In 2013 when the Gamification Lab opened its doors, the Lab was confronted with the challenge of un- derstanding exactly what gamification is. Given the large number of definitions that were debated in marketing and design contexts, the Gamification Lab decided that they had to redefine gamification while introducing more complex and interesting notions than those previously proposed. They had to think not only about how gamification was used as a term and concept at that time and what its implications were, but also how it could be imagined differently and ‘rethought’.
In May 2013 the Gamification Lab organized the first Rethinking Gamification workshop, which drew about 15 international scholars to Lüneburg. In three days the Lab initiated a dialogue that later developed into a book project. The book “Rethinking Gamification”, which was published by meson Press in 2014, is available both in printed format and as a downloadable PDF or EPUB file that guarantees free and open access to its contents. Edited by Gamification Lab members Mathias Fuchs, Sonia Fizek, Paolo Ruffino and Niklas Schrape, the book is a collection of essays from a variety of perspectives. Gamification is seen here as a tool for reinforcing behavior, as an historical construct, through its social and technological contexts, as a form of control to be overthrown and contested and, finally, as a design technique. The publication offers a theoretical perspective on the gamification phenomenon without delegitimizing the potential of this cultural trend or diminishing the hype surrounding it.
The book instead examines the often-overlooked aspects of gamification, its potential for the design of meaningful experiences and its implications for the cultural and technical study of video games. In conclusion, the research carried out in the workshop and the publication has contributed to revamping the debate on the meanings of gamification and to exploring the relation between games and our everyday lives.