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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.


Pick up the Phone Booth and Die Browser Starting the game.
Pick up the Phone Booth and Die Browser Can't say they didn't warn me!
Pick up the Phone Booth and Die Browser Feeling out the preliminaries.

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Alternate Titles

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

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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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Pseudo_Intellectual (61434) added Pick up the Phone Booth and Die (Browser) on Jun 30, 2008
Other platforms contributed by Pseudo_Intellectual (61434)