We recently produced this one-page recent history of badges for learning, to support our efforts to develop a badging system for the Hive Learning Network. We thought it might be of interest to others as well.
In 2005, Microsoft introduced the Xbox’ 360 Gamerscore system, which is considered to be the original implementation of an achievement system. According to Wikipedia, “in video gaming parlance, an achievement... is a meta-goal defined outside of a game's parameters. Unlike the systems of quests or levels that usually define the goals of a video game and have a direct effect on further gameplay, the management of achievements usually takes place outside the confines of the game environment and architecture.