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Literature / No Pasaran Le Jeu

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The cover of the graphic novel version.
"Are you ready... for the Ultimate Experience?"
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No pasarán, le jeu is a French science-fiction novel from 1996, written by Christian Lehmann.

Eric, Thierry and Andreas are three French teenagers who are on a class trip in London. They are all passionate PC gamers and discover a shop called "Game Frenzy" where they find good bargain computer games. The old shopkeeper, however, is shocked by Andreas - a far-right fanatic carrying some relevant symbols - and gives them mysterious game disks to play.

As they return to France, they play the game on the disks which proves to be stranger, more powerful and more dangerous than they could ever imagine.

The original book was released in 1996. It had a sequel in 2005, Andreas, le retour and a third-final instalment in 2012, No pasarán, endgame.

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No pasarán, le jeu provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Bald of Evil: Andreas is described as having a shaven head, a stereotypical trait among far-right racist youth. He has a full head of blonde hair in the comic adaptation, however.
  • Blood Knight: Andreas loves violence in video games, and enjoys being a murderous barbarian when in the game.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Racist, psychotic Andreas finds out in the final book that he is himself of Jewish descent, which gives him a Heel Realization and so becomes The Atoner.
  • Cherry Tapping: Andreas has an intense game session playing Doom... until he ends up killed in the back by a mere Imp. This makes him very upset, and then he restarts a new game in God Mode.
  • Child Soldiers: Through the game, the boys end up as weary 15-year-old soldiers... with greyish-blue stubble.
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  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Made in 2014.
  • Covers Always Lie: The original cover art for the book used a screencap from the video game Fade To Black, which is never mentioned in the story.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Although the game makes it happen literally.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Eric. He is in love with a Bosnian girl and tries to stay close and be romantic with her... but when she tells him he is cute, it is felt much more like Condescending Compassion. He also Does Not Get The Girl.
  • Evil Former Friend: Andreas starts as the tough, troublemaking friend of Eric and Thierry. However, his violent and cruel tendencies drive them apart until he becomes a dangerous enemy.
  • Fictional Video Game: "The Ultimate Experience".
  • Foreign Language Title: "No pasarán", a Spanish phrase meaning "They will not pass", used by the Republic fighters of Spain against Franco in the 1930s, and has often been used as an anti-fascist slogan. Gets a Title Drop.
  • Heel Realization: Happens with Andreas.
  • Magitek: Implied how the game works.
  • Meaningful Name: Second book reveals that Andreas's surname is Salaün. It looks close to "salaud" (meaning bastard, asshole) when written, which Andreas (and his father) certainly is.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: The game that the boys play, "The Ultimate Experience", which simulates war so well that they might as well be trapped in another world.
  • Murder Simulators: Andreas is implied to have turned more violent because he loves violent video games, especially Doom.
  • The '90s: The first book was made in the 90s and it certainly shows. For one thing, modern games come in boxed CDs, and floppy disks are still around. There is still talk about violent video game controversy. The Bosnian War is a relevant plot point.
  • Parental Abuse: Robert Salaün strikes his son hard when he reminds him of his own violent punk past.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Andreas is a sadistic hardcore gamer who delights into killing, playing the worst faction in any war game. Also, he is a racist.
  • Present-Day Past: The first book was firmly set in the mid-1990s. The second book is supposed to happen soon after, but refers to The War on Terror and Iraq's occupation of the US army (which was an early-mid 2000s issue). The third book refers to the mass shooting by Anders Breivik, which happened in 2011. This has the effect of retroactively making the boy protagonists look like retro-game fans.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Where does "The Ultimate Experience" come from? No one knows.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Andreas and his dad are close to the French equivalent of this. In his youth, Robert Salaün was in a violent xenophobic gang, but has learned to be more subtle into spreading his ideology, and tries to teach at least that to his son.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Andreas certainly is so.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: The boys are on the lookout for violent video games. They expect "The Ultimate Experience" to be like this. It is violent, alright... by showing them how cruel and hellish real war was, and still is.
  • War Is Hell: That's basically the overarching message. Also implied to be the raison d'être of "The Ultimate Experience".

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