Back in high school I became fascinated with artificial intelligence and grammar-parsing software. Software such as Racter could produce dialog and novels. I studied a related program called ELIZA and formulated plans to design similar software. I had some success, but before I jumped fully into neural networks, I discovered text-based adventures.Softly.
The first text-based adventure I tried was called Advent, or Adventure. Also known as Colossal Cave. The grammatical parser was not nearly as complicated as Racter, which used templates to produce both monologues and dialogues (it could talk to itself), or ELIZA, which could take apart a full sentence. Instead, Advent used a verb and optionally a noun. As an example: "take lamp". Also, "north", which meant "go north". The main appeal was in playing the game, but I was interested in how it worked, or more specifically, how I could write a game like Advent but for multiple players. I knew others with similar interests and goals. But nowadays, such games mostly involve CGI.