Gameplay and playability

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Wikipedia defines "game play" or gameplay “as the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it.” Gameplay, retrieved oct 3 2012.

Alessi and Trollip (2001) define seven critical factors that make and artifact a game:

  • Goals, i.e. the end towards the player strives. Note: "goals" refers to game goal and not learning goal. The relationship between both should be of course be clarified and strengthened.
  • Rules define actions, i.e. possibilities and constraints.
  • Competition
  • Challenge which is adjusted to the current skill level
  • Fantasy, i.e. immersion in some kind of imaginary or real world
  • Safety
  • Entertainment

Good game play increases so-called playability, that wikipedia defines as “a term in video gaming jargon that is used to describe the ease by which the game can be played, or the quantity or duration that a game can be played, in other words, the quality of gameplay.”

Gameplay and playability are part of the more complex "player experience", i.e. the user experience with a game which can be broken down to: usable, desirable (motivating), valuable (players will achieve something), etc.

According to the [Serious Games in Defence Education] report, Prensky (2001) identifies the following major ingredients.

  1. Rules,
  2. Conflict/competition/challenge/opposition,
  3. Goals and objectives,
  4. Interaction,
  5. Outcomes and feedback,
  6. Representation or story,


Wikipedia entries of interest