American Journal of Play Explores Play in the Age of Information
September 13, 2018
For Immediate Release
Latest Issue of the American Journal of Play
Explores Play in the Age of Information
ROCHESTER, NY—How has computation changed play? In the latest issue of the American Journal of Play, Miguel Sicart, associate professor at the Center for Computer Game Research at IT University Copenhagen, explores the relationship between computation and play in the Age of Information.
Sicart establishes that play describes the creation of worlds with other players and often with the aid of props such as games or toys. Play is not valuable for its utility, but rather for its own purposefulness. Sicart claims that computers too are valuable beyond their immediate utility. Sicart focuses on the concept of reontologization—the process of transforming information. Computers have fostered “a transition from analogue to digital data” and have, therefore, created a new world. Play is also reontologizing because it is appropriative, autotelic, and expressive. Play translates a situation, context, space, and time into the scene or instrument of play, has its own negotiated purpose, and is produced or performed with a personal touch. Just as computers have created a world in which we consume information differently, play creates a world in which we can express ourselves in a new way. Such similarities explain the merging of computation and play in the rise of video games.
Sicart frames his ideas with the stories told in the classic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Quixote creates and inhabits an imaginary world in permanent clash with the actual world. Sicart believes that to comprehend the complexity of play, we must understand Quixotean Play: play capable of engaging with and appropriating reality regardless of resistance. Recognizing play within this new context will allow us to understand play as a form of expression in the Age of Information.
Additional articles in Vol. 10, No. 3 of the American Journal of Play include:
“Problem Gaming: A Short Primer,” by Thomas E. Gorman, Douglas A. Gentile, and C. Shawn Green. The authors review the research concerning problem gaming, comparing it to clinical addictions such as gambling and drug abuse. They conclude that only a few who play video games suffer negative consequences from it, though, and that only a small subset may be considered addicted.
“The Physical Environment for Play Therapy with Chinese Children,” by Yih-Jiun Shen, Slyvia Z. Ramirez, Peter L. Kranz, Xinhua Tao, and Yuanhong Ji. The authors examine the role of play therapy in helping to address the mental health needs of Chinese children. They discuss the cultural roots and norms of Chinese families, arguing that play therapy ideas should be carefully introduced and in a culturally sensitive manner. They also provide recommendations about the appearance of outdoor play therapy facility locations in China.
“Developing a Dramatic Pretend Play Game Intervention” by Thalia R. Goldstein. The author examines the social and emotional benefits of pretend and theatrical play. She seeks to provide researchers and practitioners who work with children a model for creating guided-pretend play activities.
The complete issue of the American Journal of Play can be accessed freely online at www.journalofplay.org. Printed editions are also available for subscription and single-copy purchase.
About the American Journal of Play
The American Journal of Play is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary publication that serves as a forum for discussing the history, science, and culture of play. Published three times each year by The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, the Journal includes articles, interviews, and book reviews written for a broad readership that includes educators, psychologists, play therapists, sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists, historians, museum professionals, toy and game designers, policy makers, and others who consider play for a variety of reasons and from various perspectives.