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.


Mighty DOOM Mighty DOOM
"Yes, daily missions or season passes missions. Rewards you with XP or season pass XP to unlock stuff."

Cake Sort Puzzle 3D Cake Sort Puzzle 3D
"In the quests area"

Crashlands Crashlands
"there are several achievements you can get, with a few unlocking perks in other games made by butterscotch shenanigans. some are kinda nothing achievements, like the one where you have to craft 10,000 floors."

Limbus Company Limbus Company
"Players can earn completely cosmetic banners they can equip as a reward for completing challenges and rewards within a certain time frame."

Haunt the House: Terrortown Haunt the House: Terrortown
"There are 25 achievements, but they're all obtainable through normal gameplay. You don't need to complete them at all to fully enjoy the game, just extra challenges if you want to tackle them."

Part Time UFO Part Time UFO
"There are only 25 achievements, and they're all collectible if you get good enough at the game. You can still fully enjoy everything the game has to offer without collecting them."

The Wanderer The Wanderer
"For most of the beginning stages, you get a small in-game currency prize. You have to work for the quests/achievements later on though."

Idle Cake Tycoon - Hamster Bakery Simulator Idle Cake Tycoon - Hamster Bakery Simulator
"you get a list of cakes for every level you complete"

Final Fantasy XV: War for Eos Final Fantasy XV: War for Eos
"Citadel skins and portrait frames that give 1% boosts to resource production"

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."