Graphics? We don't need no stinking graphics!
The world of text based games is an almost completely forgotten one. In fact, even though they were massively popular for quite awhile, once computer games actually started using graphics, these games quickly became forgotten. I still love them though, but it's a tough love. Here's why:
They're freaking hard! The fact that you really have to use your imagination is one of the major draws of these games, but also a major drawback. I've played a few where I had to constantly keep typing in "look" because I kept forgetting what was in the room I was in!
There was one where I managed to get out of the house I was in, and was walking down the street and ended up in this maze of alleyways. I got to the end of it but to find your way back out, you had to go the exact opposite of the way you came in, which I had no idea I was going to have to do otherwise I would have written down the way I came in! I ended up dying and getting eaten by a vulture.
One of the most infamous text based games is the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game. Simply put, it is the hardest game ever made, bar none. If you can even get out of the house before it's bulldozed without using a guide, I salute you.
Another major problem is the text input. You have to be very specific sometimes on what you want to do. Some games, Like the Zork series, are programmed pretty well, but I've played some that are damn frustrating because you can't figure out what you need to input.
If you want to actually play some of these games I'd suggest Zork and the other Infocom games first: http://www.xs4all.nl/~pot/infocom/ There's also websites where people have made their own, which range from good to horrible.
I'll be back to continue little homage to this genre tomorrow. Stay tuned!