Volume 10, Number 3


by Miguel Sicart


The author proposes a rhetoric of computational play as a perspective for the analysis of the ludic in the Information Age. Combining concepts from the philosophy of information and postphenomenology with different theories of play, he argues that there is a play element shaping the cultural impact of computational media and that this kind of play is experienced as either sub-mission or resistance to the pleasures of computation. Both kind of experiences help develop new forms of understanding and create the cultures of the Information Age. Key words: computational media; digital play; philosophy of information; postphenomenology

by René T. Proyer, Kay Brauer, Annegret Wolf, and Garry Chick


Adult playfulness contributes to well-functioning romantic relationships, claim the authors, who study the association between playfulness of several kinds (other directed, lighthearted, intellectual, whimsical) and six specific attitudes towards love they call love styles—eros, ludus, storge, pragma, mania and agape. To do so, they engaged seventy-seven heterosexual couples to rate the love styles against a checklist for playful behaviors in romantic relation-ships the authors call the Playful Love Checklist (PLC). The authors then ana-lyzed the responses for similarities and robust associations, either negative or positive, between partners for their views on playfulness in love relationships. Their findings suggest, among other things, that current conceptualizations of playfulness do not much overlap with what other researchers have called the ludic lover, and the authors’ analysis of self-ratings and partner ratings contributes to our understanding of the association between playfulness and love styles. Key words: adult playfulness; love; love styles; ludus; playfulness; romantic relationships

by Thalia R. Goldstein


Children have a natural inclination to play and imagine themselves as char-acters. Research has supported theories that connect this pretend play and related theatrical play to the development of children’s social and emotional skills, but the author contends we need further, more rigorous research on whether such play directly relates to such positive outcomes. The author developed a cohesive pretend play intervention to conduct such research, using block play and story time as controls to distinguish what may be uniquely useful about pretense. She seeks to provide researchers and prac-titioners who work with children a model for creating guided-play activi-ties. She also discusses how to train play leaders and handle the issues that arise in the implementation of these pretend play interventions. Keywords: interventions, pretend play, sociodramatic play, theatrical play 

by Thomas E. Gorman, Douglas A. Gentile, and C. Shawn Green


As the popularity of video games has risen so too has the worry about the problems associated with playing them. The authors review the research concerning problem gaming, its similarity to some clinical addictions like gambling and drug and alcohol abuse, and current treatment options. They conclude that, regardless of how researchers and medical professionals assess the nature of a gaming disorder, few who play video games experience negative consequences from doing so and, at best, only a small subset of players might be considered to suffer from an addiction to it. Keywords: addiction; internet gaming disorder; problem gaming; video games  

by Yih-Jiun Shen, Sylvia Z. Ramirez, Peter L. Kranz, Xinhua Tao, and Yuanhong Ji


The growing interest in addressing the mental health needs of Chinese children through play therapy calls for an understanding of the cultural roots and norms of Chinese families. To help professionals succeed in this traditionally Western treatmen when providing cross-cultural play therapy, the authors make recommendations concerning the location and appearance of the play therapy facility, including its waiting room and playroom. They discuss the need for carefully introducing play therapy to Chinese parents and suggest Western and Chinese toys and play items that are therapeutically appropriate for Chinese children. The authors also propose an outdoor play area based on the therapeutic rationales of contemporary neuropsychology. With this culturally sensitive discussion, the authors seek more effective play therapy not only for the children living in Chinese societies—mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan—but also in countries with major Chinese child populations. Key words: outdoor play; physical settings for play; play and Chinese children; play and neuropsychology; play therapy; toys and Chinese children

Book Reviews

by Olga S. Jarrett

This weighty book (more than three informative pounds) contains forty chapters on different aspects of outdoor play for young children. The outgrowth of ten years of discussions among members of the Outdoor Play and Learning Special Interest Group of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association, this is a follow up to The Sage Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood (2014). The fifty-six early-childhood researchers who contributed to the book have written about twenty countries located in northern Europe (United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Austria, and Germany), the Mediterranean region (Greece and Turkey), Africa (Ethiopia and South Africa), Oceana (Australia and New Zealand), Asia (South Korea and Japan), and the Americas (Canada, United States, Chile, and Columbia). The book is organized into six parts, each with a different focus. Each part features six to seven chapters examining the topic and research from a variety of countries.

by Jan Rosenberg

Jeanne Pitre Soileau’s Yo’ Mama, Mary Mack, and Boudreaux and Thibodeaux: Louisiana Children’s Folklore and Play celebrates and an explores African American children’s expressive culture in South Louisiana. It also celebrates the author’s more than forty years of fieldwork with African American children and the persistence of child lore. And it explores genres gleaned from the author’s first-hand observations of African American children at play. The book covers “the last part of the 20th century and the first ten years of the 21st,” which “began with the era of integration in South Louisiana and ends with the age of computers and the Internet” (p. 3).

by Michelle Parnett-Dwyer

In a collection of essays called Doll Studies: The Many Meanings of Girls’ Toys and Play, Miriam Forman-Brunell and Jennifer Dawn Whitney offer a critical review of how play with dolls and the construction of dolls have affected imaginations, ideologies, and identities. The editors divided the book into five sections: “Objects, Narratives, Historical Memories”; “Performance and Identity”; “Mediating Contexts of Play”; “Modernism and Modernization”; and “Commodifying Multiculturalism, Nationalism, Racism, and Girlhood.” From discussions of material culture and memories of girlhood in Germany to doll discourses in Ireland, from Bratz dolls and diasporic Iranian girls in Australia to Nicki Minaj and Harajuku Barbie, Doll Studies illustrates the growing importance of an international and interdisciplinary approach to the study of these universal toys.

by Soraya Murray

Until recently, perusing just about any published history of video games might have given rise to the false impression that the industry is entirely driven by men. But such is not the case—it is only a matter of how games have largely been historicized. After all, historically speaking, video games are quite young. Most video game histories mark the beginning with William Higinbotham’s analog computer game Tennis for Two in 1958—although some dispute even this, since video games did not become popular until the 1970s. Anastasia Salter, in her illuminating biography of an understudied industry figure, Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, and Hidden Objects, offers the history of video games a much-needed intervention.

by Wendi Sierra

Audrey Anable provides a succinct overview of her book early in the introduction: “I make a case for why media theory is not finished with representation and sub-jectivity” (p. xi). Of course, as you might imagine, making that case is anything but simple. As Anable discovers, much of game studies as a field fetishizes mechanics and computation as the distinguishing feature of gaming (and therefore the most important aspect for analysis). There are also profound and troubling reactions from various members of the game-playing public when representation is discussed. This, she argues, has left game studies ill equipped to address how feeling and emotion impact and enhance game play, a deficiency she notes is not limited to game studies. In response, Anable presents affect, which she defines as “the aspects of emotions, feelings, and bodily engagement that circulate through  people and things but are often registered only at the interface—at the moment of transmission or contact—when affect gets called up into representation” (p. xviii). This definition provides an excellent outline of the main points she explores in her work. 

Douglas A. Gentile is Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University. He has authored articles on both the positive and negative effects of media on children. His books include Media Violence and Children and Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. C. Shawn Green is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an Associate Editor at the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. Green is the author of articles on the impact of modern technologies, and his work has also appeared in Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, Wired magazine, Scientific American, the New York Times, and National Public Radio (NPR). Thomas E. Gorman is a graduate student in psychology and cognitive science at the Uni-versity of Indiana. He has conducted and published several studies on the impact of new media on human behavior and on problem gaming. 

Thalia R. Goldstein is Assistant Professor of Applied Development Psychology and the director of the Social Skills, Imagination, and Theatre Laboratory at George Mason University. She has published works in such journals as Child Development, Trends in Cognitive Science, and Developmental Science. She is coauthor of the book Art for Art’s Sake.

René Proyer is a Professor of Psychological Assessment and Differential Psychology at the Department of Psychology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany. His interests include the study of playfulness as a personality trait and humor-related variables. He has published articles in such journals as Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, Journal of Research in Personality, Personality and Individual Differences, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Journal of Happiness Studies. Kay Brauer is a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of Psychology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. His work on adult playfulness has appeared in the Journal of Research in Personality and Personality and Individual Differences. Annegret Wolf is a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of Psychology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where she studies forensic psychology and adult playfulness. She has published in Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Personality Disorders, Journal of Personality and Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Garry Chick is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University. He has written widely  on play, leisure, and expressive culture, and his work appears  in such books and journals as the Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Sciences, the International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Anthropological Perspectives on Learning in Childhood, American Journal of Play, Sex Roles, Leisure Sciences, American Anthropologist, and Cross-Cultural Research

Yih-Jiun Shen is Professor in the Department of Counseling at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her work on cross-culturally related issues in play therapy, school counseling, and counselor education appears in the International Journal of Play Therapy, Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, and Professional School Counseling. Sylvia Z. Ramirez retired as Professor from the University of Texas-Pan American, and her work on fears and anxiety in individuals with intellectual disabilities and multicultural issues in education and psychology appears in the Journal of School Psychology, Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, and Behavioral Assessment. Peter Kranz is Professor in Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the author and coauthor of numerous publications that have appeared in such journals as Perception of Cultural Competence in Nurse Practitioners, Journal of Nursing and Health Science, and Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Xinhua Tao is Associate Professor of Psychology and the director of the student counseling center at Soochow University. His work appears in such journals as Advances in Psychological Science and Psychosocial Science. Yuanhong Ji is Professor of Graduate School of Human Science and the director of the Ritsumeikan Coun-seling Center at Ritsumeikan University. Her work appears in such journals as Japanese Bulletin of Arts Therapy, Journal of Japanese Clinical Psychology, and The Arts in Psychotherapy.