Did you know there is an American Journal of Play? Me neither. Anyway, apparently there’s a new theory published there that boils down to “play more!” And specifically, engage in free-form social play, non-competitive stuff, because (the theory says) it’s how hunter-gatherer societies tended to play.
Gray figures hunter-gatherer children in early human history developed into cooperative adults with the help of a type of play similar to that which once characterized American children’s summers and after-school hours in contemporary culture. This play is freely chosen, age-mixed, and, because it is not adult-organized, non-competitive, he explained. This “free play” is distinct from leisure pursuits such as video games, watching TV, or structured extracurricular activities and sports.
Of course, plenty of video games do in fact provide this style of play, though it can be drowned out by the constant emphasis on numerical achievements.