A reward that serves no purpose other than to serve as proof of accomplishment. These don't change gameplay in any aspect; thus, they are entirely cosmetic. The only thing really gained from achievements is that they're often named after certain in-jokes, Ascended Memes, and the like, depending on how geeky or savvy the programmers are.
In RPGs, this might be a title or rank that player gains upon defeating the Bonus Boss. Computer military-themed games often have an internal award system that will give your character medals, promotions, and other such rewards for completing certain goals, but are entirely meaningless.
Different from Bragging Rights Reward in that you do not receive any at least nominally useful items; these have no other function than looking pretty. However, since these often come after some sort of high achievement, the reward you get is the bragging rights. The Cosmetic Award is just something you can get a picture of to show them when they say 'Prove it'.
Often tracked by an Achievement System. Heavily overlaps with And Your Reward Is Clothes, since the clothes only rarely give in-game benefits. Compare and contrast What Do You Mean, It's Not Cosmetic?. For common types of Achievements in modern video games, refer to Analysis.Video Game Achievements.
Peggle gives you a trophy (or rather, updates the previous trophy you've got) for clearing the adventure mode, clearing the challenge mode and finally clearing all pegs from every single map.
The Karma System in the remake of Ninja Gaiden. In the already Nintendo Hard title, scraping through the highest "Master Ninja" difficulty is an accomplishment in of itself, and going for high Karma scores is best reserved for the craziest of gamers. It should go without saying that there are gamers crazy enough to have scraped practically every point out of the game.
Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 have a list of Achievements (or "Challenges" as it calls them) on every version. These run the gamut of impossible to miss, (Beat the game) to challenging, (beat boss X in Y seconds) to silly (beat six stages without Mega Man's helmet on), to less than difficult, but time consuming (beat the game six times in one day) to just plain masochistically hard (beat the game, killing the least number of enemies possible! Beat the game without ever missing a shot! Beat the game without ever taking damage!). These, of course, serve no purpose other than to prove your awesomeness. Hilariously, the one for beating either game, "Whomp Wily!" doesn't even try to hide the fact that, surprise surprise!, Wily is behind everything again.
In Mega Man ZX Advent, there are bronze, silver and gold medals for killing each of the 8 Pseudoroid bosses in the game, in certain means. Collecting them all will give you access to Model a (note the lowercase).
Blast Corps has one of the cruelest Cosmetic Awards. After beating the game by finding all the scientists and safely detonating the missiles, you're given a few missions in outer space. After beating those, you're told, "Now do it faster!" and you're expected to finish every level with a gold medal (including the escort levels, which are now timed.) After doing that, you're told, "Now go for Platinum!" and must now finish every level even faster to get a platinum medal. After doing that, you finally get your reward: The usual "Congratulations on your Promotion!" screen pops up one last time with your final rank: "YOU CAN STOP NOW"
The Matrix Path Of Neo has briefcases scattered through out that you can find to unlock movies, concept art and level sketches.
Action Adventure Game
Completing Ōkami unlocks skins that allow the player to change Amaterasu's appearance. These range from simply altering her coloring (such as a skin that removes her Facial Markings or makes her black) to shape (such as the skins that turn her into various breeds of dog).
Completing the 1996 PC version of Rainbow Islands put a colored star on the title screen. Completing it seven times got you a complete rainbow set of colored stars — and nothing else.
The game also does similar things with the Alien Medal, the Mushroom Badge, and the Clay Figure Medal.
In the game based on the Spider-Man 2 movie, there are quite a lot of sidequest objectives for you to accomplish (complete all Mary Jane missions, complete all Pizza Delivery missions, collect all landmark tokens, etc.). Your reward for completing these objectives? For most of them, it's the green word "Acquired", as opposed to the yellow words "Not Acquired", on the Rewards screen. Yep...that's it. Whoop-de-do.
The original Digimon World game had "medals" which you get for accomplishing certain tasks in the game, such as beating the game, collecting all Digimon Cards, raising every type of Digimon, or winning specific Tournaments.
Dragon Quest IX has its Accolades. Some of them are mutually exclusive (like the ones for beating the main story in a certain amount of time), making 100% Completion impossible.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals has the Iris Treasures. An optional dungeon at the end game resets your characters to Level 1, has 99 levels of randomly generated geography, chests, and monsters, and there's a small chance that the chests (and the incredibly hard final boss) contain pretty-but-useless treasures that you can take out of the dungeon and put on display in a trophy room.
Most of the emblems in Tactics Ogre Knight of Lodis are this.
Defeating the members and the Master of the Dojo in Paper Mario gains you increasingly better Degrees until you get the Diploma. These only activate different dialogue with three NPCs: one in Toad Town, one in Dry Dry Outpost, and one in Shiver City.
The "Vyse the Legend" title is the ultimate reward in Skies of Arcadia for 100% Completion in the Gamecube remake. In the Dreamcast original it was just the title you would likely get by the end of the game if you didn't screw up too many dialog choices.
In Final Fantasy V, defeating Omega and Shinryu nets you nothing but the "Omega Badge" and the "Dragon Seal", shiny badges with descriptions that praise you for beating the Bonus Bosses.
Though at least the treasure chest Shinryu was in gave you the Ragnarok sword.
The Updated Re-release added a Boss Rush which is unlocked after you complete the post-game Bonus Dungeon. Completing that gave you a similar shiny, the "Medal of Smiting", proving that you can kick every ass the game has to offer.
Defeating the infamously powerful Omega Weapon of Final Fantasy VIII gives you a "Proof of Omega" in the Tutorial section of the menu, as well as a Three Stars item.
Final Fantasy IX has loads; the Rank S medal from treasure hunting, the Master Hunter from the Festival Of The Hunt, the King Of Jump Rope and the Athlete Queen.
In Final Fantasy VI Advance, completing the Soul Shrine, a massively challenging Bonus Dungeon (which one has to clear the similarly challenging bonus dungeon Dragon's Den just to even get access to), nets you nothing more than an item called the Master's Crown, described in the item menu as a "ceremonial crown awarded for overcoming the challenges of the Soul Shrine". And what's worse, you don't even get to actually see the crown- you only possess it in the sense that it has a listing in your item inventory.
One could argue that the point of the Soul Shrine isn't the final goal, it's all the rare and powerful items you can pick up as you work your way through the monsters. Of course, since reaching this point requires you to have already beaten the hardest areas of the game already, that would make this more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
Final Fantasy XII has the Sky Pirates Den, where trophies appear for achievements ranging from impossible to miss, like taking a certain number of steps, to just plain impossible, like completing all concurrences.
The Platinum Bookmark in Persona 3. As well as the Raden Bookmark in Persona 4. It should be noted that the bosses that give these items are sisters.
Pretty much every reward in the PokÚmon games. Complete the PokÚdex and your Trainer Card changes color.
Your Trainer Card changes color? In Generation I we got was a certificate, and you had to go get it yourself!
You don't even get to keep the stupid-ass certificate; you have to keep going back to that asshole just to see it.
Later games still do have the certificate, but the requirements for the certificate and the extra star and new color Trainer Card are different (you get the certificate for completing the regional PokÚdex, and the extra star for completing the National PokÚdex, with the exception of event-only PokÚmon).
In The World Ends with You, completing your item collection, getting all the secret reports, or doing secret tasks will get you new save screen icons. And...well, that's it.
For every round of battle ("reduction") you win and for every item that costs over 10,000 yen you buy, you get a point on the save screen. Certain numbers of points grant you certain titles, like Reaper, Conductor, Composer, and even Angel. Feel like fighting a ton of battles and buying a load of items? Your title changes to God.
Beat Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, the second-to-last boss gives a speech. Beat the game again, raise a support character to level 7 in the first chapters of the game, beat a ridiculously fast miniboss in one turn, three times, and endure two extra, grueling chapters? The boss adds a little extra dialogue, unrelated to any of that.
"Why? Why must I lose? More power... I must be...stronger... I... Why? Why did I... want power? Gaa... Not like this... I will not die...like this. With my last breath... tremble...and...despair. Hwah ha ha... Ha...ha ha ha...
Now, Beat the second-to-last boss again , do all of the above beforehand, except also beating a third extra and grueling chapter, one where magic is useless, and which can only be accessed on the unlocked hard mode, and get some vaguely plot-relevant dialogue.
"Why? Why must I lose? ......Quintessence? ...Don't...under...stand... but... Gaa... Not like this... I will not die...like this. With my last breath... tremble...and...despair. Hwah ha ha... Ha...ha ha ha...
Neptunia seems to be playing with this trope. When you start a new game, you get a trophy. When you first used Neptune's hammer, you get a trophy. Pretty much doing anything seems to give you a trophy.
Collecting all 290 trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee is an incredibly difficult and time-consuming task. Many of them require insane amounts of skill and patience that only the most die-hard Hundred Percent Completionists would strive for. The most infamous example is the Diskun trophy, which requires unlocking every end-of-level bonus, including the No-Damage Clear award, which means completing Classic or All-Star mode without taking any damage whatsoever. But if you get all that, you unlock a video!
Brawl ramps up the "time-consuming" part of the above paragraph by a lot with too many "Complete <mode> with all 35 characters" tasks but slacks down on the difficulty otherwise. Well, except for the Liquid Snake sticker, which requires killing 10 foes on Cruel Brawl and the Galleom Tank, demanding completion of Boss Battles on Intense. Unless you live in Europe and haven't wasted your Golden Hammers, in which case you're able to quickly claim the latter with one. And that's not counting the random trophies, which are even more random due to the lottery being replaced by the Coin Launcher.
The awards in Battlefield 2142 would give points if you achieved them. The medals wouldn't however.
Getting all the medals in the original Medal of Honor for PlayStation, including the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Dreamworks Medal of Valor, gets you several extra characters for the multiplayer mode.
Medal of Honor - Pacific Assault (for the PC, anyway) gives you souvenirs from your various missions (canteens, a scrap of Japanese flag, an altimeter, etc.) for fulfilling a bonus objective. Selecting one will replay a nice, echo-ridden version of the audio from the time it was presumably picked up. Military scrapbooking!
Team Fortress 2 has randomly-dropped hats, most of which serve no purpose other than pure aesthetic customization (and possibly making it easier for a sniper to shoot you). They are one of the most base-breaking things in video game history. "Unusual" versions (which can only be obtained by paying a $2.50 item for a very low chance at one) are the exact same hats but with various particle effects attached, and can be worth 30-2000 USD
Similarly, Strange weapons are identical to their normal counterparts except for a kill counter. They also cost $2.50 for a chance at one.
The various armor permutations in the Halo series. Sadly, while very cool-looking, they are purely cosmetic and do not affect gameplay aside from potentially making you more visible to snipers.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 has achievements along with medals and ribbons. Achievements are generally progress-based (i.e. beating a level for the first time), medals are more spontaneous challenges (five silenced headshots in a row), and ribbons are in-between (play a certain number of scenes as the second player in co-op). Also, like Team Fortress 2, there are various accessories for your character that you can unlock by ranking up. Most do nothing in gameplay (hats, eyewear, camouflage patterns), but armor does actually protect you from damage depending on its rating, at the cost of slowing you down.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
City of Heroes has badges, which track a wide range of achievements; everything from beating a Bonus Boss to spending half an hour total immobilized to reaching level 10. A few of these actually do confer additional powers, however.
And the ones which are the most prized and sought after are invariably the ones which don't do anything. The devs did make the rewards cosmetic-only precisely because they may be impossible for certain characters to get.
One of the most sought after badges was given for killing 200 enemies that only spawned in the tutorial zone, which was completely unavailable after said tutorial was completed. When players clamored for a way to get the badge anyway, especially for characters that had been around for a while, the devs responded that they would make it possible, but not easy. They then had one of the target enemies spawn in a very high level area once per hour. The players moaned, the devs snickerednote No longer a big deal, as with the time-travel storyline that was introduced, the tutorial zone is available again..
The web-based MMORPGKingdom of Loathing features a whole series of trophies which can be collected by players to display at their campsite. They must be purchased with game money after earning them, and typically are awarded for feats that diverge sharply from the game's standard quest. The "Boss Boss" trophy, for example, requires one to defeat a quartet of specific bosses under conditions that both ramp up the difficulty of the fight and prevent you from gaining special bonus treasures they might drop.
Annoying to collectors is that it's impossible to achieve 100% completion on any level, as KoL's style of humor means event items and trophies are also affected. One such example would be the Pantsless trophy, which was only gained through pure luck, not having worn pants at rollover on a particular December 31st, midnight. It's said that only a handful of people can even come close, most of them powergamers who aren't affiliated with the coding team. That's right, not even the people that made the game have everything!
In fact, there exists absolutely no account that has every one-time trophy, barring a sudden re-implementation of said Pantsless trophy.
Guild Wars has a long list of titles that can be awarded to your character for various in-game achievements. Some of these do have some practical use (many of the faction reputation titles, for example, give you access to exclusive skills), while others (e.g. the Cartography or Vanquishing titles) give you nothing but bragging rights.
This is not entirely true. While these titles do not reward the character with anything but bragging rights individually, the collective achievements of the realm in a given time frame will grant it the favor of the gods which will grant status buffs and access to the two bonus dungeons to every player in the realm.
Most armor sets however are most definitely Cosmetic Awards. Most players will farm ingredients or reputation for months to get an armor set not a single bit more powerful then what they can buy regularly a few days into the game.
The same applies to rare weapon skins. An item that requires either intensive farming or massive amounts of money to acquire will boast stats identical, and sometimes inferior, to more common items.
Guild Wars 2 is aiming for a similar situation with gear. Dungeons will provide tokens for purely aesthetic gear, rather than improved gear.
Final Fantasy XI has titles, of which very few do anything, out of hundreds. These range from simply being proof of completing nearly impossible tasks (such as the Virtuous Saint title for beating the nearlyunkillable, makes you wish it was only Nintendo HardAbsolute Virtue), to one that makes a certain type of mandragora cast Regen on you. Some titles from bosses in the Aht Urghan region are used in the Mythic Weapon quest. But the other 99% of titles in the game are worthless.
World of Warcraft has an elaborate system of cosmetic awards available throughout the game. First, there is a vast assortment of collectible items, including tabards, vanity pets, clothing, and any mount other than the first at each tier of riding skill. With a very few exceptions, these have no effect on gameplay regardless of the difficulty of acquiring them. Second, an Achievements system was added for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, rewarding points for everything from leveling to conquering dungeons to exploring to acquiring large quantities of pets, mounts, etc. These points serve only to compare your character to others; some even award MORE cosmetic rewards, such as titles or mounts. Some Achievements, however, can unlock Bragging Rights Rewards, such as mounts that are actually faster than normal for their category or in one case, more daily quests.
It also has numerous achievements for collecting certain numbers of some other cosmetic awards... Which usually give you another one of the same kind.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is a big fan of cosmetic rewards, especially decorative trophies and titles.
Battle Stations has several, from sinking an enemy fort to drinking increasing amounts in the Taverns. They just show up as small icons on the character sheet.
Also, there's the discontinued items, such has Halloween masks and party hats, which are purely cosmetic and have no combat stats whatsoever, and yet are the most expensive items in the game. In fact, they are so expensive, that due to software limitations they can't be paid for in straight coins (the highest amount of coins you can have is 2,147,483,647) and have to be bought with items.
Mass Effect 1 mainly avoids this as a majority of the achievements unlock gameplay bonuses for the player, such as increased experience rewards or new unlocked skills for new characters.
On the other side, some achievements for other games play this trope even straighter by giving you a gamerpic or avatar clothing as well.
The PS3 has also introduced a similar system. ("Trophies")
Due to Sony's policy, there's usually a Platinum Trophy available which always has the exact same requirements to get in every game: get every other trophy for that game. This also has the affect of occasionally dragging down your completion percentage in games for which you don't have all trophies since the Platinum Trophy has the most value.
MineCraft has the Dragon Egg. You get it by killing the Enderdragon and it serves no purpose whatsoever, although Word of God has stated this might change...
Steam has a similar system for some of its PC games, implemented in late 2007 with the launch of the Orange Box.
Notably, Team Fortress 2 on Steam has class-specific achievements. Completing set numbers of them unlock alternative weapons for said classes, so these particular achievements are not entirely Cosmetic Awards. They may, however, be Bragging Rights Rewards now that the same items can also be accumulated (in mass quantities, even!) through Randomly Drops.
Even Wii seems to be getting into it, Wii Sports Resort has Stamp Cards for every event which you can collect stamps which are basically achievements.
The Tetris: The Grand Master series has the titular "Grand Master" rank, with each game making the rank harder to obtain. TGM 1's GM rank can be easily obtained after about 6-9 months of practice, but Tetris: The Grand Master 3's is infamously held by only three people in the entire world.
Parodied in the Red vs. Blue PSA "Achievements". "I have so many achievables!"
Newgrounds also has an achievement system now, which currently only certain game makers have access to.
Even the adoptable site GPX Plus is getting in on the fun. At the time of writing there are 54 achievements, with Word of God promising that there will be more every month.
Plants vs. Zombies has the Golden Sunflower Trophy for finishing Adventure mode and getting all the trophies in the Mini Games, Puzzle mode, and Survival mode. The Steam version also includes twelve achievements, four of which require a lot of playing and practice to get.
The Where's Waldo PC game, Where's Waldo: The Fantastic Journey, rewards you for giving you an extra character/item on the level select screen if you manage to get 5 stars on a level.
Achievement points are gained via earning achievements in-game and are used for bragging to your friends.
The Flash gaming site Kongregate uses an achievement system for its highest-viewed and/or highest-rated games. The achievements, usually capped at four per game, range from "easy" (kill x number of enemies, beat the first three levels) to "medium" (complete the game, beat the final boss) to "impossible" (beat the game without losing a life, complete the bonus mode, finish game on "very hard" difficulty).
Katawa Crash, which is a parody of the flash game Nanaca Crash with characters from Katawa Shoujo. Along with the massive slew of random content, events and guest characters, they added an in-game Achievements system which makes this game far more awesome than the original game it parodied.
In the LittleBigPlanet games (except the first), every possibly action either earns you or scores towards unlocking Pins. These work similarly to Xbox Achievements and PS3 Trophies, and there are hundreds to collect; the vast majority for trivial things such as logging onto the online network or picking up points bubbles. They serve no real purpose, however the player can choose to display a couple of their choosing on their player profile card.
There are also hidden pins, which aren't listed until you get them (Though there are very few of these), and all the Trophies are tied into the pins. The pins that also award a Trophy (or conversely are earned upon earning said trophy) are marked with an icon of a trophy.
Mile High Pinball for the Nokia N-Gage lets you choose different skins for your ball at the start of each game. The choice has no effect on the gameplay.
Completing Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped by gathering all the crystals and gems and scoring either the Gold or Platinum rank from all the levels in Time Trial mode (including the two super secret levels) earns the player an extra gem and a snazzy fireworks display — along with a 105% mark on their save game.
If you defeat a boss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia without taking any damage, you collect that boss's medal. This task can be made easier by equipping the Death Ring, which provides a massive stat boost and instantly dying when hit, not that the latter matters when you're going for medals.
Getting all 120 shine sprites in Super Mario Sunshine netted you a logo next to your profile on the main menu.
Beating Bowser earns you the ability to wear a tropical shirt in some levels.
Super Mario Galaxy has one only AFTER you get 120 stars with both Mario and Luigi. After you do this and beat the game the 2nd time with both characters, the Grand Finale Galaxy is unlocked, which is just the castle area from the game's start. Getting all 100 purple coins in this new level gets you the 121st star, which in turns gets you just a picture of Mario with Peach sent to your Wii message board. Getting the 121st star with Luigi gets you an image of him with Rosalina and a gang of Toads. For all the trouble you go through and time spent to 100% the game with both characters, it follows the trope perfectly.
Also, when you accumulate 9999 Star Bits, all the coconuts in the game change to watermelons.
This also happens in the sequel, though there is another one there too: after getting all 242 stars, your reward is that Rosalina from then on stands next to Lubba on the ship.
New Super Mario Bros. gives you a third star on your save file for finding all the star coins (the first is for beating the game and the second is for finding all the levels), and a new picture you can use for your bottom screen that references the classic Super Mario Bros. The Wii game goes up to 5 stars, at which point you get the message: "You have completed everything in New Super Mario Bros. Wii!" and... actually that's it.
The Wii game also has the reward for getting through without the Super Guide... your stars on the file select screen sparkle. That's about it.
Not to mention upon getting 99 lives, Mario becomes hatless.
Super Mario 3D Land slightly averts this. You still can get five stars, but obtaining all of them will allow you to gain access to the very final level...SW 8-Crown. Of course, going through all this trouble is more of a Bragging Rights Award seeing as you have to complete all of the 8 regular worlds and the 8 special worlds by beating every level, collecting every Star Medal, along with beating the final Castle in W8 again after beating the Special World 8 Castle, along with getting a golden flag by hitting the top of the flagpole at the end of every stage with both characters, which means beating every stage again as Luigi. Beating the game without seeing the Winged Item Block/White Raccoon Leaf Block (by dying 9 times) will give you sparkly stars as well. And finally, S8-Crown has a cosmetic award itself near the end of the level: a section of the level is filled with Snake Panels that spell out "Thank you".
Mario can become hatless again as well, but this time, despite what the three digits in the lives counter would lead you to believe, you actually need to have 1,110 lives, as the digits turn into crowns when you get enough lives (meaning that the max amount appears as "crown-crown-crown" lives).
The Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank series have "Skill Points", which are awarded upon completing certain tasks (like finding a certain hidden area or beating X enemies in Y minutes). In the Spyro series, they typically unlock the game's FMVs. In the Ratchet series, you unlock cheats for getting Skill Points. Too bad they're all useless cosmetic enhancements, such as Big Head Mode or Mirror Mode.
However, two of the games have the "Insomniac Museum," unlocked only with 100% completion, including Skill Points.
The American version of Ridge Racer for the PSP has bonus tours called "MAX Tours". The only reward for surviving these hard tours that pit you against opponents with massive Rubber Band AI is, according to the description for each tour, your honor.
Completing all 80 stages of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3's Story Mode without losing a single stage rewards you with the title "Undefeated Highway Dominator" and a bonus soundtrack. This is in mild contrast to Maximum Tune 2, in which completing all 80 stages undefeated rewarded you with an extra tuning point for your car without having to drive a total of 5,000 km, whereas in WMMT3, losing in Story Mode has no bearing on whether your car gets completely tuned.
All versions of Maximum Tune from Maximum Tune 2 onwards give out special titles for players' cards based on any combination of game variables (performance, mileage, make/model, color, wins/losses, racing conditions, etc.). Such titles are anywhere from cool ("Seeing the Fastest Line"), to Badass ("Undefeated Highway Dominator"), to hilarious ("Car > Family"), to Narmtastic ("The New Circular Instant Speed").
Getting first place in all cups in several Mario Kart games earns you a new title screen. In addition, in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7, the player's icon is modified during online matches depending on whether they've gotten first-place finishes on all cups, and whether they've managed to clear all cups with at least one star, two star, or three star rankings. These games also point out who is using motion steering.
And what do you get when you get the impossible three-star ranking on all non-retro cups in Mario Kart: Super Circuit? The fucking sky in the title screen changes color.
Wipeout 64 has three sets of challenges - race, time trial and elimination - that unlock things. A new track, a new ship and increased weapon power. Then there were the combo challenges, which were race and elimination challenges in one, and the Gold Challenges, where you were essentially told "good job, but now try again and get a GOLD medal". Your reward for completing those? The title screen changes colour.
In the first Wipeout, completing "Venom" class unlocked the faster "Rapier" class, including a day/night shift on each track. Completing this unlocked a bonus track. Completing the championship including the bonus track? A scrolling text telling you "Congratulations, stay tuned for Wipeout II, coming soon", after which the game kicked you back to the title screen. The sequel wasn't even named ''Wipeout II'.
Wip3out unlocks tracks and ships based on your wins in single race mode. The game also has a challenge system comprising a large number of challenges, similar to Wipeout 64. Your reward for completing those? Nothing. The game doesn't even have the grace to tell you that you are supposed to unlock everything in single race mode instead.
Trackmania Nations Forever and United Forever have a single player campaign, ranging from easy tracks to not so easy tracks. Your reward for completing them? Medals. That's it. Then you realise the real game is in the track editor, the online component and the community. In other words, you just wasted your time.
The single-player campaign in World in Conflict gives medals, ribbons, badges and promotions for completing the various scenarios. The promotions are especially perfunctory: in the first (chronologically) mission, the player character is a mere 2nd Lieutenant, yet is still allowed to command larger forces than such a junior officer would be granted in real life.
A similar system is in place for online mode, and it's equally odd considering that a Private can command just as many units as a 4-star General.
In Rock Band, completing the Endless Setlist (playing all 58 on-disc songs, in a row, in one continuous set) changes the color of your rocker's icon. You get an inverted icon for Medium, a gold icon for Hard, and a platinum icon for Expert (difficulty being determined by the lowest difficulty in your band at the time; with, for example, a Medium guitar, Hard bassist, and Expert drummer, everyone would get inverted if they didn't already have better, an Expert guitar and Hard drummer would get gold; only an all-Expert ensemble would get platinum).
Rock Band 2 has the same feature, but applied to the Endless Setlist 2, which is all 84 on-disc songs in a row. Additionally, on the 360 and PS3 versions, there's an Achievement/Trophy called "Bladder of Steel" that you can get for completing Endless Setlist 2 without pausing or pressing the Guide/Home button.
Rock Band 3 is practically made up of nothing but achievements, all of which simply unlock new clothes and instruments for your band for getting.
In Videogame/Rock Band: The Beatles, getting a good rating on songs will unlock pictures of the Beatles that come with interesting facts about the Beatles' history. Getting several pictures unlocks rare movies of the Beatles.
Project Diva 2 has various awards, e.g. for finishing X number of songs with character Y; for getting Perfect on a song; for earning (and spending) Diva Points; etc. You can choose to display a reward as your title during multiplayer.
The Star Wars: X-Wing series was full of these. Completing entirely optional training missions would give a sash full of ribbons or a collection of badges and medallions. You would automatically get a medal for each sub-campaign completed. Only receiving the Kalidor Crescent and add-on baubles from the Rebel Alliance or gaining membership in the Secret Order depended on completing bonus objectives, while promotion, which changed your dress uniform's insignia, depended on how many points you scored during normal mission and the mission's difficulty.
X-Wing Alliance in particular turned this trope Up to Eleven. Your cumulative score in Rebel Alliance missions would result in a promotion at certain milestones, though your rank had no bearing on the game beyond the number of pips on the uniform hanging in your quarters. For each numbered campaign completed, you received a new medal, with (again) the Kalidor Crescent and various add-on baubles being awarded for completing bonus objectives. To top it off, after every single mission you complete for various family members while "on leave", a new souvenir is placed in your quarters.
Ace Combat , the whole series award you with numerous medals. From the fourth game on, you can also unlock special paint schemes for your planes by shooting down special enemy aircraft.
In addition to regular console achievements, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon multiplayer mode has call signs, which can be earned by fulfilling certain conditions in multiplayer (such as landing the last blow to the enemy base or being the top-scoring player of a match) and chosen for yourself at the beginning of a multiplayer game. Call signs do not have any effect except slightly altering the Mission Control's dialogue.
The FreeSpace series has medals that players can obtain by completing secondary and bonus objectives. Points are also awarded to the player, which determines his rank. Most of the time, the only consequence to not completing said objectives is not being able to get the medal or promotion. "5,000 officers and crew on the corvette were lost... sorry, no medal." Mind you, in some missions, it may appear that a secondary objective is inconsequential... and then the next mission starts with you guarding one weak ship with 20% hull if you didn't complete it.
There seemed to be a very easily overlooked subversion to this in the sequel. Completing some of the objectives that game medals did seem to unlock a few extra bonus ships in later missions. These ships had a different color icon from normal ships, which does seem to highlight they were special.
Animal Crossing gives the post model after you put a billion Bells in the bank, which are otherwise worthless after you pay off your house. It gives plenty of other furniture items for doing various sidequests. In New Leaf, a sea lion named Phineas will show up in your town to award you "badges" for doing things like catching many different types of fish or bugs, planting a lot of flowers, or doing a lot of errands for your neighbors.
Trauma Team has 48 "medals" you can collect after beating the game. It's pretty clearly just a stand-in for PS3 trophies or XBox 360 achievements.
Ghost Recon awarded medals to the soldiers in a fairly realistic manner: soldiers get campaign ribbons for taking part in campaigns, purple hearts for injuries, and various other medals for kills.
As did Hidden & Dangerous 2.
Turn Based Strategy
Beating two of the bonus bosses in Disgaea 2 grants the protagonist new titles — "Prism Black" and "Badass Overlord", respectively — which replace the default title of "Demon Hunter". In both cases, victory results in immediate complaints from said protagonist over how crappy the rewards are.
There's also the "Lord Master" title, only received when you kill Pirate Uber Prinny Baal in the Item World. By the time you're strong enough to even complete this task, there's practically nothing else to do in the game anymore.
Actually, the complaint about the "Badass Overlord" is that he thought he couldn't get a demonic title due to being a human.
Civilization II let you upgrade your throne room, Civilization III your palace grounds, and Civilization: Call to Power your capital city center. Each is essentially a pretty picture that you can stare at if you get bored.
Fallout 2 has a number of these, in Karmic Titles. For example, if you have awesome sex with anyone in the game, you get the Gigolo karmic title. If you make a porno, you get the Porn Star karmic title, which actually has penalties within one area of the game — namely, as a celebrity, it's impossible for you to sneak around. Not all karmic titles are devoid of actual effects in the game, but most don't directly affect your stats, and most if not all are useless in pursuit of the game's main quests. Other karmic titles include Child Killer, Slaver, Champion, Savior of the Damned, Made Man, Prizefighter, Sexpert, Married and Separated. This is something of an Unbuilt Trope, as while they represent your achievements in the game, none of them are purely cosmetic; all of them affect how others in the game see and treat your character, and some even affect your stats.
Diablo II has several cosmetic awards. For completing the game a title will be put in front of your character's name, differing depending on the difficulty level and if you opted to played in the high risk "Hardcore" mode, as well as if you have the Lord of Destruction expansion pack. There is also a Bonus Quest where you get to fight beefed up versions of the three main bosses (the Ubers) all at the same time. Players who manage this feat are rewarded with powerful items, but also a "Standard of Heroes" item that serves no use other than a trophy. There is also a trophy ear you will get if you kill another player in PvP.
One of the expansion pack's later quests has the purely cosmetic reward of personalizing a single item by adding your name to it.
Might and Magic 6's reward of "Super Goobers" upon passing through a room full of enemies that can cause eradication. Late in the game, of course...
Might and Magic: World of Xeen gave the "Goober" reward for getting to the computer at the bottom of the Dungeon of Death, an optional (and the most difficult) dungeon in the game. The computer is locked with a password ... which is found in the very last area of the game, a handful of steps from the ending. Retrace your steps all the way back through the final areas, all the way back to the Dungeon of Death, and enter the password ... and you are a "SUPER Goober."
Mass Effect 2: a few achievements have actual effects - the "earn the loyalty of [teammate]" ones give you access to their bonus powers, and the reward for finishing the game gives you a 25% XP bonus and a substantial quantity of money and resources for a New Game+ - but most of them are just "yes, you've completed $MISSION, good on you". This continued into Mass Effect 3, which had if anything even less achievements that actually did anything besides earn you Origin points.
Non-Video Game Examples
The famous "No-Prize" from Marvel Comics. It essentially started out as a sort of "Whadda ya want, a medal?" to readers who wrote in pointing out typos or continuity errors. The No-Prize was literally nothing, arriving in an envelope that said it contained an "official No-Prize"... and was, of course, empty. Of course, you got your name mentioned in the comic where the No-Prizes were counted up, which some saw as the real prize.
Some recipients actually began selling their No-Prizes on eBay, using the empty envelope as the actual item. This prompted an editor's note decrying the practice, claiming that No-Prizes were "non-transferable".
Websites have begun this it seems. Flash game websites like Newgrounds and Kongregate have achievement systems for their games, while video game websites like Giant Bomb and Game Trailers now have achievements for watching videos and the such.
Even Tabletop RPG s have achievement system these days. Wolsung, a soon-in-English steampunk pulp fantasy game, has achievements as primary XP mechanism. For each great deed in a game you get an achievement which grants your character a sizable bonus to similar rolls: if your most visible deed was seducing an elven princess you'll get +5 to seducing elves from now on.
The ancient Greek Olympic Games gave out wreaths of olive branches as the award for victory (Yay!). However, this was generally subverted: the home city of a winning athlete would frequently give him a large cash gift for winning.
Which carries over to the modern Olympic games and its gold medals (which actually contain very little gold). The winning athlete then makes a fortune from endorsements.
Except that the medal is certain to survive beyond the athlete's lifetime, while any olive branch that doesn't start to wither and break apart a year later is lucky.
Between the guys at Rooster Teeth, there's the Tower of Pimps for "Let's PlayMinecraft", a stack of four gold blocks on a obsidian block. No real purpose than to show who won the challenge of that episode.
Friendship Is Optimal: In the fictional MMO Equestria Online, there are badges for most everything, at least for the sort of ponies that value achievement systems. This can be potentially creepy.
YouTube used to allow animated GIF avatars. Eventually they decided to disallow them, but those who did have one were allowed to keep it. Once in a blue moon it is (or maybe was) possible to run into a user with an animated avatar, which never failed to generate attention for said user.
Also, thumbs-up on comments. They don't serve much purpose, but they boost your self-esteem!