Former People Can Fly developers The Astronauts think that video games can create more emotionally-charged experiences by dropping "regular gameplay, with all its core combat loops, gameplay mechanics and other voodoo," according to a post on the team's website.
"Certain things worth remembering from certain video games are not what these video games are all about," the team wrote, citing the first ten minutes of Bioshock, the desert-wandering segment of Uncharted 3, and riding around listening to the radio in Grand Theft Auto as memorable "gameplay-less" moments.
The team believes players are so focused on overcoming a challenge, like killing attackers and winning racers, that they enter "savage beast's survival mode" and are incapable of becoming emotionally attached to what is happening on screen.
"If we understand gameplay as something that a challenge is a crucial part of, then none of these moments features any gameplay," they wrote. "You just walk, or swim, or ride a horse, but that's it. You cannot die. You don't make choices that have any long term consequences. No skill is involved."
The Astronauts conclude by citing Telltale Games' The Walking Dead series as a deeply emotional game that has dropped "regular gameplay" in favor of crafting an experience rather than a challenge.