The UK Guardian offers this great interview with interactive fiction author and theorist Emily Short.
I think the renaissance happened about 15 years ago, during the
mid-90s, when much better design systems for IF were suddenly available
and a community coalesced devoted to writing IF seriously, if
non-commercially. There’s been plenty of development since then: lots
of new techniques and new ideas about how to tell a good story, how to
write a good puzzle, how to maximize enjoyment and minimize the un-fun
kinds of frustration. But from the perspective of people inside the
hobby, right now is not the beginning or even a rebirth.
I do see IF getting a little bit more attention from the outside
world, from people who haven’t been following it this whole time. I
think that’s largely because growing attention to independent gaming as
a whole. The past couple of years have seen a huge growth in the number
of websites devoted to following games not produced by a big
studio, and that means that there are new ways to get attention for IF.
It also means a change in prejudices. There are now more people who are
willing to look at and try a new game format even if it doesn’t come
from a commercial studio.
There’s also a growing concern within the gaming industry (as far as
I can observe it) about how conventional game design is not producing
enough good stories, enough strong characters, enough innovation. So
there’s more interest in turning to indie and hobbyist communities to
see what we’ve been doing and whether there’s any valuable technique
here that would be applicable on a larger scale. I like to think that
we do, in fact, have something to offer.