In the Frame of the Magic Cycle: The Circle(s) of Gameplay
More than Smoke and Mirrors The simplest way to conceptualize the gaming activity is to see the game and the gamer as two separate entities meeting at a junction point, which is commonly referred to as “gameplay”. In popular game culture, this allinclusive term seems to belong more to the realm of magic than to the one of science. People will usually say that the gameplay of a particular game is what makes it “fun” without precisely detailing what it entails. But as we know, insofar as the notion of gameplay cannot be ignored, its nature is being scrutinized both in video game studies and professional game development communities. Like Daniel Cook states in “The Chemistry of Game Design”, it is necessary to move “beyond alchemy” and to “embrace the scientiﬁc process and start [to] build a science of game design”.1 Indeed, we have reached a point where it is possible and necessary to break the spell of gameplay in order to understand this elusive phenomenon, and to use proper terms and models to study it.