of his eyes (both dated 1984). The people surrounding the casket are the same people from the previous scene taken from the 1988 film Heathers.
The younger Halliday begins to address the mourners:
-- “I, James Donovan Halliday, being of sound mind and disposing memory, do hereby make, publish, and declare this instrument to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all wills and codicils by me at any time heretofore made.…” --
...only to stop when he realizes reading the entire will would take forever, so you just get the highlights. Then the scene changes again to a massive vault, filled to the brim with gold bars. Halliday asks the viewers if they'd like to know just how they can win his vast inheritance.
The scene changes again, revealing Halliday as he appeared at 8-years-old in the late '70s his childhood house with wood paneling along the walls, burnt-orange carpeting, and an Atari 2600 hooked up to a 21-inch Zenith TV.
He explains that his favorite game was the Atari 2600 classic, Adventure, and then proceeds to navigate through the game guiding the little square to a hidden secret key in a secret room where the game's programmer (Warren Robinett) left his name.
Halliday goes on to explain how this was the first "easter egg" of its kind ever in a videogame, and how Atari had no idea it was even in the game until several months later, which was, of course, too late.
Then the 8-year-old Halliday stands, dropping the 2600 joystick. The scene changes again to a dimly lit cavern, the only light given off by flickering torches. Halliday's appearance changes again, this time becoming his OASIS avatar Anorak, a tall, black robed wizard with a calligraphy "A" embroidered on the sleeves.
Finally, he begins to describe the details of a contest he calls "The Hunt" - a contest to win his fortune and control over the OASIS - ending with a grand gesture by his right hand, after which a Copper, Jade, and Crystal key appear out of thin air, spinning in place. Then Anorak recited the following, each line appearing in flaming subtitles at the bottom of the screen:
Three hidden keys open three secret gates
Wherein the errant will be tested for worthy traits
And those with the skill to survive these straits
Will reach The End where the prize awaits
After Anorak finishes the last line, the Jade and Crystal keys disappear, leaving just the Copper one hanging on a chain around his neck. The camera follows Anorak as he continues farther into the cavern, stopping at a pair of massive wooden doors, banded with steel. Then Anorak speaks again:
“I couldn’t playtest this particular game, so I worry that I may have hidden my Easter egg a little too well. Made it too difficult to reach. I’m not sure. If that’s the case, it’s too late to change anything now. So I guess we’ll see.”
Then Anorak opens the doors, revealing a colossal treasure room filled with gold coins and gem-encrusted goblets. (Eagle-eyed gunters have also spotted various classic computers and videogame consoles, and several multi-sided dice used in RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons.)
Anorak turns to face the camera, his arms holding open the double doors (in what appears to be a nod to the artwork from the Dungeons and Dragons: Dungeon Master's Guide). Anorak ends the video by exclaiming:
"So without further ado, let the hunt for Halliday's Easter egg begin!"
Halliday vanishes in a flash of light, then the screen fades to black.
The invitation starts with a closeup on Halliday's eyes covered with quarters. Then it changes to see him in a Star Trek themed funeral with Halliday rising from his coffin (an homage to Dracula), turning to the camera and taking off the quarters. Then it zooms up to his face as he announces his will.
"Hello. I'm James Halliday. If you're watching this, I'm dead. Before I died, I created what we in the biz call an easter egg. A hidden object in a game that gives special powers to whoever discovers it. The first person to find the egg I've hidden somewhere inside the OASIS will inherit my stock in Gregarious Games, currently valued an excessive half a million dolla.... half a trillion dollars worth, and total control of the OASIS itself."
He then changes into his avatar Anorak the All-knowing, sitting on his throne, showing three keys (Copper, Jade, and Crystal) as he recites the poem.
Three hidden challenges will test worthy traits
Revealing three hidden keys to three magic gates
And those with the skills to survive these straits
Will reach the end where the prize awaits