FINE-TUNED: An Auto-mated Romance
Fine Tuned is an example of interactive fiction (IF), a text-based computer genre that was immensely popular in the mid 1980s, and has enjoyed a renaissance in the last decade or so.
"IF has been crying out for a 1920s scarf-and-goggles daredevil hero, and FINE TUNED's Troy Sterling could be just the man." -- Stephen Bond
- SPAG Spoiler Review by Emily Short
- SPAG Review by Jacqueline Lott
- Seventh-ranked text adventure (scoring 8.63/10) on The UnderDogs (computer game fan site)
- Recommended on Frederik Ramsberg's "Beginner's Guide to Playing Interactive Fiction"
- 2001 XYZZY
* Best PC (Troy Sterling)
* Best Setting
- 2001 Interactive Fiction Competition (tied for 18th of 52)
Blurbs from reviews of the original release
- "Not only has the author created an absolutely wonderful world, full of 'anti-autoists,' roving herds of goats, and fist-shaking train engineers, but it dares -- and manages to pull off -- a number of pieces of *participatory* comedy, which is much harder to pull off than just writing a bunch of funny lines that always show up.... I laughed so hard I thought I'd die. But what really impressed me was that *I* had to make the joke happen, or rather, the author had to set things up such that I *would*" -- Adam Cadre
- "Where to begin about the things I liked? There's the Hitchhiker's Guide feel - original setting, brash intelligent humor, headlong plot, clueless hero - for one. There's the fact that lots of things I type in are provided for - something I love in a game, including responses that poke fun at me if I make silly or mechanical moves." -- Maureen Mason
- "[A] delightful game with terrific writing, fun characters, and a great plot" -- Paul O'Brian
- "[T]errific sense of atmosphere and prose... I really enjoyed the absurdly floofy first chapter" --Andrew Plotkin
- "My favorite underdog of the 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition... [A] must-play IF gem... Highly recommended!" -- The UnderDogs
- "This game is funny (it even has actual jokes that made me laugh), it's well-written, it's got a great setting..." -- Dan Shiovitz
- "Wow, I wish I had written that." -- Petter Holmlund
Full disclosure... comments about the original (very buggy) release...
- "[P]ossibly the most poorly-*coded* game in the entire comp" -- Adam Cadre
- "The one phrase that comes to mind when thinking of this game is 'U $t00p!D N00b!!!11!'" * -- Lord Craxton
- "Insanely buggy." -- Sean T. Barrett
- "This experience SUCKS." -- Paul O'Brian
- "Even the walkthrough is buggy, for heavens' sake." -- Andrew Plotkin
- "Man, such a disappointment."-- Dan Shiovitz
Why I'm bothering to keep working on it...
- The UnderDogs entry for Fine-Tuned
- "If its flaws were properly dealt with, it would be wonderful." -- Demian Katz
- "[T]he game I would most like to have [as] a cleaned-up post-comp version." -- David Thornley
- "[I]f the author cleans it up and releases a real version post-comp, definitely play that." -- Dan Shiovitz
- "Keep trying." -- Lord Craxton
* Translation: "You stupid newbie!
In my mind, the Pratt Dynamo looks something like a cross between the real Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Leslie Special (built in the 60s for the movie "The Great Race," which is set in roughly the same era as the game).
Aloysius happens to know a little about the "Tales of Hoffman" and Olympia's aria (which appears in chapter 4).
The song "Get Out and Get Under" (also appearing in chapter 4) was written around 1913. The words are by Grant Clarke and Edgar Leslie, and the music is by Maurice Abrahams.
Although I didn't know this while creating "Fine-Tuned," while creating this page I came across a reference to a 1920 silent comedy film, "Get out and Get Under," featuring Harold Lloyd. I haven't actually seen it yet, but Harold Lloyd is a very funny slapstick innovator (a precursor to the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy) --DGJ
Dennis G. Jerz
first posted Feb 2002.
last modified 05 Aug 2002 .
| Users are free to download, play, copy, and distribute the game,
so long as no changes are made in the files, and nobody is charged
Play it in a web browser: Fine-Tuned
Play it on a Windows or DOS machine: download and run FineTune.exe
Download a game interpreter for your system...
...and use that interpreter to play the Fine-Tuned (Z8 file)