Where better to start but with a dictionary definition of gameplay?
Gameplay - not found
Game-play - not found
Game play - not found
Well that was a helpful start. In that case I will start with what I believe gameplay to be.
To me, gameplay is about the experience and enjoyment a player receives from a game. It may sound vague but everyone looks for different gameplay experiences. I personally hate getting my ass kicked and dying over and over again so the gameplay of online fps games doesn’t appeal to me at all.
However my friend may not like driving repeatedly in laps and so the gameplay of driving games wouldn’t appeal to him greatly.
The term gameplay may not be so easily defined as it’s too wide of a topic. There are many different styles and genres of games that appeal to the many personalities and lifestyles of the general public.
However gameplay is an important aspect, we may not know what it is but we know it’s important.
If gameplay can be defined as an overall gaming experience then surely that is an important aspect of all games, a good gaming experience means good sales, as more people will enjoy playing it.
But how do you compare the gaming experience of CoD4 to the gaming experience of Mario-kart or Final Fantasy?
One article I looked at even suggested that gameplay excludes graphics and sound but I think that’s absurd! Without graphics or sound you’re just staring at a blank screen and that isn’t very good gameplay at all!
I’ll admit that sometimes I play games muted or with my own music on but that’s because the in-game music is either repetitive, boring or just plain annoying, which would imply that it afects the overall gameplay as I am not enjoying an aspect of the game.
This blog is more ranty and more personal than my others but that is because I can’t really talk about other people’s gameplay experiences because the whole point of them is that they are personal experiences.
Which sadly brings us no closer to defining what exactly gameplay is. The wider definition could be that gameplay is the overall gaming experience that is achieved through all in-game aspects such as sound, style, handling, level design, characters etc. but the more personal definition of gameplay is how we experience and interpret the games as individuals.
Whether this is achieved through sheer coincidence or clever production planning, either way I can’t wait to find out for myself.