MUD1’s parser has a tone I might describe as “harsh.”
You can examine ’til your heart’s content, you won’t find anything special. Heavens, if I let folk examine things they’d spend the whole game doing it!
This effect can lead to some mind-blowing effects in other games (see the bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where a typo destroys a civilization) but here it’s as if the parser is playing along as an ever-present antagonist, ornery about syntax
With what do you want to light the torch? Say things in full, bedlamite!
even when it’s clear the game is capable of understanding but just chooses not to.
Unlock the door with what? If you want to unlock the door with keys, why not say so? Just to please me?
To switch to general theory for moment, I’ve occasionally run into the philosophy that error messages are a good thing and understanding too much will somehow harm the player’s general ability to interact. I’ve never subscribed to that. I feel like if the parser is capable of understanding, it should go ahead and do what the player wants, perhaps indicating what the standard syntax is for future reference.