This research involves a group of children playing together during a club. As such, this work naturally draws upon work around play and the theories of play. Early on in his book ‘The Ambiguity of Play’ (2001), Brian Sutton Smith provides a (non-exhaustive) list of ‘activities that are often said to be play forms or play experiences’ (p. 4). What struck me about this list was how many of these examples have found their way into Minecraft Club over the preceding 19 weeks, either in the virtual or embodied space – or, often, across both. So while ‘vitual gameplay’ might suggest itself as a thing in itself, closer inspection reveals that it is a much more complex assemblage of multiple activities. The gamplay itself has temporal and spacial diversity (p. 6) in that it spans multiple weeks and places. Furthermore, whilst Minecraft itself is often an ‘agency for some kind of play’ (p. 6) it is not the only location or stimulus for play – drawing, as the children do, on a wide range of other influences.
[edit – I have noticed some additional examples that I accidentally neglected to highlight – most notably ‘reading and writing’ and ‘gardening’- but you get the idea!)