Badges / Endowed Progress

Reluctancy to abandon a partially completed goal, even one forced upon the player.

When games give you achievements or badges for arbitrary accomplishments in a game they are trying to give you a sense of Endowed Progress. There is something called the "Zeigarnik Effect" which states that people are more likely to remember an uncompleted task, than one they have finished. In other words, people have a hard time abandoning a goal, even an artificial goal that the game gives you for no other purpose.

When you see something in a game like, "Defeat 20 enemies to unlock this achievement", the game is giving you an artificial goal and trying to get your brain to put that on its internal to-do list of tasks it needs to finish. These unfinished tasks nag you and make you want to play the game to finish them. Of course, there will always be another goal to replace the one you just finished.

The little red notification dot that you sometimes see in games is another form of this. It's the game trying to tell you that you have something you need to do. If you've ever encountered a red dot that you couldn't make go away, you may know how frustrating it can be to have an uncompleted goal sitting there in the back of your mind.

If these uncompleted goals require grinding or waiting in order to complete them, it can make you spend more time on the game that you would have if you just played the game for the enjoyment of it. Additionally, if you can complete the goals quicker by paying to skip them, then some people will spend money on artificial achievements that the game puts in place outside of the normal gameplay.

Achievements and badges aren't necessarily a dark pattern. They can be used as a tutorial or training on how to play the game, but when you see achievements that take months to accomplish (collect 10,000 items) then its likely that the game developers are using this dark pattern to give you a sense of obligation to finish a goal.


Star Stable Online Star Stable Online
"In the game there are badges, but they dont give you anything."

Soundmap: The Music Game Soundmap: The Music Game
"Badges for amount of artist songs"

GraalOnline Era+ GraalOnline Era+
"There is content creator badges if you want to be their puppet, and get exclusive benefits."

Flutter: Starlight Flutter: Starlight
"The compendium records collections, achievements, and quest completion. Some achievements require total completion of some collections, some collections require completions of quests, some quests require certain moths in collections."

Terraria Terraria
"Only during the beginning of the game to help out new players"

Zombie Tsunami Zombie Tsunami
"There's a Prestige system which lets you restart Quest Progress for a trophy"

Rotaeno Rotaeno
"When perfecting some song and after some progression"

Dragon POW! Dragon POW!
"Rewards are slowly given out as the game is progressed, items are given out in the "Quest" tab."

Office Cat Tycoon: Idle games Office Cat Tycoon: Idle games
"Each new tutorial rewards you with gems or money when you finish it."

Idle Angels Idle Angels
"You are ranked against the entire player base for every progression that is measured. Ranking higher gets you more rewards."