TinyMUD, like most games of the time, included no facilities to edit input. Because of the bind-to-port interface, TinyMUD players had to supply their own client, and many players were stuck with versions of Telnet that only supplied a character mode. Once a mudder typed something, there was no way to delete it, and the only way to abort an embarrassing message was to exit or crash the telnet session. The text that players typed was displayed mixed in with game output, a pain in a "noisy" room. There was no word wrap.
Several players quickly improvised clients, both Emacs modes and stand-alone programs. Players stuck on systems that wouldn't run a client (VMS and VM/CMS come to mind) remained without a delete key. Therefore early TinyMUD communications were marked by continual streams of glaring typographical errors.
Steward Clamen wrote the first Emacs client. The first non-Emacs client was Tinywrap. The author, remembered only in the copyright information, was J.Seidman, aka Drasx. Tinywrap was followed by Russ Smith's TinyLink. Anton Rang took a look at TinyLink developed another client called TinyTalk. TinyTalk eventually supported gags to suppress problem players and hilites to single out interesting ones. Macros allowed players to change descriptions and develop "trademark" actions, adding to their range of expression in a text-only environment. TinyTalk also provided a feature for recording conversations and a repeat command, both of which were useful, but could be used by unscrupulous mudders to cause grief.
The first MUD client designed as an offensive weapon against troublemakers (or innocent bystanders), TinyWar by Leo Plotkin, canonized the C-code comment "/* Drunk -- Fix Later */". Users of TinyWar insist to this day that it doesn't exist.
These clients were restricted to Unix systems. However, students at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, released a client for VMS (named TINT or Tiny INTerface, a pun on MINT, or Mail INTerface, an buggy and obnoxious mail reading client developed in-house).
Clients have evolved along with servers. Some are tailored to specific servers, while others are customizable.