Gameplay is all in the mind of the player. Whatever makes them feel in control and entertained in the game with an outcome could be considered as gameplay. There is a huge change in gameplay from the past 10 years. Qualities such as the complexity of the game and more controls of it are changing. You have Tetris, an addictive game that was played just using the arrow keys, there are PC games that use almost every key on the keyboard for the functions and then you have console games that use gamepads. They all have different controls for gameplay, but at the end of the day, it is the gamers’ choice as to what type of gameplay suits them. Personally, I prefer gamepad console games, simply because they are specifically designed for gameplay and provide more enjoyment from the game.
I remember when I first started playing fast paced games; I had a tendency to move with the gamepad during gameplay thinking it may help me to beat my opponent, but of course, it didn’t.
Companies are forming new ways to make the whole gameplay experience as realistic as possible. Take the Nintendo Wii, for example, their console has transformed gaming with the controller to give the player an opportunity for a new type of gameplay. Wii games such as ‘Red Steel’ and ‘Ghost Squad’ are first-person games that allow players to submerge themselves in the game. Gamers play as though they themselves are in the game experiencing the events firsthand which creates realism that most gamers crave. In ‘Quantum of Solace’ multiplayer, the first hand players’ aim is to eliminate each other. The first hand experience means that the gamers do not see the whole character until either player is dead.
Gameplay is important depending on the type of game being released. Games that concentrate on the gameplay more than any other aspect such as Wii games wouldn’t create a huge fuss about graphics being absolutely perfect with a high poly count.
I don’t think there are a definable set of rules for gameplay, because if there was, every game would be more or less the same.