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Boy Scouts Now Awards Game Design Badge

Dang Fred, it looks like we're lost in the woods. Thank goodness you earned that game design badge! That's just as handy as lighting fires with twigs and shooting rabbits with a makeshift bow and arrow! We jest, but the Boy Scouts of America doesn't think game design is a laughing matter, and plans to award scouts appropriately for their efforts.

"Whether it's soccer, a family night board game, or a handheld electronic device—playing challenges us to overcome long odds, tell compelling stories, and work with or against one another," the BSA said on Wednesday. "Games motivate both young and old to find creative solutions, practice new skills, and keep their brains active."

To earn this merit badge, a Scout is required to analyze different types of games, and to describe their play value, content, and theme. They must also understand the significance of intellectual property (IP) as it relates to the game industry.

"Over a two-year period, volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country created and tested the merit badge requirements and accompanying pamphlet text to ensure the merit badge pamphlet held the young person's interest, was challenging and fun, and required minimal out-of-pocket expense to complete," the BSA added.

The project starts with a design and a notebook. This notebook is used to demonstrate the initial concept, multiple design iterations based on initial testing, and feedback from blind testing. If the concept is approved, the Scout can build an actual prototype. The design itself can stem from a wide range of media ranging from dice to a smartphone application.

"Through Game Design, its newest merit badge, the Boy Scouts of America is opening the door for Scouts to put their creativity to the test," the BSA said.

Representatives will introduce the new title at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas.


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