Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle

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XYZZY Awards 2001
Finalist - Best Use of Medium
Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle
Author(s) Ola Sverre Bauge, Steve Bernard, Jon Blask, John Cater, Liza Daly, David Dyte, Stephen Granade, Iain Merrick, Rob Noyes, Dan Schmidt, Dan Shiovitz, Emily Short, and J. Robinson Wheeler
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 09-Jun-2001
Authoring system Inform 6.15
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Polite

How It Begins

You are standing outside a shiny metal phone booth in a nondescript New England town.

Notable Features

  • This game was inspired by both the classic one-room joke game Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die (Rob Noyes; 1996; Z-code) and the then-unique one-turn game Aisle (Sam Barlow; 1999; Z-code). The result was this one-room, one-turn joke game where any action ends the game, usually in a wacky way.
  • Many multiple endings. Although in some endings you die or win, most endings are just endings. The average player will not be searching for the "winning" ending, but instead will just play around with it to see what silly stuff the game will respond with.
  • As in Aisle, the endings as a whole suggest inconsistent worldviews. Who the player character is, how he or she got here, and why the PC is here can vary wildly from one ending to another.
  • Several of Inform's "meta-commands" (like save, restore, undo, verify, etc.) aren't "meta" in this game, but act like regular in-game commands.

Trivia and Comments

  • This game is often refered to by the initialism PUTPBAA.
  • In 2001, several people from ifMUD got together and rented a beachhouse in North Carolina for a summer "mudmeet". PUTPBAA was written on Emily's laptop computer during that mudmeet with everyone offering suggestions. Use the "credits" command in the game for slightly more detail.
  • Release 2 catches some commands that didn't end the game in Release 1. For example, the response to "smell pants" was changed from the default "You smell nothing unexpected" to "Pants? What pants? *** You have attempted to use knowledge from a previous life ***".


Release 1

Release 2


General info