This issue of the American Journal of Play goes to press amid a global pandemic that has changed the ways in which many of us and our families and friends play. It is fitting then that we take this opportunity to acknowledge play’s critical role in challenging times and to thank our subscribers, readers, and authors for their continued support.
An interview with the distinguished sociologist T. L.Taylor opens the issue. She discusses various kinds of digital and online play, including her foundational work tracing the rise of massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs), esports, and game live streaming. In an article adapted from Thomas S. Henricks’s new book Play: A Basic Pathway to the Self (published by The Strong in 2020), he examines the history of play studies and the thinkers, philosophers, scholars, and practitioners who led to the creation of the discipline. Alejandra Wah draws on evolutionary theory to explore which cognitive processes underlie the capacities to play and to pretend play in human and nonhuman animals. Garry Chick, René Proyer, Andrew Purrington, and Careen Yarnal discuss being playful, having a good sense of humor, and being fun loving in relationship to assortative mating or the tendency of individuals to mate with phenotypically similar at rates greater than chance. Thomas Enemark Lundtofte closes the issue with a review of the research and scholarly literature about young children’s play with tablet computers.