Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life is an online course from the top-ranked University of Sheffield in the UK (there's a paid and free version of the course) which discusses Second Life for one of the courses, specifically citing this New World Notes classic in which early SL users recreated the 9/11 terrorism attack partly for cathartic reasons:
"Our 7-week online course, Exploring Play, explores the nature and value of play throughout the life course, across different cultures and communities," Sheffield's Chris Black tells me. "In Week 5 we examine the meaning of virtual play, and learn about the real-life value of the virtual world. A link to your blog plot appears in a discussion activity where we ask learners to consider if all activity in Second Life is strictly speaking 'play', providing a number of links that reflect the serious side of virtual life, and challenge learners to consider if they can categorize that material under theories of play they've encountered in the course."
Sounds interesting -- and a good topic of discussion here. So feel free to discuss!