The Medal System is a Newgrounds feature that implements medals, which are earned from completing specific tasks on Flash Games on Newgrounds. Users must be logged in with their Newgrounds account so that their medals can be added to their user page.
The Medal System was created by PsychoGoldfish on March 4, 2009, to coincide with the release of Portal Defenders. This system has since been publicly released as you have the option to add them from the new API. They have to be approved by an Administrator before they are worth points and appear on the Flash submission page. Games may be denied approval if they are of low-quality, and glitched medals that do not work may have their approval revoked.
Types of medals
Medals come in two main varieties. First, there are medals that explain the requirements for achieving them. Second, there are "secret" medals, that can usually
only be unlocked by chance or prior knowledge (e.g. secret spoiled in a review). Some games use a mixture of both, wherein the medals are not listed as secret but have a description that provides no hints whatsoever, such as "???".
Previously, users could check the game author's medals to see what the secret medals are. But since the redesign in 2012 this is no longer possible.
Medals provide medal points, this can be 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 points. Usually, the number of points awarded are proportional to the difficulty of the medal. However, sometimes the points awarded for said medal aren't proportionate with the difficulty of getting it: thus some medals that might require you to do a likely difficult task (like complete the game with no deaths) could award you with a mere 5 points. If unapproved by an Administrator, medals are worth 0 points.
So far, medal points have no effect on a user's ranking, and are only accumulated for bragging rights by Statwhores.
Ranking/Medals on the BBS
At the time there wasn't an official medal system ranking, but people logged in NGlogs compared their medal points with other users and in the Newgrounds BBS there was a Top 100 Medal Points list made to show the users with the most medal points.
How to get medals in your game
Before the public beta, authors would have to send a message to Tom Fulp or PsychoGoldfish requesting the code needed in the flash for the medal system to work. If the game was proven good enough, Tom would send a message with help to create medals.
Now, authors have to create a new API entry in the API tools section. Then the author can add the medals and wait for their approval by an admin. The scripts to add medals to the games are in the section "using medals". Thus, many games may have medals, but without approval the medals will have no points. Here is a WI/HT discussion with comment and speculation on the approval or otherwise of medals by admin.
Troubles with medals
Sometimes even if the achievement is completed the medal isn't awarded, this can be for various reasons.
To be able to get medals, the computer has to connect with the Newgrounds Gateway, if the connection is established an icon should appear. The most common cause for this not happening is that classic mode is not supported for games with medals, so users have to switch classic mode off in their flash preferences. Another common cause is ad blockers; sometimes they need to be disabled for the game to connect.
Some medals are broken, this means the code for the medal has errors and doesn't work properly. This has to be fixed by the author, or they may have their points revoked.
It is alleged that a few people have hacked the Medal System, showing unawarded Medals, which upsets other users who are concerned about the Top Medal Points List.