Boy Scouts across America can now sew a new kind of patch onto their sashes: a Game Design merit badge. The Boy Scouts of America are holding a three-day event at next week's SXSW Gaming Expo to unveil the new skill challenge and put amateur gamers and game designers to the test.
What does a scout need to earn this geeky honor? He must take a game from concept to production, using logic, strategy, and mathematics skills to design, test, and build the game, just like a professional game developer. Before the badge is bestowed upon him, the Boy Scout must present the final product, which can be in the form of cards, boards, dice, or, for the techiest scouts, a smartphone app.
And in addition to the game, he is required to prove knowledge and understanding of the industry with analysis of different types of games, themes, play value, and even intellectual property. All of these prerequisites are quite the tall order for a young scout! But we're digging the Boy Scouts' integration of science, tech, engineering, and math skills into the program.
Now don't worry, Boy Scouts aren't the only ones who get to have STEM-filled fun; our girl geeks in training have 21st-century-ready badges, too, including Computer Expert for Brownies and Game Visionary for Senior Girl Scouts.