The Boy Scouts of America recently awarded the first Eagle Scout rank ever given out for a project based on videogaming.
It was just a few days ago that we found out the Cub Scouts of America has begun handing out belt loops and pins to Cubs with mad gamer skills, or to be perhaps a bit more accurate about it, those who demonstrate a commitment to responsibly integrating gaming into their lives. But it would appear that the infiltration of videogames into the world of Scouting goes much higher than any of us expected, all the way up to the rarefied air through which the Eagle Scout soars.
When Zach Hamber decided to incorporate videogames into his Eagle Scout project, he realized that it might be a tough sell to the Scoutmaster and the committee members. "I didn't want to have to beg for them to accept the idea, so it needed to be planned to perfection," he said. His planning paid off: The idea was well-received by the committee and Hamber was off to the races.
There was just one problem. He originally planned to make a series of tutorial videos for the StarCraft 2 beta "to welcome new players to the game and help them make it a proper hobby by playing competitively." But Blizzard kept pushing the beta back, and Hamber's 18th birthday, the deadline for the project, loomed large. Finally, he decided to switch to the original StarCraft, researching competitive StarCraft leagues, talking to well-known players and eventually putting together a StarCraft gameplay guide based on professional-level gaming.
And then it was judgment day. Hamber was proud of his project but admitted, "I was a little nervous because I had only memorized some of the Scout Test info that day." Once again, he needn't have worried. "I had some really, really good reactions from the trial," he said. "They complimented me and said how it's cool that there can be interesting projects like this for the Eagle Scouts."
It's good to see Scouts embracing videogames as a normal part of a boy's life, but why, with all the games on the market today, did Hamber pick the decade-old StarCraft? "I truly think that even though it's 11 years old, StarCraft is the best of its genre and that's why I have a passion for it," he explained. "It's most balanced and makes a great spectator sport as well as a match of minds and finger flexibility."
Spoken like a true gamer.