The biggest appeal was getting into the chat system. There, we could chat with what I assume were Darthmouth college students. "JOIN XYZ" I think was the command from the main menu.
There was this cool VT display of who was in the chat, so you could tell how many people were there. I used to chat with these people all the time. It was great for a precocious 13 year old who couldn't talk with his peers because his vocabulary and worldview was greatly expanded from theirs. How unfortunate that my social skills were so backward at the same time.
The details are a bit foggy, but I'm sure with some conversation with some of the same folks who used to chat there, I could dredge up those memories. Anyone remember chatting on that system?
Oh yes. I was a freshman in '80, and I spent a lot (too much?) time in Kiewit, playing the adventure game, writing programs in BASIC (and later BASIC7, which had a multi-threaded version if you can believe that) chatting on XYZ. Probably talked to you at one point.
BTW, it's 'Dartmouth'. I'm not fussy, but I'm sure there are alums who are.