The first time I ever saw someone play a text adventure was in fifth grade. One of the sixth-graders didn't go to outdoor ed, and therefore spent the week in my fifth-grade classroom, playing Scott Adams's Impossible Mission on a TRS-80 while the rest of us did our schoolwork. At recess we crowded around him and shouted out commands to try. I really wanted a turn at the keyboard, but this guy wouldn't let anyone else near it. It would be another couple of years before I played a text adventure myself.
My big chance came when my father signed up for the Dow Jones online service, which offered not just stock listings but sports scores, movie reviews, Grolier's Encyclopedia, and a small selection of games, among which was Adventure. A bargain at a mere $144/hour! (In 1984 dollars!) Fortunately for my father's bank account, I eventually learned about Orange County's free BBSes, most of which were WWIV boards written in Pascal. Borland's Turbo Pascal let you swap in external modules called "door games," some of which were text adventures, and I've had the code to a few of these kicking around for (ulp!) a quarter of a century now. For a long time I've thought that it might be kind of fun to port one over to Inform, and I finally found the time to do so. Warning! These things were not exactly up to Infocom standards, let alone those of the modern day. This is a nostalgia project. Swords, trolls, magic spells, hit points. But no acoustic coupler necessary!