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Literature / User Unfriendly

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User Unfriendly is a novel by Vivian Vande Velde, and is a sequel to Heir Apparent.

In the novel, the protagonists have gotten a hold of an illegal copy of another of Rasmussem's games rather than pay for time, and are playing it at their home. That doesn't go as planned and they get stuck inside the game, and again, the only way out is to win. —Note: By "Win," here, we mean solve the puzzles/defeat the game. You can die as many times as you like in without dying in real life, unlike in Heir Apparent.

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Tropes:

  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: The entire plot is started because the protagonists get an illegal copy of the game, and trap themselves inside it due to triggering a copy protection program that traps them inside the game and can only be terminated by a customer service rep.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: Well, a virtual reality, but similar enough.
  • Copy Protection: A fictional example, in this case. The protagonists are playing a pirated copy of Virtual Reality RPG Rasmussem. Unfortunately for them, discussing the game in front of an NPC initiates an infinite loop in the relevant AI which can only be terminated by a customer service representative.
  • Cross Player: Everyone in the main character's party is a real-life friend of his, but he doesn't know which person is behind which character. He seems to have it all figured out early on, but his assumption that the character's sex must match the player's turns out to be wrong.
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  • I Am X, Son of Y: Dwarves introduce themselves with them Feordin Macewielder calls himself son of Feordan Sturdyaxe, grandson of Feordane Boldheart, etc.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The game has dwarves that have really long introductions about themselves, mainly with a long list of I Am X, Son of Y variations.
  • Situational Sword: The player characters find a sword that glows in the presence of orcs. Since the players have artificially inflated their combat stats, the sword turns out to be more trouble than it's worth.
  • Shout-Out: The sword that glows in the presence of Orcs is a reference to the sword Sting, from The Lord of the Rings, that does the same.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: dwarf characters in the game introduce themselves by listing their name and title, followed by the names and titles of all their ancestors. For example, the dwarf member of the party is Feordin Macewielder, son of Feordan Sturdyaxe, grandson of Feordane Boldheart, brother to Feordone the Fearless, great-grandson of Feordine Stoutarm who served under Graggaman Maximus. After he is first introduced, the protagonist points out that this is a relatively short list of titles for a dwarf in the setting.
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