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Boy Scouts get Game Design badge

Programming, animation, CAD and 'digital technology' also in the works

Picture of a Hong Kong scout

The Boy Scouts of America have created a merit badge in Game Design.

Unveiled at tech-and-culture-fest SXSW, the badge's premise appears to be that playing a game can be just as challenging as traditional scouting activities like camping and hiking.

Playing games of all sorts, the Scouts say, “... challenges us to overcome long odds, tell compelling stories, and work with or against one another.” Games also “motivate both young and old to find creative solutions, practice new skills, and keep their brains active.”

The BSA (that's the Boy Scouts of America, not the Business Software Association/Software Alliance) says two years of work by “volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country” resulted in a list of requirements that will see would-be badge-wearers required to “analyze different types of games; describe play value, content, and theme; and understand the significance of intellectual property as it relates to the game industry” before they are awarded the prized patch (the latter element is why we explained just which BSA we're talking about here).

The badge isn't necessarily technology-dependent, as the badge can be won for designing games using cards, boards, dice or computers.

But other forthcoming merit badges will see scouts eschew camping in favour of coding. A programming badge is set to be introduced at the BSA's 2013 Jamboree in July, while badges for computer-aided design, animation and something called “advanced computing” will emerge in 2014 and 2015. ®

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