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Modern improvisational theatre began in the classroom with the "theatre games" of Viola Spolin and Keith Johnstone in the 1950s.
Viola Spolin, who was one of the founders the famous comedy troupe Second City, insisted that her exercises were games, and that they involved role-playing as early as 1946.
The army began full-time role-playing simulations with soldiers using computers both within full scale training exercises and for training in numerous specific tasks under wartime conditions.
Historical re-enactment has been practiced by adults for millennia.
The ancient Romans, Han Chinese, and medieval Europeans all enjoyed occasionally organizing events in which everyone pretended to be from an earlier age, and entertainment appears to have been the primary purpose of these activities.
Herbert Kelman suggested that role-playing might be "the most promising source" of research methods alternative to methods using deception (Kelman 1965).
An online text-based role playing game is a role-playing game played online using a solely text-based interface.