Corporate and government officials as well as social scientists studying smart cities are exploring gamification to help stakeholders engage with complex technological and societal issues. However, despite research addressing concerns of respondents’ engagement and the validity and reliability of the results of gamified research, there are hardly any empirical accounts of how respondent engagement, validity and reliability of results are affected by decision-making in multi-stakeholder processes of designing and producing gamified research. In this paper, we evaluate a gamified survey that we developed to do research about public perceptions and engagements with digitization and datafication in public space. We report and evaluate the ideas, discussions and decisions in the design and production of the gamified survey. These reflections offer insights into the politics of such a process and advice for other researchers considering the use of gamified research tools for examining seemingly invisible and intangible technological developments, whilst at the same time being critical of the validity and reliability of the outcomes that such a survey produced. Our analysis shows how and why pragmatism and stakeholder relations took precedence over academic and epistemological concerns. Whilst we produced a research tool that did provoke large numbers of different people to actually engage with the smart city, the resulting data were less rich than we had aimed for, and required additional, qualitative methods.