Social games blew up in a big way last year, with the explosion of Farmville, but game designers had been poring over the formula for years prior. What’s was the fruits of their labour, and one of the biggest secrets to social gaming success? Badges. Achievements. Accomplishments. Whatever you want to call them, they’re one of the most important elements in gaming and a new crop of services are now bringing badges to regular websites and rewarding people for things like “browsing to 5 pages” and “staying on the site for 10 minutes”. I’m wondering if there’s anyone else out there who’s been getting a laugh at the overuse of the trend, and I look at 5 reasons why you shouldn’t just add badges to any old website or game.