Although I loved MUDs, text adventures could never keep my attention. I always found the puzzles annoying, and had no desire to spend time trying to solve them. On the other hand, ZZT, TADS and Inform were my first introductions to object oriented programming (and helped me understand MOOcode as well). This article is an excellent overview of both the good and bad of interactive fiction… Although I think the “unnkuul” bronze plate puzzle may constitute some kind of crime.
TADS and Inform were my first introductions to object oriented programming
I had the same experience growing up, and I was dabbling in TADS even as I started to work as an adult (when I actually started to own a computer, not just renting from nearby computer shops).
Incidentally, while I was still playing around with TADS, I had also brushed against Ruby, which was used along with a GUI framework called “Fx,” IIRC, to create an interactive fiction mapper application. Since I could never get Ruby to be “compiled” into some sort of binary, I dismissed learning it at the time. Little did I know it could be used as it was, as I had no idea what scripting languages looked like.
I had the same experience when I first saw Python: it “couldn’t even compile!” D'oh. Of course, thể Z-Machine helped me understand Java when I found that…
Never played a whole lot of these but I was really interested in the engines and game development as a kid. This was insanely interesting, as was the linked AGT article. Deserves more upvotes ;)