Though only a brief part of mainstream gaming, Infocom's text adventures remain among the most clever and evocative gaming experiences for those that played them. Allen Varney looks at these classics, and the people that continue to create them.
Always glad to read a piece on interactive fiction. Certainly a lot of academic work has been done about it -- it interested me that the first thesis on IF was being written right in my hometown when I was about five. I hadn't heard about Montfort's book but would like to get ahold of it. I have another rather ponderous book on IF that was someone's PhD thesis on interactive storytelling. Julian Dibbell has a pretty amazing article about Adventure syndicated on his website.
I suspect that the surface has only yet been scratched in terms of IF's potential. It's one reason why Inform is such an exciting piece of software, potentially bringing the medium to the accessibility level where people whose primary practice and training is in writing will be able to create this stuff. Though I also think that those who work and 'live' in games generate a different kind of fiction that is itself a new subculture of art.