A subform of electronic literature, Interactive Fiction (IF) is a type of “program that simulates a world, understands natural-language text input from an interactor and provides a textual reply based on events in the world” (Montfort 2005). IF blends elements of story and game, and readers enter short text commands in order to receive chunks of narrative information and to control either a character or the environment described. It’s one of the earliest forms of computer games and often features adventures.
In Will Crowther’s and Don Woods’ Adventure, for example, the story opens with the reader standing at the end of a road. To explore your surroundings you must type the actions you want to perform. A command could for example be “West,” then the game takes you to the location west from where you are standing, or if there is food, you can use the command Eat to eat it. With Adventure, the commands you use need to be simple, and you can only stick with 1-2 words for the work to understand what to do, which is a common way of using text commands in interactive fiction.
In most cases, Interactive Fiction is available for anyone to play, either for free or against a small donation of the player's choice, and there are multiple websites that archive IF, such as The Interactive Fiction Archive: https://www.ifarchive.org/.
Montfort, Nick. 2005. “Interactive Fiction”. electronic book review.
Crowther, W., Woods, D. (1976) Adventure, https://quuxplusone.github.io/Advent/play.html
(authored by Caroline Tranberg)