It's easy to understand why role-playing games have become so immensely popular among contemporary gamers. By their very nature, these games are intensely immersive activities, with players experiencing various risks, rewards and social interactions all within the relatively consequence-free space of the game. This analytical study takes a deeper look at the world of role-playing games, providing a theoretical framework for understanding their more acute psychological and sociological functions. Although mainstream media channels often dismiss involvement in role-playing games as escapist and potentially dangerous, role-playing actually encourages creativity, self-awareness, group cohesion and ""out-of-the-box"" thinking--all valuable cognitive and social skills that remain useful in the real world. The study also offers a detailed participant-observer ethnography on role-playing games, featuring insightful interviews with 19 participants of table-top, live action and virtual role-playing games.
Sarah Lynne Bowman currently works as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, Richland College, Ashford University, and Brookhaven College. Her current focus in her scholarly work emphasizes character development and social dynamics in role-playing games