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.


Agent A: A puzzle in disguise Agent A: A puzzle in disguise
"there are 30 "achievement" awards. 10 are hidden, 20 are specified. none are requirements for completing the game. some examples include "overflow the sink a second time" and "shoot the gun range target 100 times". none are prompted—unless you go looking for the page of awards, the game will not mention them unless you complete an achievement."

Chuzzle 2 Chuzzle 2
"the game has an achievement page that requires you to accomplish certain goals (such as popping chuzzles of one color across the board or completing a minigame under a certain amount of time), and achievements reward you daily with coins so it's beneficial to unlock as many as possible"

Kawaii Home Design Kawaii Home Design
"Certain special outfits or frames for your avatar are available only after achieving some accomplishments in the game."

Fancade Fancade
"The game has markers and indicators for when you finish a level of minigames."

Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game

Cat Game - The Cats Collector! Cat Game - The Cats Collector!
"There are individual player leveling and when you level you get items and bonuses. You can only get new areas (floors) of cats by completing another one."

Zombie Frontier 3: Sniper FPS Zombie Frontier 3: Sniper FPS
"Achievment, limited energy"

"there are banners for completeing the harder events in the game. they have no benefit to the player"

Vampire Survivors Vampire Survivors
"achievement system for foing something that can unlock weapons or extra gold."

Little Alchemy Little Alchemy
"collecting them all is both an achievement and your end goal with the game."