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The word "gameplay"
Kesha Offline
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Post: #1
The word "gameplay"
http://insomnia.ac/commentary/gameplay/ (language warning)

Here's an article I read a few years ago on the term "gameplay" and why it's not a very effective term and I always think of it whenever I end up reading it or using it myself... it's a hard word to shake with it being so prevalent in the gaming world but I think a lot of the criticism here is spot on.
10-26-2011 09:11 AM
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Guinea Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The word "gameplay"
Very interesting article, made me think.
I guess from now on I will also think of this article when I use the word, and evaluate if it's really the right word to use in the situation.

EDIT:
On second thought, I'm not so sure if "gameplay" is really such a bad and unnecessary word. The way I define it gameplay is the part of the game where you actually play. A game has by now become a form of media which can have mediocre gameplay and still be a good game, because it has a great story, looks amazing and introduces a player to a really cool world and characters or something.

As long as there is not a different word for "the part where you actually play", I think it's not wrong to use the word gameplay.

About his point with the criticism:
Of course you can't say "the gameplay is bad" and expect someone to know what exactly is wrong with the game. But you could just as well tell an author "your book is bad" if you're his boss and not tell him what exactly it is, yet you can still use the word "book".

The article still lets me think and be more precise where necessary, however there is a part of a video game that is at least amongst gamers accepted as gameplay.

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(This post was last modified: 10-26-2011 04:29 PM by Guinea.)
10-26-2011 03:49 PM
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sylvanelite Offline
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Post: #3
RE: The word "gameplay"
Reading a book is not interactive.
Listening to a record is not interactive.
Watching a movie is not interactive.

Games are interactive, it takes effort to clear a game. There is a chance of failure. There are rewards for completing problems.

"bookread" has only one outcome: success. It's not variable, so why it analogous to gameplay?
10-28-2011 07:49 AM
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Jalopes Offline
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Posts: 30
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Post: #4
RE: The word "gameplay"
Gameplay is an ugly word, but I think when most people say it they're thinking of mechanics, control, level design, etc (like the article said). If you want to go back to the book/record/movie example, I guess we could say -

The book is well written
This record has great clarity
This movie has fantastic cinematography

etc

in each case the point is that it's only assessing one part of the whole, but a very significant part - a game with bad mechanics will very likely be a bad game, a movie with bad cinematography is probably a bad movie, etc

I don't think anything's wrong with the word itself, but it depends on how people are interpreting it I guess.
10-28-2011 03:36 PM
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Wiiboy4ever Offline
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Post: #5
RE: The word "gameplay"
This article make me sad coz I say gameplay all time and think it's logical. :(

Also it's weird since firefox spell checks "gameplay" which lead me to think it's not a word. I've always thought it was and now I feel kind of stupid.
10-28-2011 07:12 PM
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onpon4 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: The word "gameplay"
I'm just going to be rude and say the guy who wrote this article was being stupid.

Gameplay is the way a game is played. This person tries to claim it's like saying "bookread" or "moviewatch", but it's not even close. There's only 1 way you can watch a movie, 1 way you can read a book, 1 way you can listen to a song. But games can be played in an almost unlimited amount of ways as decided by the game developers. Sure, the term is broad, including physics, controls, level design, and some others, but there's nothing wrong with using a broad term, necessarily. What "gameplay" doesn't include is graphics, story, sound, interface, presentation, performance, and probably a few other things I can't think of right now. You can easily have a bad game with good gameplay (imagine the most ugly graphics, the most confusing interface, the most annoying sounds, the worst story, the worst presentation, and the worst performance you've ever seen tied with amazing level design, perfect controls, and perfect physics; this game has good gameplay, but not very many people would say it's a good game).
(This post was last modified: 10-30-2011 12:17 AM by onpon4.)
10-30-2011 12:16 AM
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Myke Offline
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Post: #7
RE: The word "gameplay"
(10-30-2011 12:16 AM)onpon4 Wrote:  Sure, the term is broad, including physics, controls, level design, and some others, but there's nothing wrong with using a broad term, necessarily. What "gameplay" doesn't include is graphics, story, sound, interface, presentation, performance, and probably a few other things I can't think of right now. You can easily have a bad game with good gameplay (imagine the most ugly graphics, the most confusing interface, the most annoying sounds, the worst story, the worst presentation, and the worst performance you've ever seen tied with amazing level design, perfect controls, and perfect physics; this game has good gameplay, but not very many people would say it's a good game).

are you keylogging me? You took the words right out of my notepad.
11-01-2011 08:03 AM
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NintendoForums Offline
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Posts: 3
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Post: #8
RE: The word "gameplay"
It's simply convention, and gaming magazines have been using that word for at least a couple of decades now. Everyone knows what it means. Not sure what Japanese gaming media calls it though. :P
01-16-2013 02:09 AM
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KiddoCabbusses Offline
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Post: #9
RE: The word "gameplay"
(10-30-2011 12:16 AM)onpon4 Wrote:  ... What "gameplay" doesn't include is... performance...

If I understand what you're referring to here...

While theoretically and ideally performance wouldn't affect gameplay, real-world examples basically show otherwise. Frame rate cuts/slowdown, netplay lag, PAL over NTSC, input lag, the ability of the game to recognize button inputs, inaccurate emulation, and various other factors can make a gameplay experience drastically different from person to person, or from port to port.

Some would also argue the same about interface, especially in light of the Nintendo Wii.

There's at least a few examples off the top of my head where otherwise-similar games have their gameplay heavily affected by performance issues. Ever try playing Sonic Heroes or Shadow the Hedgehog on PS2 compared to XBox or GC and found the halved framerate made everything feel really wonky and screwy? Then try that again in PAL regions, where Sonic Adventure's homing attack barely worked as intended because the lazy switch to PAL rendered the code for it more or less unreliable. Or, how about Ikaruga for Gamecube, which was actually made more difficult than the Dreamcast version not by any actual level or enemy changes, but simply by -reducing- the slowdown?

This of course begs the issue of whether "gameplay" is merely in the game's code, or the sum of the game's playablility.
01-17-2013 11:51 AM
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onpon4 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: The word "gameplay"
Well, when I mentioned "performance" I didn't mean that the game running like molasses doesn't affect the gameplay. What I meant was more along the lines of: if the game is more bloated, it won't run properly on as many machines. This is usually only an issue for computer games, since players will be using a variety of machines.
01-18-2013 01:58 PM
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