Interactive Fiction (often referred to as Text Adventures) are stories where you control the main character. Rather than reading the story from start to finish, you interact with everything by typing commands at a prompt, discovering things as you go along. Well written games give you, the player, the impression that anything you type is understood by giving a sensible and meaningful response. Indeed, part of the fun of playing interactive fiction games is discovering responses to things you didn't expect to have been catered for.
Most interactive fiction games follow the same basic rules - these include walking from location to location using compass directions (north, east, south-west etc). You can normally pick objects up, drop them, put them on things, talk to characters, push things and much more. This handy sheet for beginners explains many common commands used in games.
There are several different systems for creating Interactive Fiction. The main ones in use today aside from ADRIFT are Alan, Hugo, Inform, Quest, and TADS. There are advantages and disadvantages of each system. Most of these are programming languages, so you have to have a reasonable understanding of programming to be able to use them. This does provide a lot of flexibility, but it comes at the expense of ease of use. Even more experienced users may not know how to use the full functionality of the language. Quest, like ADRIFT, is also a Windows GUI application and shares many similar characteristics. more