The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles have introduced a new merit badge to help girls get into science and technology — a Game Design badge.
“The L.A. Girl Scouts chapter partnered with the Women in Games International organization to create a curriculum for the patch. Girls will be required to program their games as well as design them, using software called Gamestar Mechanic.”
“The Boy Scouts of America introduced a Game Design merit badge last month, but it does not include the programming requirement.”
“The Girl Scouts’ version hasn’t been approved by the national organization yet, thus it is only available to Girl Scouts in the Los Angeles chapter. According to NBC News, it’s designed for girls in 4th to 6th grade.”
“The games industry has recently been more aware of the gender discrepancies in its ranks. A few months ago game creators took to hashtag #1reasonwhy to talk about reasons the industry doesn’t employ enough women, uncovering issues like sexism in some workplaces. A game design merit badge could certainly be one way to get more young women interested in programming and creating games as a career.”
So I just checked out the software link, and I think I am going to buy this for my son. I think he would love to learn more about video game design. I have been looking at two summer camps for him in game design but hadn’t called on them yet. I need to get moving on that. However, in the interim I think he would love this. Here’s what the website says about the software.
“About Gamestar Mechanic
Q: What is Gamestar Mechanic?
A: Gamestar Mechanic is a game and community designed to teach kids the principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment. It is designed for 7- to 14-year-olds but is open to everyone. We’ve included features in Gamestar that make it useful for kids playing the game on their own or with family members at home, as well as in moderated and educational settings. For more information about the features of Gamestar Mechanic and the learning theory behind it, please see the For Parents and For Teachers sections.
Q: How much does Gamestar cost?
A: Gamestar Mechanic includes a self-paced learning experience that uses game-based “Quests” to help youth learn how to design games while they build critical 21st century skills. Each Quest contains missions that challenge you to play, modify and design games to help you level up from player to designer. As you complete these missions, you earn items that you can use to make your own games.
Registering an account at Gamestar Mechanic is free and includes access to your first game design Quest, the ability to make and publish your own games, and access to the Gamestar Mechanic community.
“Addison’s Complete Quest” is our full introduction to game design and is now available for a one-time cost of $19.95. This three-quest series includes the free Quest (”Addison Joins the League”) and two additional Quests (”Addison Joins the Rougue” and “Dungeon of the Rogue”), where you’ll explore diverse styles of game making and dive deeper into the practice of game design. Together these Quests include over 100 missions, the opportunity to earn over 130 items to use in your own games, and the ability to add your own art to your games through custom backgrounds.
We also offer custom “Sprite Packs” with prices that start at $1.99. These themed packs contain fun and powerful items like the ones you earn in the Quests. Sprite packs are fun ways to extend your game making capabilities and personalize your games.
Lastly, for those designers that would like to learn with real instructors and game pros, we offer an Online Learning Course for $299.
What do you think about the merit badge? What do you think about the software? Would you get this for your child to use at home?