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

How do you play interactive fiction games?

Biography of "Fine Tuned"

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!

Dennis G. Jerz
first posted Feb 2002.
last modified 05 Aug 2002 .

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