“Sometimes I Like Killing as a Treat”: Children’s Transgressive Play in Minecraft

Mavoa Jane Gibbs Martin Nansen Bjorn
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Children’s play in digital spaces is often discussed in popular discourse and in academia in terms of what kind of effect it may be having on children. One area of concern is the relationship between ‘violent videogames’ and real-world violence. However, little is known about how children actually play in digitally mediated play spaces including Minecraft which offers sandbox style free-play and does not necessarily involve any prescribed violence. We have collected recordings of 6-8-year-old children’s leisure time Minecraft play and used a taxonomic system of play types to describe the range of play observed. Some observed play did not fit neatly into any of the play types. In this paper we describe one such instance of play which involved unprovoked violence and draw on a range of literature in the process of conceptualizing this play as Transgressive. This paper provides much needed knowledge of children’s Minecraft play as it occurs in situ.


Postdigital Play and the Aesthetics of Recruitment

Jayemanne Darshana Nansen Bjorn Apperley Thomas H.
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

This paper analyses reconfigurations of play in newly emergent material and digital configurations of game design. It extends recent work examining dimensions of hybridity in playful products by turning attention to interfaces, practices and spaces, rather than devices. We argue that the concept of hybrid play relies on predefining clear and distinct entities that then enter into hybrid situations. Drawing on concepts of the ‘interface’ and ‘postdigital’, we argue the distribution of computing devices creates difficulties for such presuppositions. Instead, we propose an ‘aesthetic of recruitment’ that is adequate to the new openness of social and technical play.