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November 2005[edit]

Hmmm, this is lacking something. Seems to me that the key thing about "gameplay" in the video game world is that it is something which is subjective, yet can be rated: ie Poor -> Excellent. A review of game is likely to refer to "satisfying gameplay" - it's not the detail of how the game works (the mechanics), or the performance (frames/second, colour depth etc) but the overall effect. It's not easy to put a number on, or describe - or to produce.

Someone like to try to put this sort of thing into the article? Snori 05:00, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

From a player perspective, gameplay is primarily subjective when considered in the context of rating; however, in game development, gameplay is an entirely different animal. There are several usages of the term. The term gameplay as used by game developers is inherently technical. Adraeus 14:40, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Sorry but the current definition of gameplay seems to be a POV. There are no references, and the article appears to make many assumptions.Dndn1011 13:35, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Two different contexts?[edit]

Seems to me that this article suffers because there's two different contexts in which the term is (apparantly) used.

One is something like "formal game theory", and the other is "evaluationg/reviewing computer games". Even if there's an area of overlap, I think it would be useful to split the article along these lines. Snori 19:21, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

What is it?[edit]

The article lacks:

  • a constructive definition of "gameplay",
  • examples,
  • an explanation why there are no references,
  • pending the addition of defining references, at least some references that show that the notion is in daily use, as a justification for the article.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, April 7, 2007

Constructive definition of "gameplay"[edit]

On one hand, the first sentence says "all player experiences during the interaction". This definition is too broad, it appears synonymous to "playing". In particular, this definition covers superficial aspects such as graphics and sound, which are definitely not included in gameplay. Such a definition should be moved to a separate section which deals with extreme points of view.

On the other hand, the article suggestively states that

current academic discussions tend to favor more practical terms such as "game mechanics".

In my opinion, the notion of "game mechanics" is defined better than that of "gameplay", but is not synonymous with it.

So, the current, implicit definition in the current article is: "Gameplay is the name for those game aspects that are less immediate (less superficial) than graphics, sound, or immediate controls, and more immediate (more concrete, less deep) than the storyline." This is a definition by exclusion. But what is it that is left between surface and depth? There definitely is something, but it is hard to describe indeed.

Attempted definition A: Gameplay covers the in-game means available and used by the player to achieve the game goals.


  • In a beat-em-up, the attack and defense moves are part of the gameplay.
  • In a flight simulation, the way that a plane reacts to the control input

The aspects involved in gameplay may differ between different genres.

Attempted definition B: Gameplay covers the player experience beyond the superficial. How does it feel to be there? What can you do there? How can you do it? How does it feel to do it?

To be continued... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, April 7, 2007


A related and sometimes synonymous term is "playability" (how playable a game is). Various sources (as well as existing computer game related articles on the Wikipedia) already use the term to mean more or less the same as "gameplay" in the practical sense. Maybe it could be mentioned in the article, and perhaps in searches it could redirect here, or have its disambiguation page that links here, as I've noted the word is also used sometimes for musical instruments (the ease or comfort with which they can be used). - Who is like God? 05:30, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Rename Gameplay to Game Play[edit]

Gameplay is a neologoism and shouldn't be on wikipedia. I looked in the OED and Gameplay wasn't even there! I suggest, therefore, that we change Gameplay to Game play for this article and all articles that mention game play. Thanks. Ask D.N.A.- Peter Napkin (talk) 21:18, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I really don't understand where all this fascination with the OED comes from. 52,600,000 Google results for "gameplay", including 4,510 results from Google Scholar, and you want to remove and ignore the universally accepted term because a manually updated dictionary somehow failed to include it into its modest quarterly update? The OED ratified the words "ecopolitics" and "retrovirus" less than two months ago, and the terms have been around since 1944 and 1974, for crying out loud! "Gameplay" is a valid and, again, almost universally accepted term in video game terminology, and the fact that the OED cannot possibly keep up the pace with modern language developments should be seriously considered in a case when a term gets more mentioning on the Web than "Hitler" or "intellect", "neuron", and "randomness" combined. I think we should save the neologism argument on actual neologisms like "e-upmanship", "bromance", "tumblelog" or "lolcat". Rankiri (talk) 17:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
"Gameplay" is in the New Oxford American Dictionary. Bubba73 (talk), 00:56, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
It's about time too. The use of the word gameplay is so widespread that denying it's an actual word is completely counterproductive. But shouldn't this go into the Wiktionary? (talk) 13:43, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't offer argument for or against this issue, but for someone looking for a source on the criticism of "Gameplay" as a word, you find it in The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell. If someone could put that in the "Despite criticism" for [citation needed], that would be dandy —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


No! Definitely two different concepts.--ArkinAardvark (talk) 00:20, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The article on playability will not survive on its own. It has 1 weak reference for defining term "playability". It is linked to by 1!! page. Merge is the definite way to go, otherwise it may as well be flagged for AfD. Such merge is irrelevant to whether these are or are not separate concepts. If gameplay article was 1 sentence short, it would be merged into video game. And if video game was 1 sentences short it would be merged into game. Being separate concepts does not warrant splitting articles if that does not improve content.  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  01:36, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Defining gameplay... again[edit]

The lead needs a description that will not disintegrate when editors challenge it. The most appropriate description, in my opinion, would be in this starting form:

Gameplay is blah,[1][2][3] blah,[1][3][5] blah,[2][4] and blah[1][3][4]. Gameplay may also refer to blah,[2][5] and blah[1][4].

where "blah" represents statements, such as, "user interaction with the game" or "excludes graphics". Note that first sentence says "is" and deals with concepts that are not denied (alas, may not be mentioned) in each of the notable sources. The second sentence says "may" and deals with elements that may be specifically excluded by other sources.

It is important that more than one notable source supports each of these elements. While this description may not be true or 100% accurate, we are concerned with verifiability and not accuracy. The sources must also explicitly state that they are defining the term "gameplay". Other notable sources that fail to explicitly define the term can be brought up in "Ambiguity of definition" section. Individual elements can then be in detail addressed in the main body of the article.

My hope is that, when enough sources are gathered, the lead will adhere to guidelines (most notably, WP:UNDUE and WP:SYN), provide clear summary of what is and is sometimes accepted by notable sources, and will not be easily criticizable. H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  23:45, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Definitions by sources[edit]

  • [A] Formal definition by author: "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 (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders Publishing. ISBN 1592730019. 
  • [B] "gameplay (in a computer game) the plot and the way the game is played, as distinct from the graphics and sound effects"
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11, Revised ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. August 11, 2008. ISBN 978-0199548415. 
I am not understand this, or does OED say "gameplay is the plot"?  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  17:09, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I think it simply means that the story is a part of the interaction. E.g., see [1]Rankiri (talk) 17:27, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, it says "gameplay is the plot and blah blah..". That is the only thing we can work with. What it actually means is irrelevant; that is an implication and thus original research.  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  17:36, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
  • [C] "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."
Lindley, Craig; Sennersten, Charlotte (November 3–5, 2008). "Dissecting Play – Investigating the Cognitive and Emotional Motivations and Affects of Computer Gameplay" (PDF). Wolverhampton, UK: University of Wolverhampton. ISBN 978-0-9549016-6-0.  |first2= missing |last2= in Authors list (help)
  • [D] "I believe gameplay is the components that make up a rewarding, absorbing, challenging experience that compels player to return for more .." Also, exclusion: "Can it[gameplay] be the tension from Attic Attack? The rip-roaring scream of Daytona, the kill thrill of Quake or perhaps it's the entrancing escapade of Dungeon Siege? Some believe you have to create a symbolic character like Lara Croft or Mario for great gameplay to exists. Others believe that if you lack state-of-art technology, awesome graphics and high-level AI, your game will end up in bargain bucket in record time. ¶ All of those things are very important elements of computer and video games, but it is simply not true that they are the nutritive components of gameplay. It does not come from a great visual character, not does it come from state-of-art technology and beautifully rendered art."
Oxland, Kevin (2004). Gameplay and design. Addison Wesley. ISBN 0321204670. 
  • [E] ".. 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."
Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment: Second International Conference, TIDSE 2004, Darmstadt, Germany, June 24-26, 2004, Proceedings. Springer. August 5, 2004. ISBN 978-3540222835. 
  • [F] "[T]he way that a computer game is designed and the skills that you need to play it"
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.
  • [G] "The term "gameplay" is often used but rarely defined. As commonly employed it refers to the game dynamics, or more simply, "how it feels to play a game" . . . [G]ameplay is usually considered a consequence of the game's rules rather than its representation."; "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."
Egenfeldt-Nielson, Simon; Smith, Jonas Heide; Tosca, Susana Pajares (February 19, 2008). Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415977210. 
Here the source acts as a third source; it does not attempt definition, rather loosely bases its opinions on other sources.
  • [H] "Chapter 1 . . . 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."
See [2]. — Rankiri (talk) 15:32, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Adams, Ernest (September 23, 2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0131687479. 
  • [I] "Gameplay, while seldom thought of in this manner, is the delivery medium for the game and its world—it is the link between the player and the game (and its story)."
Laramée, François Dominic (June 15, 2002). Game Design Perspectives. Charles River Media. ISBN 978-1584500902. 
  • [J] "[T]he interactive involvement typically associated with videogames, that is, the activities that occur when one plays a videogame."
Tavinor, Grant (October 5, 2009). The Art of Videogames. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405187886. 
  • [K] "Game play is the formalized interaction that occurs when players follow the rules of a game and experience its system though play."
Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (2004). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-24045-1. 

Grouping elements[edit]

Crystal Project success.png Interaction with game
interaction with game [C]
interaction pattern with game [E]
interaction with game [J]
interaction with game [K]
Crystal Project tick yellow.png Challenges
linked series of challenges [A]
actions to overcome challenges [H]
Crystal Project tick yellow.png Player–game connection
connection between player and game [I]
Crystal Project success.png Distinct from graphics
distinct from graphics [B]
distinct from quality graphics [D]
Crystal Project success.png Distinct from graphics
distinct from sound effects [B]
Crystal Project tick yellow.png Plot
plot [B]
connection between player and story [I]
Crystal Project tick yellow.png Rules
interaction between rules and world [G]
following rules [K]
the way the game is played [B]
subjective interpretation of interactions with game [E]
consists of many elements [A]
interaction of many elements [A]
stimulates emotions from interaction [C]
consists of components of user experience [D]
distinct from state-of-art technology [D]
distinct from character design [D]
the way game is designed [F]
skills required to play game [F]
experience of game [K]


So far...

Gameplay is interaction with a video game[C][E][J][K] through its rules[G][K], connection between player and the game,[I] challenges[A] and overcoming them[H], plot[B] and player's connection with it[I]. Gameplay is distinct from graphics[B][D], audio elements[B].

Note that I deliberately omitted "and" in first sentence, as that would be WP:SYNTH. This is merely grouping sources that have explicitly said (not implied) the same thing.  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  17:17, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

  • What about connection between player and story[B][I] and distinctiveness from audio elements[B][G]? — Rankiri (talk) 17:59, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
There really needs to be >1 source per statement, otherwise every one of those statements must go in to avoid giving undue weight. I put single source statements striked out for now; and linked statements in italics. What we need is more sources.
The problem is: A says "gameplay is plot" and I says "connection between player and plot". A never said anything about player—we cannot quote it on fact that includes player. Similarly, I never said gameplay can exists without connection with player, so we cannot quote it on fact without player. Even if what they imply is soo painstakingly obvious, any fact beyond explicitly stated ones—is OR.  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  18:22, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Well, I added this into the lead; let's see how long it lasts.  H3llkn0wz  ▎talk  14:37, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Another note: Don't associate "gameplay" to "video games" by definition. While it is true that most games for which this word is intended depends on video output, this is not essential to gameplay as such. There are soundbased games, and haptic element might just as well be important to gameplay. A text based games can be read by reader for the blind. If everyone were blind, would there be no such thing as gameplay? It is better to use the word "computer games", which is more general and captures the core of gameplay better, which is play-experiences designed and delivered by computing power. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

You are right on not associating "gameplay" to "video games" per se. But computer game is a subset of video game which is a subset of game. It would be less valid to associate gameplay to computer games than to video games. —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 20:13, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Dealing with ambiguity[edit]

  • More on the lack of clarity and lack of consensus on the exact definition of the term: [3], [4], [5]Rankiri (talk) 15:32, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Playability merge[edit]

I'm planning on merging playability into this article, any objections? --Necrojesta (talk) 15:19, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Should have happened a long time ago. I support.  Hellknowz  ▎talk  16:38, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to start, okay. If someone objects they need to understand that it isn't a notable article on it's own. Should I archive the talk page? --Necrojesta (talk) 18:25, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Edit: no need, nothing there, sorry; starting the merge. --Necrojesta (talk) 18:27, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I think it's better a new section for playabiliuty, there is a lot of work in this field, for example, now there is more info about playability, more than gameplay Playability represent the quality in use of a videogame, represent the degree of the player experience. Gameplay is only a part of this player experience: graphics, imputs, challenges, goals, rewards bosses and so on have a lot of inflence in playability, not only gameplay. In Interactive Systems -> Usability -> User Experience -> Quality in Use In Game systems -> Playability -> Playaer Experience -> Quality in Use --Joseluisgonsan (talk) 09:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Not exactly child's play, huh?[edit]

The subject of games is no easier than many other questions in human psychology and sociology. Maybe you should take the subject seriously and consult an expert or two. I wonder if we have any experts in classical and modern narrative, or perhaps classical and modern mythology, lying round, not getting paid? P;D

In the meanwhile, take a look at these pages, and see if they don't help a little.

Kriegsspiel (wargame)
The Interpretation of Dreams
Lucid dream
Play (activity)
Play (theatre)
Aesthetic interpretation
Allegorical interpretation
Television Tropes

You could also try reading some of my own material at my eponymous Wiki. You could do worse, look at the childish crap on the gender pages here at WP. --TheLastWordSword (talk) 22:48, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Merge Gameplay definition and Gameplay Types[edit]

These sections are by their nature referencing an ambiguous topic, but rather than referencing that aspect in the article itself, the article should be expansive. This page needs to differentiate between game elements and game categories. For instance, the "gameplay types" section as it is now contrasts co-op and deathmatch modes. But then it goes on to classify another "type" called "twitch" gaming, which includes first person shooters, games that employ these modes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LordNelsonsTrousers (talkcontribs) 02:07, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

The following hierarchy might be a simpler solution:

  1. Game Genre (and other groups such as reaction-time "twitch" games)
  2. Game Mode (if applicable)
  3. Game Mechanics
  4. Game Aesthetics
  5. Gaming Style
  6. Miscellaneous

In "Gaming Style" one could address human-game interaction, such as whether there is a pro-gaming scene, the popularity of mods, etc.

Other would be I suppose anything else unique to the game in question.

Historical Usage[edit]

"Gameplay" has always been separate and distinct from the over-all experience of a game, and from the game's other qualities such as graphics or sound. Check any review site going back to the 90's. You can argue with me about the subjectivity of my statement, but it seems to me that anyone who refers to an entire game's experience as "gameplay" is fairly new to the hobby. 2600:1009:B010:2E9F:871:5366:925D:7D0F (talk) 07:09, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Skill & Risk[edit]

IMO the article fails to acknowledge two fundamental aspects of Gameplay.

Nearly all forms of gameplay have two core concepts:

1) Correctly judging distance during risk of failure or death: The players skill in determining the distance between pixels when facing death or failure. Examples:

  • In a FPS a player determines the distance between the target & their aiming reticle, then close the distance using the mouse to where the aiming reticle is over the target.
  • In a RPG a player determines the distance between the enemy humanoid and their avatar, then closes the distance by moving closer to the enemy.
  • In a platformer the player determines the distance between their avatar and the platform, then execute a jump that closes the distance properly as to not fall to their death.

2) Dealing with random chance: Also known as risk management. Examples:

  • Random number generation (RND) resulting from a dice roll.
  • Drawing a random card.
  • The game Blood Bowl requires the player minimize consequences resulting from bad dice rolls.
  • Elder Scrolls Legends (card game) requires player to assemble a proper card deck to maximize drawing the right cards at the right time.

On a side note, are consumers confusing with gameplay? Luzarius (talk) 05:56, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

This page is not a forum for discussing the topic. Wikipedia relies on reliable sources, not original research. If a reliable source specifically discusses this pair of concepts, bring it forth for discussion. Without such a source, this is original research, which Wikipedia doesn't publish. Grayfell (talk) 07:43, 8 April 2017 (UTC)