Ingress

About one week ago, I started playing Ingress, a mobile game that is basically a hybrid between geocaching and capture the flag. And when I say “mobile game”, I mean that you have to walk around with your phone. That is, outside, in the real world.

The game centers around a newly discovered substance called Exotic Matter, or XM, which is associated with a mysterious alien race called the Shapers. This XM leaks into our world through portals, which are real-world objects such as art, architecture, landmarks, and so on. You need to go out and find these portals, and capture them. Once captured, you can link portals together, and create control fields.

There are two factions in the game: the Enlightened and the Resistance. The Enlightened embrace this new phenomenon, and think it is the next step in human evolution. The Resistance disagree: they think the Shapers are dangerous and need to be stopped. When you start playing the game, you need to chose a side. Be careful, you can only change this once!

Upsides of the game:

  • You need to walk around, outside. The American Heart Association recommends walking 10.000 steps per day, on avarage. With this game, that’s peanuts!
  • You’ll explore the city, finding pieces of art that you never knew were there in the first place.
  • As with every group activity, you’ll meet new people. Whether it is because you are invited to a local Ingress community, or because you’re hacking portals and another player is nearby.

Downsides:

  • Since this game is created by google, it probably is a privacy disaster. It needs to send your location directly to google, in order to update the game correctly. However, most of the time you are at those locations because of the game.
  • The game is very demanding of your phone. The graphics, constant Internet connection, and GPS will drain your battery quickly. An extra batterypack is no luxury.
  • I already mentioned the constant Internet connection. This game uses a lot of data. Make sure your mobile data plan is large enough.

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