I was discussing English with a foreign student that told me that they had to use the after the word play every time.
As a native speaker I like playing piano, I like playing guitar sounds natural to me as does I like playing games.
Although the last example doesn't sound correct without being plural I like playing game, the first two examples sounds OK to me.
Other examples that come to mind:
- He had always wanted to play Othello
- He had always wanted to play piano
Speaking is different than writing so I normally wouldn't notice if these are grammatically correct if those were spoken without using the. They sound right to me, are those examples grammatically incorrect?