DescriptionYour grandfather has invented a device which makes real everything he can see in his dream. All the strange places and creatures he can dream about really exist in an alternate reality. One of those creatures, named Franklin Snarl, traveled through the device to our reality and kidnapped Gramps, teleporting him into the crazy world of Tonetown. He hopes that Gramps will always remain asleep, which assures Snarl's own existence!
Now it's up to you, the hero of the game to travel to the alternate dimension of Tonetown and to rescue your grandfather. You interact with the environment by either typing in commands, or choosing one of the action icons available as interface. The game, therefore, combines text-based interaction with the more modern "point and click" approach.
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- "Tass Times in Tonetown: A Bizarre Adventure into an Alternate Reality" -- Tag-lined title
- "Ennio: The Legend Begins" -- Working title
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Copy ProtectionThe copy protection was especially interesting. In order to talk to most characters in the game, the player had to know their names. These were published in articles in a newspaper that came with the game.
Developer InterviewMichael Berlyn, one of the designers, sets the record straight about Tass Times in Tonetown, in this informal 1999 interview with MobyGames:
On the main supporting character:
"The game's original title (working title) was 'Ennio: The Legend Begins,' which refers to the dog in the game. Ennio, the heroic dog in the game, was based on a dog in our neighborhood, MacGregor. We called the character Ennio after the film composer Ennio Morricone. We liked the name so we used it. Right after the game shipped, we went out and bought a little dog, a Lakeland Terrier, and named him 'Ennio the Legend.' Ennio was a great companion and a great dog with a tremendous sense of humor who passed away last year."On the meaning of "tass":
"Muffy and I were employed there, teaching creative writing. And the motto of Harvard is 'Veritas,' which means 'truth.' We took to saying 'very tass' to mean, 'very true,' or 'too true.' Our students picked it up and started applying it to something that was cool. So very tass turned into very hip or cool."
eBay AuctionEarly 2006, Mike Berlyn - as seller Bendite - offered at eBay "The Original Design Document" of Tass Times in Tonetown in a signed limited edition of 12 production copies and one proof. The document consists of a photocopy (approximately 200 pages) that’s been bound into a book, complete with its own “Tass Times Design Document” colored cover. Included is, besides the complete script, an introductory chapter (dated December 2005), Muffy Berlyn's original sketches for the characters, some unused song lyrics for the Daglets, and some history with a photo of the real Ennio the Legend.
Mouse SupportThe game supported a serial mouse back in 1986. Since it was originally a booting game, this means the programmers spent the time to support serial mice natively--a noble effort since mice were not common PC peripherals back in 1986.
- There is a reference to Zork scribbled on the inside of a cave wall in the game. Michael Berlyn wrote several Infocom games.
- There is a hidden picture known as "Yummy" (on the Apple II ProDOS version, it's stored in a file with that name). It shows Brian Fargo (the boss of Interplay) cutting off the head of an unnamed programmer, according to Rebecca Ann Heineman, who was a programmer there at the time.