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By Chris T ucke r TECH TIME To advance the goal of


Get Your Game On


Some videogames are classic “couch potato” fare, but one of the hottest trends in the industry — called active gaming — can get your Scouts moving, raise their heart rates, build their muscles and trim their waistlines.


helping Scouts stay fit, the Boy Scouts of America has partnered with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) to promote active gaming. “We feel it’s a valuable partnership because we understand that the vast majority of boys in the Boy Scouts have videogames,” says David Roberts, senior innovation manager for the BSA. “We’re teaming with the


ESA to come up with new and innovative ways that kids can use their games to become more physically active.” The BSA-ESA synergy was


obvious at last year’s national jamboree, where the ESA supplied gaming consoles like Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 so Scouts could try out the latest active games. “There was a lot of jumping, riding rafts and flying around going on,” Roberts says. Some early scientific


research points to the health benefits of active gaming. A study by Georgetown University showed that adolescents who played a sports-based Wii game lost weight, felt better about themselves and were able to focus better in school. Rich Taylor, ESA’s senior


vice president for communi- cations and industry affairs, says that active gaming is also a great way to earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, which calls on kids to be active 30 minutes a day at least five days a week for six out of eight weeks, in addition to focusing on healthy eating goals. (Find more information at bit.ly/activeaward.) While the ESA doesn’t


endorse specific titles, games like Dance Dance Revolution, Kinect Sports: Season Two, Wii Fit Plus and MLB 13: The Show are great options for


RIGHT GAMES A great source for your Scouts to learn about active videogames is the Games Guru, found at boyslife.org/ games. Get info on dozens of great games along with insider tips and answers to questions gamers ask.


FINDING THE


active gamers. According to the ESA, more than 90 percent of active videogames are rated E for everyone or E10+ for everyone 10 and older. A passion for gaming can


lead to more than fun and fitness, of course. Last year, the BSA introduced the Game Design merit badge, which requires Scouts to analyze types of games, learn industry terminology like “strategy vs. reflex vs. chance,” and design and test their own games. In addition, Scouts must either meet with a professional in game development or explore various career opportunities in the game-design field. And there is no shortage


of those opportunities. The ESA’s Taylor notes that game design is a growing career path, with more than 350 col- leges, universities and other institutions of higher learning offering courses and degrees in computer and videogame design, programming and art. The prestigious Princeton Review regularly ranks the best undergraduate and graduate programs for game- design study, among them the University of Southern California, University of Utah, MIT, Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, Ohio) and Drexel University (Philadelphia).


4 S COUTING ¿ JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2014


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