The Gamification Lab

The medium of the video game influences every aspect of contemporary life, via metaphors, methods and attributes. The Gamification Lab investigates the aesthetic, ethical and political implications of gamification and works on innovative formats of ‘gamified’ apps, civic technology, and socially aware intervention with ludic methods.

Game technology, rule structures and interfaces are used by corporations to manage brand communities and to create value. The very same elements, however, are also used by artists, activists and non-governmental organizations to question existing structures. But what are the ethical and political implications of using game elements in a non-game context?

Among the outcomes of our work we can mention a book, scientific papers, participation at prestigious game conferences and art festivals, workshops, teaching at BA and MA programs, and the design of several digital and analog games.




Do you want to know more about us? Download our brochure here!





This is a list of recent publications that have been developed by members of the Leuphana Gamification Lab since 2012.


Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock not simply.

  • Fuchs, M., Fizek, S., Schrape, N., Ruffino, P. (eds) (2014). Rethinking Gamification, meson press. Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University, Lüneburg. (with articles by Fuchs, Fizek, Schrape, Ruffino, Poltronieri and 9 others).

Gamification marks a major change to everyday life. It describes the permeation of economic, political, and social contexts by game-elements such as awards, rule structures, and interfaces that are inspired by video games. Sometimes the term is reduced to the implementation of points, badges, and leaderboards as incentives and motivations to be productive. Sometimes it is envisioned as a universal remedy to deeply transform society toward more humane and playful ends. Despite its use by corporations to manage brand communities and personnel, however, gamification is more than just a marketing buzzword. States are beginning to use it as a new tool for governing populations more effectively. It promises to fix what is wrong with reality by making every single one of us fitter, happier, and healthier. Indeed, it seems like all of society is up for being transformed into one massive game.

The contributions in this book offer a candid assessment of the gamification hype. They trace back the historical roots of the phenomenon and explore novel design practices and methods. They critically discuss its social implications and even present artistic tactics for resistance. It is time to rethink gamification!


  • Fizek, S. (2015, in print). Gamification. In CDC Critical Keywords for the Digital Humanities. meson press. Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University.
  • Fizek, S. , Dippel, A. (2016, expected). Ludic Turn: Arbeit und Spiel in der Ära der Digitalisierung / Ludic turn. Structural and discursive significance of games and playfulness in the digital age. In Digitalisierung. Theorien und Konzepte für die empirische Kulturforschung, Gertraud Koch (ed.).
  • Fizek, S., Beksa, J. & Carter, P. (2015, expected). Audio games: investigation of the potential through prototype development. In A Multimodal End-2-End Approach to Accessible Computing, eds. Biswas, P., Duarte, C., Langdon, P., Almeida, L., Jung, C. Springer.
  • Fizek, S. (2015, expected). Od Pac Mana do Lary Croft. Jak badać postać w grach wideo? / From Pac Man to Lara Croft. How to research video game characters? In Culture and History journal.
  • Fizek, S. (2014). Pivoting the Player: A framework for player character research in offline role-playing games. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 6.3. Intellect.
  • Fizek, S. (2014). Why Fun Matters: In Search of Emergent Playful Experiences. In Rethinking Gamification, Mathias Fuchs, Sonia Fizek, Niklas Schrape, and Paolo Ruffino (eds.). meson press. Leuphana University.
  • Fizek, S., Fuchs, M., Schrape, N. & Ruffino, P. 2014. Rethinking Gamification, (eds.). meson press. Leuphana University.
  • Fizek, S. (2014). Strach ma wielkie uszy. O audiograch, dźwiękach grozy i pierwszym polskim interaktywnym audiobooku / About audio games, sounds of awe and the first Polish interactive audio book. Jawne
  • Fizek, S. (2012). Methodological Toolkit for the Study of the Player-Character in Offline Role-Playing Games. PhD Thesis. Bangor University.
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2014). Gamen. In: Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs. Christians, H., Bickenbach, M., Wegmann, N. (Eds.) Böhlau, Köln, Weimar Wien, ISBN 978-3-412-22152-2
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2014). Game Art/ Art Games. Game Art killed the the Video Star. In: Daniel Göpfert (Ed.): Spieltrieb!. Goethe Institut, Krakow, ISBN 678-83-925003-6-0..
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2014). Nordic game subcultures: between LARPers and avant-garde. In: GAME, vol. 3, 2014 – Games Subcultures. The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Culturale Ludica, Bologna, Via Veneto, Bologna, Italy.
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2014). Ludoarcheology. In: Extending Play. Tremmel, Aaron, Gilbert, Annie (eds.) SAGE:  Games and Culture Journal
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2014, forthcoming). Subversive Gamification. In: Playful Subversion of Technoculture. Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Chek Tien Tan, Charles Walker (eds) Springer, Singapore. Book series: Gaming Media and Social Effects..
  • Fuchs, Mathias (2013). Gamification. Die Ausweitung der Spielzone. In: Die Visionäre des Silicon Valley. Du – Das Kunstmagazin, Zürich, Schweiz, ISBN 9783905931341.
  • Fuchs, Mathias & Schrape, Niklas (2013). Bewegte Spiele. Zur Verschiebung des Verhältnisses von Spiel und Alltagswelt durch mobile Games. In: Sprache und Literatur. Paderborn: Fink.

  • Fuchs, Mathias (2012). Ludic interfaces. Driver and product of gamification. In: GAME, vol. 1, 2012 – ALL OF US, PLAYERS. The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Culturale Ludica, Bologna, Via Veneto, Bologna, Italy.
  • Poltronieri, Fabrizio; Menezes, C.; Maroja, C. (eds) (2014). The Permanence of the Transient: Precariousness in Art. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Poltronieri, Fabrizio (2014). Precariousness as a conceptual basis for the understanding of art as uninterrupted primacy of play. In: Fabrizio Poltronieri; Caroline Menezes; Camila Maroja. (Org.). The Permanence of the Transient: Precariousness in Art. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 116-125.
  • Poltronieri, Fabrizio (2014). Negentropy – Art – Memory. In: Camila Mello; Mauro Espíndola; Ali Khodor (Org.). Blank Berlim. São Paulo: Caosmos Editora, p. 42-51..
  • Poltronieri, Fabrizio (2013). Der Zufall und die Symmetriebrechung der synthetischen Bilder. In: Michael Hanke; Steffi Winkler (eds.). Von Begriff zum Bild: Medienkultur nach Vilém Flusser. 1ed. Berlin: Tectum Verlag Marburg, p. 209-222.
  • Poltronieri, Fabrizio (2013).  Arte, jogo, computação e performance: A falta de fundamento do sistema de arte [+zero]. In: Antonio Wellington de Oliveira Junior (eds.). O corpo implicado: Leituras sobre corpo e performance na contemporaneidade. Fortaleza: Expressão Gráfica e Editora.
  • Ruffino, Paolo (2014). ‘Beyond Gamification: from problem-solving to problem-making’, Hivos Open for Change, Rotterdam: The Netherlands.
  • Ruffino, Paolo, Cremonesi, M., Cuttica, F., Prati, D. (2014). ‘IOCOSE: Art after culture jamming’ In: Culture Jamming Reader, ed. by DeLaure, M. and Fink, M., New York: NYU Press.
  • Ruffino, Paolo (2014). From engagement to life, or, how to do things with gamification? In: Rethinking Gamification, Fuchs, M., Schrape, N., Ruffino, P. and Fizek, S. (eds.). meson press, Leuphana Universität
  • Ruffino, Paolo & Carbone, M. B. (2014). Introduction: games and subcultural theory. In: G|A|M|E, the Italian Journal of Video Game Studies/, Universitá degli Studi di Udine, Italy, 3(1), pp. 5-20.
  • Ruffino, Paolo (2013). Narratives of Independent Production in Video Game Culture. In: Loading… Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association/, 7 (11), pp. 106-121.
  • Ruffino Paolo & Carbone, M. B. (2012). Apocalypse postponed. Discourses on video games from noxious objects to redemptive devices. In: G|A|M|E, the Italian Journal of Video Game Studies/, Universitá degli Studi di Udine, Italy, 1(1)..
  • Schrape, Niklas (2014): Gaia’s Game. In: communication+1, 3. University of Massachusetts.
  • Schrape, Niklas (2014, forthcoming): Dani Bunten wants to play. Eine biographische Notiz zur Genese der Computerspiele. In: Texturen. Berlin: UdK Verlag.
  • Waack, Sebastian (2014). Vom Leben in den Unterricht? Zeitschrift COMPUTER + UNTERRICHT 95/ 2014..




DiGRA 2015

Diversity of Play

With some 250 international guests having visited the conference, DiGRA 2015 became a hotbed for discussions about the ‘Diversity of play’, with a focus on the multiple different forms, practices and identities labelled as games and/or game culture.

The conference aimed to address the challenge of studying and documenting games, gaming and gamers, in a time when these categories are becoming so general and/or contested, that they might risk losing all meaning. Given this, what concepts do we need to develop in order for our research to be cumulative and how do we give justice to the diverse forms of play found in different games and game cultures?

But DiGRA also offered a possibility for many of our visitors to become acquainted for the first time with German academia and Game Studies and with the sight of medieval Hanse-cities.

As a scholar from India put it: “Much has happened in these many days when I have been away from Kolkata. Here I am sitting on the upper floor of a cafe in Luneburg in Germany and telling you about it. Lüneberg is a fairy-tale town with its houses seemingly made of chocolate and liquorice. Medieval German houses dating back to the 12th century and two huge solid churches that were ringing their bells when I entered the cafeteria. The many towers and turrets of these old houses are proper Assassin’s Creed territory and one expects that Ezio or Altair will be leaping off them and hiding in the haystack below.” (Dr. S. Mukherjee).



Sülztorstraße 21 – 25 Lüneburg, Germany


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