I just saw an ad for a text-based MUD. Does anyone remember those? I do... because I learned my typing skills in one of them. You see, in this game, one of your first tasks is to buy new clothes with what little money you start out with. I bought the clothes, the sales woman set the clothes on the counter, and then another player in the store STOLE THEM from me because I couldn't type quickly enough to beat him to the grab. So I practiced and practiced, and then the MUD went "pay only".
Shortly thereafter, I started writing my first novel (at the ripe old age of 12... yeah, that was almost 14 years ago). My typing skills drastically improved with my desire to get my thoughts on the screen before I forgot what I wanted to say. Of course, that was before I planned out any kind of plot, so I made everything up on the spot without brainstorming.
Man the times have changed... but I can't believe there are still MUDs out there. I think it's awesome!