When four MIT hackers decide they can make a better Adventure, they start building a game that will still be topping bestseller charts eight years later.
This is such a great description of the origins of Zork! I found it confoundingly difficult as a kid growing up in Alabama—I think I probably first encountered it around 1985 for the Commodore 64. But there was something magnetic about it.
My brother was a programmer at a brewery in the early 80's, when I was in highschool. He brought over an acoustic coupler modem, keyboard, and monochrome terminal for us to use. The handset of the phone would be nestled into foam lined openings on the modem and connect to the mainframe at his job. We didn't get very far in Zork, but we were fascinated by it. We also got to watch an early animation created using only text characters: Bambi versus Godzilla.