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Video Game / Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle

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The Town Square
You are standing in the middle of a pretty town square in the center of a nondescript New England town. Like most any other nondescript New England town, there's not much to see or do here, but maybe you'll find something amusing and enjoyable to do.
A shiny metal phone booth sits in the center of the square.

Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle is a spinoff of the minimalist Interactive Fiction Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die and the differently minimalist Aisle. Just as in the latter, you can only make one move, and then the game ends. You have a host of other commands to choose from, and each one leads to hundreds of possible endings, each one sillier than the last.

The game can be downloaded here, or played online here.

It has also been "ported" to Uncyclopedia.


PUTPBAA uses the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: Mocked with "wake me" and "wake booth".
  • Anticlimax:
    • "Yay." *** You jumped ***
    • Typing in "lose" will simply result in *** You lose *** with no further ending.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Many endings don't have a concrete resolution.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "Unlock booth".
  • Becoming the Genie: Try to "bunk in" the phone booth and see what happens.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Several.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Try "wave".
  • Call-Back: In Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die, the way to win is to push the booth over. The same applies here, and the game points out your good memory.
  • Cargo Ship: Invoked. Several endings imply romantic involvement between you and the booth. Others aren't so subtle.
  • Cataclysm Climax: Well let's see... among the "Game Overs" include death by meteor, death by the wrath of God, death by "ICE STOOOOOOORM", death by Cosmic Horror...
  • Advertisement:
  • Creator Cameo: Type "credits".
  • Cry into Chest: "Squeeze booth".
  • Cutting the Knot: Type in "win". "Okay." *** You win *** Or so it seems...
  • Developer's Foresight: The whole point. If you can think of a verb, it probably does something here. There are over 200 endings to the game, most of which are documented in the ending archive.
    • Remember how typing "inventory" causes your pants to explode? Try typing "disarm pants", "disleg pants", "throw pants", "remove pants", "eat pants", "wave pants", and then "deactivate pants".
    • If you try to perform an action with a direction, you get creative bug responses. "Waltz with (direction)", for example, gets you the response, "Your new name is Waltzes with Bugs."
      • If you try to waltz without specifying "with", the text parser itself gets offended to think the player wouldn't try to elaborate past a two-word entry.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: "Cook booth" ends with a safe falling on the protagonist. "Burn booth" ends with God smiting you with lightning.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: "Fight", "smash", "destroy", and other similar words cause the protagonist to try to destroy the booth. It ends badly, unsurprisingly.
  • Digging to China: "Dig".
  • The Dog Bites Back: There are a number of ways to kill the phone booth. Unfortunately, there are even MORE ways it can kill you instead.
  • Downer Ending: Most endings end badly for the protagonist.
  • Everybody Lives: Many of the "happy" endings are like this.
  • Exact Words: Some of the endings like to misinterpret commands such as "tie booth". This can be confusing to those who try synonyms like "fix booth".
  • Gainax Ending: "Eat booth" results in a mishmash of references to Aisle and So Far (bizarre enough that even the parser feels obliged to comment); "kick booth" seems like a utter non-sequitur unless you've played Losing Your Grip.
  • Grand Finale: Parodied with "close".
  • Happily Ever After: Occasionally, though usually in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
  • Have a Nice Death: Each ending, regardless of whether you die or not, has a unique parser message that ends the game.
  • Interface Screw: After using "undo" as a verb, no matter what keys you press the game will type out, one letter per keypress, "drive" and execute that command, to much confusion if it was an accident. Even more confusing since "drive" is not one of the recognized commands in the game proper. This is a shout-out to Adam Cadre's Shrapnel, which pulls the same trick.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: If you try to "waylay booth", you get a flashback to your 15 years of training in the Terran Galactic Defense Force, where you were apparently motivated by constant threats of kitten-pulverization.
  • In Spite of a Nail: "Deactivate pants" results in a time travel-induced alternate timeline where William McKinley survived his presidential term, Hitler slipped in the bathtub and knocked some sense into himself, Cracker Jacks were invented but don't come with a prize, and your parents married different people, abandoning you and leaving you with a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite this, you're still around, but your pants still explode and kill you.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Most of the endings result in the game berating you, and none give any points.
  • The Hero Dies: A LOT.
  • The Last Straw: Watch what happens when you type "fill self".
  • Layman's Terms: Type "brief", then "superbrief".
  • Logic Bomb: Type in "enter self".
  • Love Hurts: Choosing to "love booth" causes the phone booth to give you a big hug. Did I say big hug? I mean it falls on you and crushes you.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: "Dance with booth" briefly switches the game's format from prose into a Script Fic.
  • Mind Screw: Kick the phone booth.
    • Also, look southeast. Could possibly be a reference to the IF game Shade.
    • Try to undo without performing an action first.
    • Typing "eat" will end with something so nonsensical the game itself will say "What the hell was that about?"
    • Also try "waltz with me".
  • Multiple Endings: The entire point of the game.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Try entering "xyzzy", and a disembodied voice will complain about being summoned every time someone decides to make this reference.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Many times, you don't exactly die, but the game ends anyway.
  • Noodle Incident: Type in "walk" and the phone booth somehow impregnates you. And you end up in the Gobi desert.
  • Noodle Implements: Typing in "undo" without having previously done anything.
  • Oh God, with the Verbing!: Type "open booth".
  • Overly-Long Gag: "Look in pants" and "hold".
  • Reticulating Splines: "Smock my knickers" gives you this phrase.
  • Running Gag: Pants, especially the exploding variety. Also, several endings end with the message "You have a wacky pratfall."
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Type "verbose".
  • Shout-Out: To lots of other Text Adventures. And pop culture. And all sorts of other stuff. Many endings outright describe the plot of movies or books.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Depending on the ending, you may end up being a MIT student, Maxwell Smart, or even Superman. The player's gender can vary between endings, too.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: "Touch booth".
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: In "Examine booth", David Morgan-Mar appears to be this for the player character.
  • So Once Again, the Day Is Saved: Two endings cast you as Superman of all people!
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Type "blow up booth", "esplode booth", "blow up self", or "esplode self".
  • Take That!:
    • Sort of. Typing "sleep" prompts this response:
      "Looks like another cold night coming. Your best bet seems to be the phone booth. Huddled inside, you catch some winks as best as you can before the cops move you on. The half bottle of cooking sherry you stole seems to help. Next day, the struggle begins again."
      *** You were the CEO of ***
    • Typing "yes" results in this:
      "You send in your vote of affirmation... but it doesn't get counted."
      *** New England? I meant Florida ***
  • Title Drop: Do it! You'll win! Really!
  • The Many Deaths of You: Again, the whole point of the game.
  • Turbine Blender: If you try to "fly", in a paragraph-long reference to Photopia.
  • Twist Ending:
    • "Wait".
    • Then there's the above Take That!, where a depressing paragraph about you, a poor man trying to sleep, actually having been the CEO of dot-com bubble company
  • Wall of Text: You get one by typing "about".
  • Weddings for Everyone: One of the endings ("booth, yes") involves a wedding. In it, you marry the phone booth.
  • A Winner Is You: The "winning" endings, such as "pick up the phone booth and aisle" and "push booth".
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask:
    • Most verbs (such as "get" or "kiss") resolve differently depending on the target you specify, either "phone booth" or "me". A few also have different endings depending on if you specify a target at all (such as "love" or "listen").
    • There are different responses for the cardinal directions (and up and down) depending on if you type "walk" or "look".
    • Typing "sit on" with a subject results in the same response as "walk", for some reason. (For instance, "sit on floor" parses to "walk down".)
    • A few actions, such as "hug" or "set", don't result in an ending but instead a snarky comment.
    • This is also lampshaded if you type "waltz (subject)" rather than "waltz WITH (subject)".