Serious playtime: Boy Scouts introduce gaming merit badge

Boy Scouts of America
Meet the new Game Design merit badge.

What's an ambitious Boy Scout to do after learning how to play a bugle, tan the skin of a small animal and properly respond to an explosion in the home?

Young men of the Boy Scouts, let it be known: There is a new merit badge to earn. It's called the Game Design merit badge.

Let's clear this up right now: You can not earn this — the 131st badge from the Boy Scouts of America — simply by playing video games.

According to the official badge requirements, game-loving youngsters will be required to analyze several different kinds of games as well as design, prototype and test their very own game.

But the Game Design merit badge — which you can see pictured up top — was created with more than just video games in mind. According to the official Boy Scouts blog, scouts can create a game in one of four categories: Electronic games, outdoor/athletic sports-type games, tabletop games (think: dice games, board games, card games) and pen and paper/role-playing games.

The Boy Scouts say they have been working on this badge with volunteers from the game industry for the last two years. The badge is designed not only to keep the interest of youngsters, but to acknowledge the important role that playtime, well, plays in our lives.

"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," reads the official badge announcement. "Games motivate both young and old to find creative solutions, practice new skills, and keep their brains active."

Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.

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