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Boy Scouts can now earn a Game Design merit badge
Boy Scouts can now earn a Game Design merit badge
March 7, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

March 7, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi
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    19 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Design



The Boy Scouts of America are ready to introduce a new merit badge encouraging children to learn the art of game design.

The new Game Design badge requires Scouts to design a game from scratch in their own design notebooks. Scouts "must demonstrate an initial concept, multiple design iterations based on initial testing, and feedback from blind testing." The game can then be prototyped and tested at Boy Scout functions, such as camp outings.

The new Game Design merit badge pamphlet will make its debut at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin on Friday.

Upcoming merit badges currently in the works include Programming and Animation.


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Comments


Jonathan Jennings
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that's actually really Awesome! I was never in the boyscouts but if this had existed when I was a kid I probably would have been extremely interested in joining.

Glenn Storm
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Do want. 'Be Prepared'.

E Zachary Knight
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This is actually pretty cool. I was a big fan of the Cub Scout Video Game award. Glad to see this one make the cut.

The Computer merit badge was good in a Comp-Sci 101 kind of way, so I am glad to see this being expanded on. Game Design, Programming and Animation will be great.

Ernest Adams
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Some enterprising Scout needs to make a video game called The Gay Avenger, or similar, about combating institutional homophobia.

E Zachary Knight
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Hopefully the requirements of the merit badge are not based on the content or theme of the game, only the actual work done. So I would assume that many such games and other serious games would be possible.

Adam Gutterman
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Thanks Ernest for you awesome comment. It's not lost on me that a Top Story below the article is "EA's LBGT event aims to be a first step toward cultural change."

Also, it should be noted that the Girls Scouts of the USA has this policy: "As a private organization, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference."

At the end of the day, the Boy Scouts do a lot of good for young men, but they'll never earn my respect until they adopt a more open policy toward all young men, not just heterosexual ones.

Jeanne Burch
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This entire thread beat me to it!

Doug Poston
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Don't forget "God Fearing" as well.

There are important things to learn in Scouting, but the BSA has collected so much baggage that maybe they should just sell the title to the LDS and start fresh.

{\steps off soap-box}

Filip Lizanna
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Wow, that would have been amazing when I was a kid.

Brian Ewoldt
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Here are the requirements. http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/Advanceme
ntandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-GDSN.aspx

They do a good job covering many of the bases. It is not just for computers gaming but for all types of games. If you get a chance sign up as a merit badge counselor for your local boy scout troop. They need more people other than parents to help out.

Karin E Skoog
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The Girl Scout equivalent was great - the Games for Life badge. SIGGRAPH has even offered a one day workshop giving young girls the opportunity to explore video game design by using Game Maker and the chance to speak with industry professionals. In 2011, a Gold Award recipient (equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle Award) even integrated video games into her project for a teen program at her local library. : ) Pretty cool! http://www.gshpa.org/images/GA_spotlight_012012.pdf

(I wish the back of Girl Scout cookie boxes would show the accomplishments of these girls so people would realize there's more to Girl Scouts than just cookies and everything wouldn't need to be equated to the Boy Scout equivalent. The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are incredible ways for girls to develop leadership skills!)

http://www.siggraph.org/s2010/for_attendees/studio
http://foss.rit.edu/girlscouts

Doug Poston
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As a former Boy Scout I have great respect for the Girl Scouts. It's like they took the best parts of the BSA and avoided most of the religious baggage.

I hope some day they will be used as an example for a scouting group for young men. :)

Dylan Baker
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As an Eagle Scout, I'm pleased to see this. I'm still displeased with the national level of the BSA pretty much 100% controlled by the LDS, but I'm pleased to see this badge. Discord knows I would've been on it in a heartbeat back then.

Mark Morrison
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I unfortunately had to decline an invite to this year's event in Virginia for Adam's exact sentiments. We need to collectively stand up as an industry and embrace everyone's rights to make games! Until we do that, we are only a part of the problem IMO. It's very sad that some great scouts and leaders will miss out because of their organization's position on gays, but how can we not pledge our services to equality?

E Zachary Knight
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How does this prevent some people from making games? Is there a "Must be a Boy Scout" requirement in life in order to make games?

Mark Morrison
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If you're a LBGT Boy Scout, chances are you are not going to be welcome at any official Boy Scout function. Therefore it prevents those LBGT Boy Scouts from making games at their events. I hope that is more clear.

E Zachary Knight
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That honestly doesn't make any more sense. If you are LBGT (and honestly a Lesbian wouldn't be in scouts anyway) and in scouts, it is probably because you haven't "come out" yet and would thus be actively participating. Not that that makes it any more acceptable.

However, one does not need to be in Boy Scouts to accomplish what this merit badge accomplishes. This is just an official award from Boy Scouts. So again, this does not prevent anyone from making games.

Joshua Darlington
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Do they have a drone badge?

E Zachary Knight
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No. But they have the following:

Aviation, which requires the building of a remote controlled model airplane.

http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/Advanceme
ntandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-AVIA.aspx

Geocaching, which teaches GPS location to the scout.

http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/Advanceme
ntandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-GEOCACHE.aspx

Robotics, which can be used to add additional functionality to the model aircraft.

http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/Advanceme
ntandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-ROBO.aspx

Those three combined could allow the scout to build and operate a drone aircraft.


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