Some grouchy early morning thoughts in note form on badges while I wait for a server to install. Its taken me a while to get my head around the idea of badges. A fantastic round-up  that got me thinking about them lives here, I still really don’t know what to say about them, but I do have some thoughts on how the distant gaming cousin of badges, have panned out. I’ll dump thoughts here as notes and perhaps write it up and move to my CETIS blog.


Usually these types of rewards are given for meeting meta-defined goals, and the reward has no direct effect on the player. I’ve seen 2 themes around gaming achievements that are being mapped to educational scenarios:

1)     Rewards are a way to encourage users to reach goals

In games this is often more than just an achievement, trophie or badge. Microsoft and Sony both offer virtual items for avatars to wear.  Facebook games offer ‘wall updates of honour’. Will a badge be enough?

2)   Rewards show that a user has completed a (or so many) tasks

I will be really interested in how the web of trust pans out with badges. In many gaming achievement systems this is often completely broken. On Xbox live Gamerscore is no indication of skill because of a) So many games offering achievements for doing nothing (Avatar/Godzilla) b) Pirated games can unlocked all the points for you…

This should really feed back into theme 1, wanting accreditation should encourage users to reach those goals.  Alarm bells are ringing.

There doesn’t seem to be much talk about the other uses of meta-defined goals in games

3)     To make people do things in a certain way

beat level x with only weapon y, (code x using only IDE y?)

4)     As punishment

5)     As currency

PS Home / (Whuffie?)

Other thoughts:

Badly designed meta-goals are a problem!

I remember really enjoying a game until I found out I’d get a virtual hat for playing it a certain way. After completing the level with only a pistol, I had my hat but had no fun.

Easy rewards and reward inflation makes users lose trust in your achievement system.

Everyone should play achievement unlocked:

There is a backlash on meta-goal systems in games, being unofficially headed by developers such as Hidetaka Miyazaki. (“for those who flourish under Demon’s Souls’ strict examination, there’s no greater sense of virtual achievement”)




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