Ingress – more than a game

What is Ingress? It’s a game from Google. Think Geocaching meets Capture the Flag, or tower defense. It can be played on a smart phone or tablet (that runs either Android or Apple IOS). You must have GPS enabled though, as it utilizes Google Maps.

Sometimes, people like to create pictures with their fields, like this one I made of the Star Fleet emblem.

Sometimes, people like to create pictures with their fields, like this one I made of the Star Fleet emblem.

In a nutshell, there are two teams, The Resistance (blue), and The Enlightened (Green). Each team tries to defend portals (interesting places out in the real world). You can hack the portals for gear; attack them if they have been captured by the other team; and/or capture them by deploying resonators, shields, or other mods to protect them.

The goal is to link at least 3 portals together to create fields. Each field is worth a certain number of “mind units.” At regular intervals, Niantic (Google’s division that runs the game) scores each team. The team with the highest number of mind units is then in the lead. Each team is fighting for domination.

Players can level up as they continue to play. This allows them to use higher level gear to defend or attack portals. Levels 1-8 are earned through game play alone. Levels 9-16 must be earned through earning badges (which are done through increased game play and focus on specific aspects of the game).

What’s great about the game, is that it forces you to get out in the real world. Portals are often sculptures, murals, parks, monuments,  playgrounds, etc. You can’t just sit at home and play this “video game”. You actually have to get out in the real world. It’s a great way to get exercise. Many times,  we have gone to different places and walked several miles to hack, attack, capture, and field.

All portals in the game are submitted by players, it forces you to pay attention to your surroundings. Players are constantly on the look-out for possible new portals. Once you’ve played the game for a while, you start to really notice sculptures, murals, and landmarks to submit. While players are often face down, looking at their phones, they are also quite aware of what’s around them.

This is one of the many cool places we've found while hunting for portals in Florida. It was such a pretty hidden gem!

This is one of the many cool places we’ve found while hunting for portals in Florida. It was such a pretty hidden gem!

Ingress is “played” all around the globe. My husband and I enjoy traveling around the country, as he speaks at technical conferences and training events. We have always enjoyed seeing unique places in each city we visit. Ingress gives us another level to the exploring we already do. A recent addition to the game, is that players can create various missions. This has helped us find even more unique places to visit, as we sought to complete missions.

One of my favorite things about Ingress is that not only does it give my husband, family and I something we do together, but we have also met many people through the game. “Agents” (or players) often meet up to complete operations (such as a giant field over a certain area). We also utilize G+ Hangouts to chat about the game, or other topics. When agents play the same areas over and over again, you are bound to meet them at some point in time. We have met many agents from both teams. Most players are fairly friendly. New friends are just one more perk of the game.

If you want to join the game, you can go to ingress.com Just make sure you join the right team (that is, the Enlightened). Just kidding. Choose whichever you’d like. Just have fun. If you’d like, I can send you an invitation to the game too… just post a comment saying you need me to send one!

You can read the Wiki link at the beginning of this post for the complete back-story of the game.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SqlAsylum
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 22:54:32

    Great writeup and it is a great game! Just keep in mind Smurfs(resistance) are way cooler. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Sarah S.
    May 01, 2015 @ 09:08:03

    Pat, if that’s what you want to think… we can agree to disagree! 😉

    Reply

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