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Kentucky Route Zero's latest interlude requires a phone … a telephone

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The team at Cardboard Computer is at it again with another esoteric interlude between episodes of Kentucky Route Zero.

KR0's first episode was released in early 2013, and since then only three of the five promised episodes have been published. But between each release the team has shared a special, free experience with their fans. The first was a tour of a virtual art museum, called Limits and Demonstrations. The second, called The Entertainment, was a theatrical experience built for the Oculus Rift.

This interlude? Well... we're not quite sure what this one is yet, but we know it's a three-parter.

First, there's a phone for sale on eBay.

"This phone only dials one number correctly," the listing reads. "I do not recall how I arrived at that discovery. Dashiell had piercing tinnitus that kept him up nights, and sometimes I would find him come morning hunched wincing over the receiver, dialing away, unsystematic and helpless. Maybe he came across it during one of those nights? I really don't remember." Bids are currently hovering around the $150 mark.


Second, there's a telephone number: (270) 301-5797. Calling it you reach a touch-tone switchboard that leads you around the menus of Here And There Along The Echo, a guide for "drifters and pilgrims." It's surrene to listen to but, as of yet, totally cryptic. Here's a sample.

Finally, there's a digital version... of a telephone. Available for PC, Mac and Linux, this telephone only dials the above number. Any other entry, and the operator will kindly tell you that "this number is not real."

For fans of KR0 this interlude is sure to provide insights into where the story is going. It remains to be seen if this experiment in storytelling brings in any new fans to the series.

The next level of puzzles.

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