It was 9 o’clock at night and I had just finished a drive around my neighborhood area attacking, hacking, building and linking things together. A few others and I have been in a battle with others in the area for a while now. This isn't just local, though and it’s going on at a global scale. I don’t see things getting any better for the time being, just a constant back-and-forth all out battle.
I’m talking about an augmented reality game called, Ingress.
Ingress existed only on the Android platform for a while, but came to iOS this year in July. The game and I intersected for the first time via another’s online post on September 26 and I’ve been playing daily ever since. Having taken the side of the Enlightened, I’ve walked about 20 miles in a week just to keep waging battle against the Resistance.
Sharing a few similarities to geocaching, the basic idea is that there are portals in the game attached to real-world objects, primarily art, sculptures, churches and other places of interest. These portals are only accessible by walking around to each one and getting it within your proximity ring in the game. Once you’re close enough, you can hack them for goods, repair them or link them to other portals if they’re your team’s, and attack them if they’re the enemy’s.
On this particular night I was scoping the intel map from my laptop and saw the opportunity to create a large array of linked portals in my vicinity. This had the potential to give me a good amount of points and help my faction’s cause.
I got in the car and set out to hack each portal to build out my inventory, get the needed keys, and create links between the portals that didn’t yet have them. I finally made my way around to each of them and created the final link. Unfortunately, the area didn’t fill in with the needed green matter that I was aiming for. Unsure why, I decided to revisit the first portal and investigate it. After sitting near it for a while I decided to attempt linking it to another portal at an adjacent corner. It linked and filled in with the green matter. Success, and I headed home.
After about 30 minutes, I received an email that indicated my link had been destroyed and a key portal was taken over by someone from the Resistance. Not to be so easily defeated, I literally ran over to a nearby portal and linked it up with a distant one, reclaiming, not all, but much, of the lost area that the other player stole.
Of course, this doesn’t last long. Nothing in the game lasts long as its always in a state of flux and that’s what keeps things interesting. Well, this and the social aspect.
A different day, I was playing from the bus on my way home from work. While at an intersection, I saw a team portal in my range that was near death. I connected to it and attempted to recharge its resonators but by the time I hit the recharge button, the resonator was no longer under my team’s control. An enemy agent had taken over the portal while I was interacting with it.
I noticed it was white (indicating no ownership) and quickly moved to place resonators within it, maintaining it for my team. Unfortunately, the other agent was quicker and had already begun this process for their team. I did the last thing I could before my bus started to move and began attacking it. I got off a few shots before it was no longer within my range.
This experience was the most exciting I’ve had yet in the game. A real-time battle between me and another agent that was somewhere within 90 or fewer meters of proximity to me made for a fun exchange. I’m curious if they were aware of my presence during this interaction at all like I was aware of theirs.
We’ll see where the game goes and where it takes me. I’d say it’s most enjoyable when played in the company of others but it’s also a joy running solo. If you decide to check out the game, let me know and we can meet up for some beer and then head out on foot.
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