Latest Issue of the American Journal of Play
Explores Play in the Age of Information
Now Accessible Free Online at journalofplay.org.
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 Physical Environment for Play Therapy with Chinese Children,” by Yih-Jiun Shen, Slyvia Z. Ramirez, Peter L. Kranz, Xinhua Tao, and Yuanhong Ji.
“Developing a Dramatic Pretend Play Game Intervention” by Thalia R. Goldstein.
The American Journal of Play, an interdisciplinary scholarly journal devoted solely to the study of play, is published by The Strong in Rochester, New York.
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