Believe it or not, when the Internet was first born, there was precious little in terms of graphics. Graphical computers didn't really hit the market until the early 1980s, and it wasn't until the mid-1990s that they became ubiquitous.
Gopher works very much the same as the Web, except it's all text-based. I have an iFrame showing a Web interface to Gopher, but that's not really Gopher.
If you really want to experience the Internet in a text way (including Gopher), sign up with SDF.org. This has been my own personal playground for a good decade, now, for an appallingly tiny amount of money.