Video gaming? There’s a Scouts badge for that


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The Independent Tech

If your scouting days were dominated by burnt baked beans (for the camp cook badge), water-logged eskimo rolls (water activities badge) or making terrible shelves (DIY badge), you might feel a sense of envy for The Boy Scouts of America, who now get to sit around playing video games rather than getting their hands dirty.

The Boy Scouts of America has introduced a new merit badge, awarded to those who get to grips with game design, realising that gaming is not the root of all evil but something that can encourage logic, maths and even basic courtesy.

Whether or not this means scouts will tout their talents on the doorstep of America’s top games developers remains to be seen but delving deep into games certainly beats a hard day’s clearing back gardens for your volunteering badge.

To get the game-design badge, scouts will have to “analyse different types of games; describe play value, content, and theme; and understand the significance of intellectual property as it relates to the game industry”.

This essentially boils down to playing four games and assessing how they work. It’s not strictly about video games – they can also choose from outdoor pursuits as well as table top, role-playing and pen and paper games – but they’ll get to grips with level design, story, setting and balance. They can even design a smartphone app.

It’s not the first foray into gaming for the boy scouts, though. In 2010, the BSA introduced a video game award but it was more to do with understanding the ratings system, balancing gaming with schoolwork and chores and learning to play games approved by a parent, guardian or teacher.

Surely the next stage is an activity badge for designing and selling a title to Xbox – that would certainly help with the next fundraising drive…