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Pick up the Phone Booth and Die

Pick up the Phone Booth and Die DOS Not the most elaborate backstory, I'll grant

MISSING COVER

Released
Platforms
MobyRank MobyScore
Browser
...
3.3
DOS
...
3.7
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Description

A paragon of minimalist gaming, this debut piece of interactive fiction compounds the increasingly-popular "one-room game" sub-genre with a further elegant restriction -- the room ("the middle of a pretty town square in the center of a nondescript New England town") contains only a single object, the titular phone booth (shiny, metal, and, defying conventional use, welded shut). The title, a simple assertion of cause and effect, taunts and challenges the player, offering only a direct avenue to an unsuccessful game end; the onus is on the player to determine something, anything, more satisfying to do with the booth in question. "...there's not much to see or do here, but maybe you'll find something amusing and enjoyable to do."

The game is so slight, consisting of this solitary, single-step puzzle, as to practically be a riddle or logic problem; if there were more of them they might be one-liners zinged off by a zen comedian. As it is, the "game" (such as it is) is barely bite-sized -- but still worth a nibble.

Screenshots

Pick up the Phone Booth and Die DOS ... and this, alas, the third, yields poor results.  Still, you can't say it was a surprise.
Pick up the Phone Booth and Die DOS These are clearly the first two things any sane adventurer would try...
Pick up the Phone Booth and Die DOS Not the most elaborate backstory, I'll grant
Pick up the Phone Booth and Die Browser Starting the game.

Alternate Titles

  • "PUTPBAD" -- acronym
  • "Pick up the Phone Booth and Die: A NyQuil Nightmare" -- Tag-lined title

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Trivia

PUTPBAD's grand, over-arching puzzle ("the whole game") was a finalist in the 1997 XYZZY Award (nominated by and voted on by authors of interactive fiction) category for Best Individual Puzzle. (It lost to "the language puzzle" in Lucian P. Smith's The Edifice.)

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Contributed to by Pseudo_Intellectual (44595)