“I first heard the term “gameplay” when I interviewed for a job at Atari in 1982. It was used by someone who had just played a new arcade game, Zaxxon, I think. “It has good gameplay.” Since then, the term has become ubiquitous in the fi eld. People talk about gameplay, as if it’s some magical, mystical thing that games need to possess. Game designers like to paint themselves as “someone who understand gameplay,” unlike all you coders and management types and artists. But actually, few do – because “gameplay” itself is a nebulous, and therefore pretty useless term. Saying “it has good gameplay” is about as useful as saying “that’s a good book.” Calling something “good” doesn’t help us understand what’s good about it, what pleasures it provides, and how to go about doing something else good.” – Greg Costikyan , “I Have No Words & I Must Design: Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games.” [PDF]
Steve Wilcox is an assistant professor in the Game Design & Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University where he researches & creates knowledge translation games. He is also the co-founder & former editor-in-chief of First Person Scholar.