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Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die

by Rob Noyes


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Number of Ratings: 95
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Clever But Underimplemented, December 13, 2020
This is certainly a minimalistic work, but the title actually undersells it. In a clever twist, picking up the phone booth and dying is only half of what Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die has to offer. Uncovering the other half is the real challenge here.

There are a lot of things I like about this game. It's efficient, in that it manages to pack a lot of punch into an extremely small package - with only two potential actions of consequence, only one of which can be executed in a single playthrough. The metatextual aspect, using the game's title to give crucial information even before play begins, is a neat trick as well.

But it has to be said that the game is woefully under-implemented. There are quite a few things that are described in the text but not implemented as objects: the town, the square, the smiley face. There are also quite a few default failure responses to actions that really ought to have been given more attention. I was disappointed, for example, that smelling or touching the phone booth yields only Inform's default message. With a world this small, it would have been relatively easy to really focus on the details, but unfortunately they haven't received so much care.

At the core of this game is a pretty good joke. But I feel that the best jokes are those which go all-out. Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die, unfortunately, does not.

- Jason Lautzenheiser (Navarre, Ohio), September 7, 2020

- Edo, May 3, 2020

- edcst, April 4, 2020

- nf, November 1, 2019

- Zape, July 4, 2019

- AndyRobot, May 16, 2019

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 16, 2018

- AKheon (Finland), September 10, 2018

- DustyCypress (Hong Kong), May 19, 2018

- Oblivion, February 6, 2018

- nosferatu, January 30, 2018

- beriaearwen, October 10, 2017

- mrfrobozzo, July 25, 2017

- lkdc, January 31, 2017

- finnn62, December 14, 2016

- Audiart (Davis, CA), November 3, 2016

- jeffhos, October 13, 2016

- sadcarnival (Australia), June 19, 2016

- Denk, May 1, 2016

- zylla, April 27, 2016

- Merodacha (United States), April 18, 2016

- Teaspoon, March 26, 2016

- Oreolek (Kemerovo, Russia), February 6, 2016

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A silly but well-known game, February 3, 2016
Pick up the phone booth and die has one idea: try picking up the phone booth. Then die. Exactly one related action will win the game instead.

I had always heard of this game, and played it once or twice. After deciding to write this review, I investigated its history. It seems it was nominated for an XYZZY award for Best Puzzle in 1997. It was simultaneously released with a demo for Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die, part 2, which is still available as a demo on ifdb.

Most of the praise the game receives is due to its minimalism.You might as well try it because it is so short.

It inspired the much better game, Pick Up The Phone Booth and Aisle, which parodies both this game and Aisle (where every action ends the game in a different ending).

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