Os jogos de dramatização são jogos em que os jogadores assumem o papel de personagens em um ambiente fictício. Jogos de dramatização vêm em vários tipos e categorias:Traditional table top RPGs (TFRPG)TFRPGs have their historical basis in miniature war gaming, with a standard example being Warhammer 40,000. The game advances by rolling a dice, using rulers, tokens or executing other similar actions.Collectible Strategy Game (CSG)CSG has a much broader context than that of a TFRPG due to the fact that it draws elements from both types of RPGs. A CSG is defined as "a setting and a system, but the setting resides in the background, while the system is integrally tied to some of the collectible material artifacts". These types of games are played using special attributes which are associated with the particular collectible being used. You can place these collectibles in offensive or defensive positions, roll the dice to perform a specific action, etc.. Note that this type of RPG is typically associated with CCG or collectible card games (e.g. Magic: The Gathering).Online Video and Computer Games (OVCGs)OVCGs appeared around the 1970s. They are typically defined as RPGs that "require either a personal computer or gaming console in addition to gaming software, rather than source books, cards, or dice". OVCGs did not reach full maturity until the 1990s, when games played cooperatively via large networked servers were available. Current examples of these games include World of Warcraft (Blizzard), Rift (Trion Worlds), and Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare).
A primeira reflexão crítica organizada sobre jogos de interpretação de papéis e pesquisas acadêmicas sobre eles desde o início em meados da década de 1970 até a década de 1980 focou em examinar e refutar as primeiras controvérsias em torno do hobby na época. Indiscutivelmente, o primeiro exame do campo em termos clínicos veio com a publicação de fantasias compartilhadas: jogos de dramatização como mundos sociais de Gary Fine. Gary Gygax, co-originador do hobby com Dave Arneson, publicou dois livros sobre sua filosofia de interpretar papéis, dominar o domínio: dicas, táticas e estratégias em 1989 e mestre do jogo em 1990.
Em 1994-95, o Inter*ativo (mais tarde renomeado por ficção interativa) publicou uma revista dedicada ao estudo de RPGs. Na primeira edição, as leis de Robin pediram a criação de uma teoria crítica para jogos de interpretação de papéis. No final dos anos 90, a discussão sobre a natureza dos RPGs em rec.games.frp.dvocacy havia gerado várias teorias de RPGs que se espalharam para outros locais e influenciaram os teóricos na França e na Escandinávia. A cena da RPG escandinava viu vários campos ideológicos opostos sobre a natureza e a função dos RPGs emergirem e começaram a ter convenções regulares em jogos de interpretação de role de ação ao vivo, onde a teoria do RPG foi destaque, chamado Knutepunkt. O primeiro KnutePunkt foi realizado em Oslo em 1997 e a convenção anual ainda está sendo organizada hoje.
No século XXI, comunidades autônicas de "role-playing", como a Forge, cresceram na Internet, estudando role-playing e desenvolvendo a teoria do GNS dos jogos de interpretação de papéis. KnutePunkt continuou a crescer e uma coleção anual de artigos sobre interpretação de papéis foi publicada desde 2003. Muitos jogos, especialmente os de escritores independentes, agora estão escritos com uma consciência e incorporação da teoria do RPG.
Algumas teorias de RPG incluem:Threefold ModelDeveloped at rec.games.frp.advocacy from 1997 to 1998; proposed by Mary Kuhner, and FAQed by John Kim. It hypothesizes that any GM decision will be made for the purpose of game, drama, or simulation. Thus, player preferences, GMing styles, and even RPG rulesets can be characterised as Game-oriented, Drama-oriented or Simulation-oriented, or more usually as somewhere between the three extremes. This is sometimes called GDS theory. Strictly, GDS theory is concerned with players' social interactions, but it has been extrapolated to direct game design, both in and out of the world of RPGs. A game can be classified according to how strongly it encourages or facilitates players reinforcing behaviors matching each category. Game designers find it useful because it can be used to explain why players play certain games.GEN TheoryDeveloped at Gaming Outpost in 2001 largely by Scarlet Jester. It hypothesizes a top and bottom "tier" of play, with the top tier being dominated by "Intent" which is divided into Gamist, Explorative, and Narrative. It was influenced by threefold and GNS theory.The Big Model or Forge TheoryDeveloped at The Forge from 1999-2005 largely by Ron Edwards – It hypothesizes that roleplaying games are modeled by "The Big Model" with 4 levels: the social contract, exploration, techniques, and ephemera, with creative agendas governing the link from social contract to technique. In this theory there are 3 kinds of creative agenda, Gamist, Narrativist, and Simulationist agendas. It is detailed in the articles "GNS and Other Matter of Role Play Theory," "System Does Matter," "Narrativism: Story Now" "Gamism: Step on Up" and "Simulationism: The Right to Dream" by Ron Edwards, at the Forge's article page. The Big Model grew out of GNS Theory, a variant of the Threefold Model.Color TheoryDeveloped by Fabien Ninoles in 2002, was developed on the French createurs-jdr mailing list. It is an inheritor of SCARF theory and SCAR theory, which then interacted with English language theories. In this theory the goals of system design are thought of as the primary colors of TV light - Green for simplicity, Blue for realism, Red for consistency, with notions like adaptability, tenacity, brightness, and visibility being extensions of the metaphor.Channel TheoryDeveloped by Larry Hols in 2003; hypothesizes that game play is made up of "channels" of various kinds such as "narration," "moral tone" or "fidelity to setting." It developed in part as a criticism of the three style theories.Wunderkammer-Gesamtkunstwerk (Wu-Ge) ModelProposed by Lars Konzack of University of Copenhagen as a framework for analysis and design of RPGs, this model examines a role-playing game both as a composite whole (Gesamtkunstwerk) of four art forms: Sub-Creation (setting), Ludus (game system), Performance, and Narrative; and as a "cabinet of curiosities" (Wunderkammer), a metaphor for their capacity to smoothly incorporate any player-suggested concepts into their imaginary space.The Turku SchoolDeveloped in Turku, Finland, especially by Mike Pohjola from 1999 to the present. It advocates immersion ("eläytyminen") as the primary method of role-playing (especially live action role-playing), and artistic exploration as the primary goal. The Immersionist style is thought to be distinct from dramatist, gamist, and simulationist styles, and dramatism and gamism are thought to be clearly inferior styles of role-play, fit only for other mediums besides roleplaying.The Meilahti SchoolDeveloped in Helsinki, Finland, by Jaakko Stenros and Henri Hakkarainen from 2002 to the present. It defines role-playing in a way that encompasses many different forms, and shuns normative choices about what the right or best forms are. "A role-playing game is what is created in the interaction between players or between player(s) and gamemaster(s) within a specified diegetic framework."