Some of the earliest video games were text games or text-based games that used text characters instead of bitmapped or vector graphics. Examples include MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons), where players could read or view depictions of rooms, objects, other players, and actions performed in the virtual world; and roguelikes, a subgenre of role-playing video games featuring many monsters, items, and environmental effects, as well as an emphasis on randomization, replayability and permanent death. Some of the earliest text games were developed for computer systems which had no video display at all.
Text games are typically easier to write and require less processing power than graphical games, and thus were more common from 1970 to 1990. However, terminal emulators are still in use today, and people continue to play MUDs and explore interactive fiction. Many beginning programmers still create these types of games to familiarize themselves with a programming language, and contests are held even today on who can finish programming a roguelike within a short time period, such as seven days.