The Boy Scouts are no strangers to parody. In cartoons, movies, comics, and virtually any media they have been represented either directly or in parody imitation, their merit badges have had fun poked at them. Fictional merit badges for everything from kite-flying to drag racing to video games.
With that history, the initial reaction to hearing that the Boy Scouts are creating a merit badge for game design might seem like yet another joke. In this case, however, the merit badge itself is very real. The badge in question was developed over two years with help from “volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country.” It will officially be revealed over the weekend at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas.
The game design merit badge focuses on no particular genre of games, addressing everything from bowling to card games to Angry Birds and the creative processes behind their genesis. The final task to receive the merit badge is for the scout to design a game of their own, whether a new card game, athletic sport, or even a mobile app. It’s just one more way that games in general are being taken seriously from leisure, cultural, and developmental standpoints.