It's a world-wide augmented reality massively multiplayer online game created by some diabolical geniuses at Google. Here's Wikipedia's definition of Ingress:
The game allows players to enclose regions of territory on the surface of the earth with virtual links between virtual portals, which are visible in the game software. The top-level goal of the game is for one’s faction to control large numbers of “Mind Units”, the estimated number of humans within the regions of territory controlled by the faction.
Players can choose one of two sides. The first is The Enlightened. The Enlightened want to help being known as Shapers infiltrate the earth because they believe the Shapers can "lift humankind." The second side is The Resistance who seek to defend the earth from Shaper infiltration, holding to a belief that they are protecting humanity.
I don't play the game, but if I did, I would be a member of the Resistance. Besides the fact that I just naturally gravitate toward anything with the word "resist" in it, it seems to me that The Enlightened is the equivalent of the Empire in Star Wars or the Alliance in the Firefly universe—always believing they can make people better.
And I don't hold with that.
Anyway, The Man (my significant other, for any new readers) plays this game for the Resistance. And it has taken over my life because players need to go out into the world and find these places where these virtual portals are. They're typically places where people gather for the purposes of creation and knowledge such as public landmarks, museums, and libraries. Parks are often portals and occasionally, so are post offices and fire stations/public safety buildings.
Players hack portals in order to gain gear and points. The gear (things like resonators (claim portals) and XMPs (destroy portals)) you use to claim portals or attack an enemy's portal. You get keys to portals to link them together to create control fields (and gain mind units) and shields to help protect them. Doing all of this earns a player points. The more points you gain, the higher level you are. And it's hard to get to those higher levels. The Man is currently a Level 5 with 185,000 some-odd points but won't reach Level 6 until he gets to 300,000 points.
This game requires commitment. And possibly will end up with players being committed. Who knows?
And this is a world-wide game, so wherever you and your android device go, so goes the game. I found that out this week when we passed a library and I casually mentioned it was too bad The Man didn't have his tablet because I bet the library was a portal. Then The Man whipped out his phone (D'oh!) and we spent the next hour and a half walking up and down a two block radius hacking and attacking and claiming portals (more on that in a minute). According to The Man (and how long I stood around waiting...), this area has an insane number of portals.
|Ingress on the street. Make sure to look up from your android device before crossing the street!|
So whenever I go out to do errands now, The Man comes along for the ride and hacks portals along the way. Whenever we're driving to meet people somewhere, I always have to plan 20-30 extra minutes to our travel time because I know I'm going to hear "Just drive really slow through here" (as if I can drive really slow through anywhere) or "Oh, could you pull over here so I can hack this portal?" or "Hey, there's a portal over there; can you go over there so I can claim this portal?"
And when I do pull over here or there, I next hear "Could you go forward a little?" followed by "Could you back up just a little?" so The Man can be in just the right spot. This occasionally inspires me to give The Man a look which then inspires him to get out of the car and go the rest of the way on foot while I wait in a perfectly legal parking spot.
But the real fun (please note the sarcasm) comes when the GPS coordinates used by the game are off so that a portal that's supposed to be at the local post office is actually in someone's driveway. Or the fire department portal that's located in the parking lot of a used book store. (these are real life MWV examples) because players repeatedly visit these portals in order to keep them claimed for their side, or to attack a portal claimed by the enemy. I swear my car is on some kind of watch list because people think I'm casing their houses or businesses.
I swear I'm not. I'm just facilitating the Resistance movement in a virtual game.
Have you heard of Ingress? Do you play Ingress? If so, for which side do you play?