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.


Fishdom Fishdom
"you get different aquarium decorations for being there on set anniversaries or taking part in seasonal events, and get different icons depending on the level you are at"

Stick War: Legacy Stick War: Legacy
"There are achievements for various feats as well as completing and 100%ing the game on each difficulty."

Pocket God™ Pocket God™
"It gives 'gods' after completing series of challenges grouped in episodes, but these are kinda just puzzles you have to do in order to access / progress through the main campaign"

"There's achievements, that's pretty much it. I don't think achievements are *that* bad though, it gives you more to do, but are completely optional. The achievements do have rewards associated with them though, so maybe it can become an obligation."

"There are some achievements for completing certain objectives such as collecting or completing different difficulties."

Cookie Run: Kingdom Cookie Run: Kingdom
"yup lmao"

Dragon City Mobile Dragon City Mobile
"Game rewards anything for hatching dragons with certain type combinations to rewards for defeating a certain ammount of dragons with a dragon of a certain rarity."

Game Dev Tycoon Game Dev Tycoon
"You gain achievements for completing tasks in game (EG. making X amount of money from developing a game)."

Tetris® Tetris®
"It's not a badge, but they have arbitrary "goals," such as 'beat 5 levels'"

Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
"Google play achievements"