Gameplay is 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. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements.


Arising alongside video game development in the 1980s, the term gameplay was used solely within the context of video games, though now its popularity has begun to see use in the description of other, more traditional, game forms. Generally, gameplay is considered to be the overall experience of playing a video game excluding factors like graphics and sound. Game mechanics, on the other hand, is the sets of rules in a game that are intended to produce an enjoyable gaming experience. Academic discussions tend to favor terms like game mechanics specifically to avoid gameplay since the latter term is too vague.


There are three components to gameplay: "Manipulation rules", defining what the player can do in the game, "Goal Rules", defining the goal of the game, and "Metarules", defining how a game can be tuned or modified. In video games gameplay can be divided into several types. For example, cooperative gameplay involves two or more players playing on a team. Another example is twitch gameplay which is based around testing a player's reaction times and precision, maybe in rhythm games or first-person shooters. Various gameplay types are listed below.
The term gameplay can be quite ambiguous to define, thus it has been differently defined by different authors.
For instance:
Playability is the ease by which the game can be played or the quantity or duration that a game can be played and is a common measure of the quality of gameplay. Playability evaluative methods target games to improve design while player experience evaluative methods target players to improve gaming." This is not to be confused with the ability to control characters in multi-character games such as role playing games or fighting games, or factions in real-time strategy games.
Playability is defined as: a set of properties that describe the Player Experience using a specific game system whose main objective is to provide enjoyment and entertainment, by being credible and satisfying, when the player plays alone or in company. Playability is characterized by different attributes and properties to measure the video game player experience.
The playability analysis is a very complex process due to the different point of view to analyze the different part of video game architecture. Each facet allows us to identify the different playability's attributes and properties affected by the different elements of video game architecture. The playability's facets are:
Finally, the "global" playability of a video game will be deduced through each attribute value in the different playability's facets. It is crucial to improve the playability in the different facets to guarantee the best player experience when the player plays the video game.