Gameplay is the way players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the connection between player and the game, game rules, challenges and overcoming them, plot and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is how attracting the graphics and audio are to the player.
Along with the rise of video game development in the 1980s, the term gameplay was used only in the context of video games. Now its popularity has started to be used in the description of other, more traditional, game types. Generally, gameplay is about the general experience of playing a video game. It doesn't include other things like graphics and sound. Game mechanics, on the other hand, is the set of rules in a game that are supposed to make an enjoyable gaming experience. Academic discussions often use terms like game mechanics so they don't have to use gameplay. This is because "gameplay" is too general for academic discussions.
- Lindley, Craig (June 24–26, 2004). "Narrative, Game Play, and Alternative Time Structures for Virtual Environments". In Göbel, Stefan (ed.). Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment: Proceedings of TIDSE 2004. Darmstadt, Germany: Springer. pp. 183–194. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-27797-2_25. ISBN 978-3-540-22283-5.
.. gameplay gestalt, understood as a pattern of interaction with the game system." ("A gestalt may be understood as a configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts."); ".. In general, it[gameplay gestalt] is a particular way of thinking about the game state from the perspective of a player, together with a pattern of repetitive perceptual, cognitive, and motor operations. A particular gameplay gestalt could be unique to a person, a game, or even a playing occasion. Unique gameplay gestalts can also be identified across games, game genres, and players.
- Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-24045-1.
Game play is the formalized interaction that occurs when players follow the rules of a game and experience its system though play.
- Lindley, Craig; Nacke, Lennart; Sennersten, Charlotte (November 3–5, 2008). "Dissecting Play – Investigating the Cognitive and Emotional Motivations and Affects of Computer Gameplay". Proceedings of CGAMES 08. Wolverhampton, UK: University of Wolverhampton. ISBN 978-0-9549016-6-0.
The experience of gameplay is one of interacting with a game design in the performance of cognitive tasks, with a variety of emotions arising from or associated with different elements of motivation, task performance and completion
- Tavinor, Grant (October 5, 2009). The Art of Videogames. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-8788-6.
[T]he interactive involvement typically associated with videogames, that is, the activities that occur when one plays a videogame.
- Laramée, François Dominic (June 15, 2002). Game Design Perspectives. Charles River Media. ISBN 978-1-58450-090-2.
- Egenfeldt-Nielson, Simon; Smith, Jonas Heide; Tosca, Susana Pajares (February 19, 2008). Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-97721-0.
In line with the common use of the term, we will define gameplay as: the game dynamics emerging from the interplay between rules and game geography.
- Adams, Ernest; Rollings, Andrew (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59273-001-8.
One or more casually linked series of challenges in a simulated environment"; "Gameplay is the result of a large number of contributing elements. .. gameplay is not a singular entity. It is a combination of many elements, a synergy that emerges from the inclusion of certain factors. .. The gameplay emerges from the interaction among these elements, ..
- Adams, Ernest; Rollings, Andrew (September 23, 2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-168747-9.
.. defined gameplay as consisting of the challenges and actions that a game offers: challenges for the player to overcome and actions that let her overcome them. .. [T]he essence of gameplay remains the relationship between the challenges and the actions available to surmount them.
- Soanes, Catherine; Stevenson, Angus (August 11, 2008). Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11, Revised ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-954841-5.
gameplay (in a computer game) the plot and the way the game is played, as distinct from the graphics and sound effects
- Oxland, Kevin (2004). Gameplay and design. Addison Wesley. ISBN 978-0-321-20467-7.
.. gameplay is the components that make up a rewarding, absorbing, challenging experience that compels player to return for more .. [Gameplay] does not come from a great visual character, not does it come from state-of-art technology and beautifully rendered art.
- Kierkegaard, Alex (2012). Videogame Culture: Volume 1.
- Desurvire, H., Caplan, M., & Toth, J. A. (2004). Using heuristics to evaluate the playability of games. CHI '04 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, Vienna, Austria. doi:10.1145/985921.986102
- Fabricatore, C., Nussbaum, M., & Rosas, R. (2002). Playability in video games: a qualitative design model. Human-Computer Interaction, 17(4), 311-368. doi:10.1207/S15327051HCI1704_1
- Jegers, K. (2008). Investigating the Applicability of Usability and Playability Heuristics for Evaluation of Pervasive Games. Internet and Web Applications and Services, 2008. ICIW '08.
- Korhonen, H., & Koivisto, E. M. I. (2006). Playability heuristics for mobile games. In Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Human-Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Helsinki, Finland, September 12–15, 2006). MobileHCI '06, vol. 159. ACM, New York, NY, 9-16. doi: 10.1145/1152215.1152218
- Korhonen H., Koivisto E.M.I. (2007). Playability Heuristics for Mobile Multi-player Games. In proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Digital Interactive Media in Entertainment and Arts, DIMEA 2007, ACM Press (2007), pp. 28–35. Perth, Australia. doi: 10.1145/1306813.1306828
- Nacke, L. (2009). From Playability to a Hierarchical Game Usability Model. In Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Future Play on @ GDC Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 12–13, 2009). FuturePlay '09. ACM, New York, NY, 11-12. doi: 10.1145/1639601.1639609
- Nacke, L. E., Drachen, A., Kuikkaniemi, K., Niesenhaus, J., Korhonen, H. J., Hoogen, W. M. v. d., et al. (2009). Playability and Player Experience Research. Proceedings of DiGRA 2009: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory, London, UK. (online slides)
- Järvinen, A., Heliö, S. and Mäyrä, F. Communication and Community in Digital Entertainment Services. Prestudy Research Report, Hypermedia Laboratory, University of Tampere, Tampere, 2002.