Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ingress Has Taken Over My Life

Anyone know what Ingress is? I do.

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.

Yay.

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?

35 comments:

  1. I've never heard of it, but no doubt my boyfriend has. Ugh. Another game to lose him to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have not heard of it but I can totally understand getting immersed in it; I play Skyrim and a dream weekend would be one in which I could play non-stop.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my gosh! I'm so glad, now, that I don't have any traveling electronic devices!

    ReplyDelete
  4. i try to stay away from interesting games like this one because i know ill be hooked!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yet another timesuck! Don't need one right now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love MMORPGs but this sounds like a serious life sucker. Sounds really really fun, though. Danger! I want to try it but I don't want to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL...I had an invite, but then found it wouldn't work on my phone...booo!

    Oh well, I didn't need another distraction, anyway :)

    I'd probably be Resistance too.

    Left and Write

    ReplyDelete
  8. A video game that gets you out of the house. Genius! (I'm so sorry, though. It sounds like it's taken over your life as well.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yikes! I don't know what I'd do if the games foloowed us...everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
  10. OMG, M.J.! You are a sweet and kind woman to put up with that. I have never heard of that game, but that's not unusual. I didn't know about World of Warcraft for the longest time either.

    Here's to your SO not making you rethink your relationship!

    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  11. That sounds like a timesuck I should never touch if I want to ever finish a book in my lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Never heard of it and for-the-love-of-god-keep-that-game-away-from-me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've never played it, but I'm a sucker for a good MMO so maybe I'll check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  14. never heard of it, sounds like fun, but I won't be playing it as I get easily addicted to games, lost a year of my life playing all the Ville games on FB...now I'm banned...by the wife!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have not heard of this game, but wow, it sounds like huge amounts of fun. And yes, I would be Resistance, too. Browncoats unite!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ingress took over my life, indeed. I started playing in February (Enlightened), and made it to Level 8 in the first half of May (nice birthday-gift). As I am doing a lot of farming (acquiring items) by bike, the game had been the perfect motivation for doing exercise (lost about 12 kg). On one of these farming trips I actually had an accident with a car, but this didn't stop me for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I play. My wife plays. Our roommate plays. The kids play. We're all L8. It's a wonderful way to get out of the house and meet new people without the involvement of bars. People in our local cell have reported weight loss of as much as 37 pounds in only a two month period. I couldn't imagine the stress this game would create if the whole house wasn't in.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes it's a great and very addictive game.
    I'm a L8 and when I got to around L5 I tried to get my wife to start but she wasn't interested.
    So got my son to start and once he was in to it my wife decided it must be OK. Then my daughter too.
    So now we play as a family L4 / L5 / L6 / L8 and really all enjoy it.
    Next step 4 L8 :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am enlighten level 8 and i have been hooked since day one. I laughed when i read you story and as i thought that sounds like me. However my wife is not so understanding so at night when the kids are in bed i go out 'smurfing' for a few hours. As i have reached l8 and no longer require AP, i take a destroyer approach and leave the portals as unclaimed so another player can level up. Hopefully green but anyone really. Am i naughty....yes is the word.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I started playing for exactly this reason. I was being dragged along anyway and because he was so caught up in his phone, I was doing all the driving and the only one seeing the people stare at us in PO and fire station parking lots, etc. We've actually had some great quality couple time, seen lots of new sights, met new friends, and gotten some good exercise the last few months all because of this stupid game. While we were leveling though, life was otherwise put on hold.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I started playing for exactly this reason. I was being dragged along anyway and because he was so caught up in his phone, I was doing all the driving and the only one seeing the people stare at us in PO and fire station parking lots, etc. We've actually had some great quality couple time, seen lots of new sights, met new friends, and gotten some good exercise the last few months all because of this stupid game. While we were leveling though, life was otherwise put on hold.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My husband and I are both level 8 Redistance members, as is my step-daughter. Our younger 3 children play as well. Ingress had helped us to lose weight as a family and spend time together (which is hard to do these days). My husband started playing first. I'll admit, initially, I was not happy about all of the extra time spent away from home or the extra has expense. Once he involved the rest of us in the game, we were hooked!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Both my husband and I play for the Enlightened. We have met some really great people and discovered so many "new-to-us" landmarks within our community. It is a great way for us to get some exercise in while spending time with each other. You should seriously consider playing with your man!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Have you considered playing with your husband, both my wife and I play(though we're both gamers to begin with) its lots of fun being part of larger event and things coordinated at the state and national level. You might find yourself infected and making your husband drive so you can hack instead we've seen multiple non gamers get pulled in already.

    ReplyDelete
  25. FYI, your article has been reshared by one of the creators of the game on G+.

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/114800310452543164210/posts/ig1DdrmjECn

    On another note, you guys should play together :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hubby and I are level 8 Resistance. He mutters a lot over his phone anyway, but when I saw what he was doing, I asked to get in as well (since it is a closed beta, you have to find someone to invite you). It was a good time to get in; we got out of the house so much more, and saw more of the place we live. Additionally, it gets you introductions to like-minded folks when you travel outside your area. Yeah, you get obsessed for a while, but it tapers off once you get to 8... doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  27. My Spouse and I both play, both L8 Resistance. If we didn't both play it wold not work for long because it augments your life. My teenager has no interest in playing so this makes things a challenge. There are very clear Advantages and Disadvantages to participating. I look at it as another experience I am glad I had/am having. Like all pastimes it will eventually come to an end, but I'm hoping some of the friends will be part of my world afterwards.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. There are quite a lot of success stories of people getting into shape, losing weight and spending more time with their families (when everyone plays), too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I play on the resistance side. (Laughs) That sounds like a typical drive for us. On the positive side, I've lost 25 pounds, made some fantastic friends, learned more about the city I live in and cities I visit. On the con side, every trip in the car takes longer.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I play on the resistance side. (Laughs) That sounds like a typical drive for us. On the positive side, I've lost 25 pounds, made some fantastic friends, learned more about the city I live in and cities I visit. On the con side, every trip in the car takes longer.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My brother started playing and I thought it was dumb. Untill I got my android phone now I am hooked. I play for the resistance and reached level8 this month. I have met so many new people and been places I never knew existed. It does really take over your life. But in a good way!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ingress rocks ! Just a pity I find it so addictive... Can't go long without playing :( But I suppose that's the way they designed it?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Like you, I'm an ingress widow. Like you, I've spent time driving him around to different portals, going slow so that he can do a driveby hack, going multiple times around a roundabout (portal in the middle of the island. I swear, the guys watching the CCTV are going to wonder what the hell we're doing) and spent time in places waiting and getting strange looks. My saving grace is my phone - I love to read, and I have books on my phone, so I park up and get my phone out while he hacks. I don't ever do the "forward a bit, back a bit.. ooh perfect!" unless its by accident. He can get outta the car! (oh, and he's a L5 (I think) Smurf.)

    but.. on the plus side... I've seen far more of our city and my parents-in-law's home (in Germany, we're in the UK) and other places than I would have done otherwise. We've spent time laughing together at what he's achieved. I've driven him to the centre of our city for him to go out for the day farming - he's walked miles doing this, totally overdoing it and crawling home almost crippled (okay, not so good), but hey, its exercise. He's done group sessions, making friends and socialising. I'd play it myself except for the fact that I'm currently studying for my degree - I do not need another thing to side track me!

    Yeah, Ingress is a great game :)

    ReplyDelete