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A Masterpiece for the Modern Age, September 6, 2020
When looking at the reviews so far for this game I am, frankly, surprised and appalled. A plurality of folks (probably well-meaning folks, but you never know) gave it only one star. Please bear with me as I dissect how very wrong they are.
I know we can't strictly rate games by their time period but one has to give credit to Rob Noyes to not falling into the traps that were common for the time.
Instant Death Rooms: None to be found. In fact, you are given fair (one might even say explicit) warning of any possible deaths. Zarf would have no choice but to give this game a merciful rating, a rarity in 1996.
Crimes Against Mimesis: None to be found. There is no need to explain why a phone booth is in a nondescript New England town in 1996, as phone booths were still fairly common. Even the haunting message from the operator one hears upon victory (is it victory?) is a testament to the harsh realities of telecommunication in the nineties.
Unrealistic Inventory Restrictions: None to be found. In fact, much like today's games that aren't as obsessed with inventory, you are strongly discouraged here from carrying anything!
Guess The Verb: I found at least one synonym for the game-winning action, and the most obvious verb is used anyway. One might argue that the puzzle itself is a leap of logic, but honestly, who hasn't wanted to do that to a phone booth?
Confusing Maps: Wait, so when I go southwest from the castle entrance to the antechamber, I have to go north to get back to the castle entrance? I don't know either, man. What I can tell you is that you won't have to worry about a map. Just you, a phone booth, and your wits.
Absurd Length: Noyes really anticipated the player of 2020. Who hasn't played Curses! or The Muldoon Legacy and died a little inside from the monotony (and a little on the outside from banging one's head into the monitor)? No such worries here. You can play this entire game and still have time to take your dog for a walk or remember to feed your children.
I could go on, but needless to say if you haven't given Noyes' timeless classic a try then you've probably lived too complicated a life.