Real Life Achievement Trophies

Ever felt like something you did was worthy of greater recognition than the nil it received? Or that you would be more likely to meet expectations that you really don’t care about were there some additional incentive in place?

Upon reaching the end of Dan Carlin’s epic Hardcore History podcast series examining the first World War, it occurred to me that I had voluntarily listened to nearly a semester’s worth of lectures on little more than a whim. Surely such a sizeable and unplanned achievement should be celebrated in some way? A few weeks ago I had no idea about the Schlieffen Plan, the battle of Verdun, Bolshevism or Woodrow Wilson, yet now I’m able to discuss them at modest length and feel genuinely horrified at the prospect of similarly extreme situations arising in the future. By no means do I wish to trivialise the subject matter, but had you suggested a month or two ago that I would willingly expose myself to a solid day’s worth of historical commentary – especially after the disaster that was Ancient History in my third year of uni – my response would have been one of undisguised incredulity. Having now done just that, I feel that a token gesture of acknowledgement is justified; a trophy perhaps…

Trophy Earned

There is a good chance that if you’re reading this you will have personally encountered the achievement trophy system widely employed in contemporary console and PC games. My own experience is primarily on PlayStation 4 and only occasionally Steam. Getting started in a new PS4 game tends to involve a steady flow of bronze tier achievements popping up as you complete tutorials and similarly basic in-game actions. The silver and gold tier trophies require successively greater skill, dedication and playing time to acquire but still tend to appear in the general course of action. Platinum trophies represent grand mastery of a game and you’ll really have to work for those.

The four tiers of PS4 achievement trophy, backed by Horizon: Zero Dawn.

As you can see from the slideshow below, a witty title serves to add value to what could otherwise be interpreted as a facile attempt at keeping the iGeneration engaged beyond the opening cinematic. But really, who doesn’t like a good pop-culture reference…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Were the PlayStation’s reward system applicable to all of life and not just what occurs on screen, I figure that having taken in all of that WWI discourse would be at least a Silver trophy kind of effort. Another example might be today’s decision to get on with sending emails, calling parents and creating resources just minutes after getting home from a busy teaching day. This would surely be worthy of bronze tier had I not already achieved this particular feat a hundred times over in the last decade. And meeting an obligation as simple as being on time to all five schools I visited today – despite road works and a general lack of parking spaces I might add – would feel more valuable if there were a digital pat-on-the-back waiting at the end. Though maybe that last one would be better served by a gold or platinum trophy for consistent, long-term achievement.

Side note: Is there an app for making this a reality?

And if so, what would I cue up as the most trophy-worthy goals for the coming months?

Here are a few real life trophy concepts that have the potential to get my own incentive receptors buzzing.


FAMILY PLANNING. Find a great mobile game for when the baby comes along and won’t sleep in the middle of the night. Hearthstone was perfect the first time around, so something of similar variety, longevity and one-handed utility would be great.

BACK TO BASS-ICS. Play a gig in which I don’t stuff up Holiday by Green Day (seriously, this is far from the hardest song we do, but there’s always something that goes awry).

SPLATOON 2. Change a baby’s nappy for the first time in years. Bonus marks if it proves leak-proof.

FRUIT NINJA. Eat some fruit… every day… for a week.


SLOWBRO. Finish Pokemon Sun which has been a holidays-only diversion since last Christmas. So close and yet so far…

OVERWATCH. Parallel park in a single shot with someone spectating.

CALL OF DUTY. Eat some fruit and exercise… every day… for a week.


HOME STRETCH. Unpack the last half-dozen moving boxes that are inhabiting the ‘nursery’ (read: junk room) and make it baby ready.

THE WALKING DEAD: Get eight hours or more of sleep per night for a whole week.


THE ELDER SCROLLS: Finish reading the Bible for the second time, which I’m now 91% (or 1093 chapters) through.

NEED FOR SPEED: Write a novel. What started out as another ‘why not’ project now has some semblance of life, but the time commitment to bring it to completion is daunting. Especially with a baby and Destiny 2 on the way.

I’ll check back in later in the year and give an update on how many of these came to pass. Clearing the entire bronze tier should be easy enough, and hopefully most of the silver and golds. The novel may have to wait for 2018 though.

Feeling inspired to create achievement trophies of your own? Let’s hear about it!


3 thoughts on “Real Life Achievement Trophies

  1. I’ve used Habitica before to add gamification elements to my everyday goals/tasks…however, my ever present laziness seemed to always win in the end.

    I like ‘The Elder Scrolls’ achievement. Are you including any commentaries with your reading, or going straight through?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and the Habitica tip. Another store recommendation called LifeRPG came up as I was downloading it so I’ll try them both out and see how it goes.

      The reading plan is simply concurrent OT and NT, no commentaries. The app I’m using has access to some commentaries but they seemed like a strange assortment when I’ve looked into them before. May just be the work of whichever authors and organisations were happy to make their text freely available.


      1. I saw LifeRPG in the store as well. There seems to be a nice little collection of these ‘gamify life’ apps out there. Let me know what you think of that one.

        I normally use YouVersion for the normal reading plan. I started to get interested in the world events surrounding those in the Bible and found that Blue Letter Bible (website, no app) has a ton of scholarly content.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s