Gameplay is what you make of it, it is not only the interaction with the console but the fact that you can control the fate of your character. Some would say that gameplay is the core characteristics of a game and would involve tutorials, high scores, saving progress etc. However it is not necessary to follow by these 'rules', in Electroplankton the staple elements of the videogame landscape are eliminated to let the player explore new means of gameplay.
Is gameplay important? I think of gameplay as the means of how you progress through a game, what challenges or activities you participate in to get that to that higher score or next level. Even if there isn't a point scheme as such, what is it that drives you to maintain an interest in the game and find it fun?
The Nintendo DS brought a new form of gameplay to the scene with the touch screen capabilities, which allowed the development of new genres of games. Nintendogs for example wouldn't have been as effective in convincing us that it the most realistic of virtual pets, with the ability to stroke it, bath it etc. in a way that feels like it is more than just a game.
See ya ~Emi ^o^