When someone says, "Make a text game" it doesn't mean a text adventure game in the normal sense. I'm thinking more like MUD type games, where you have a huge world, but it is represented via text instead of graphics. And, if they are programmed properly, these games can easily be converted to graphics.
I really have to agree with this. I was teaching a class on level 1 game design, which was essentially a Windows UI form/button based RPG, with rooms, items and enemies moving around. I had also showed them how to tile an image. For the last day of the 5 day class, the the students took things into their own hands, and organized (with only a little help from me) and added an X/Y coordinate to each room, and filled in the missing ones (I.e. some times you enter a tunnel, and you pop out 5 squares away.)
It was incredible watching them work together, each taking on a piece based on interest, comfort-ability and skill level. The turned it into a 2D tile game in a day, with a monster walking around, and items, all visually represented. My best class ever, and certainly proving your point.
- The text game did have loops, and timers running, which would do things like move a monster and manage intervals on fights.