Nowadays it is hard to surprise experienced gamers with just great graphics and even interesting gameplay. There has to be something special or, at least, something stupid about the game to make it look attractive and gain popularity in the game society. Ingress is definitely not a stupid thing and being developed by Google, it kind of made a revolution in mobile gaming. Sure, there have been attempts to do something alike but only now and only Google managed to complete the project and actually made it official on 14th of December. Ingress is a MMMMOARG (massively multiplayer map-based mobile online augmented reality game) and to make it work you will need an Android based device. As for the gameplay – stay tuned to find out more about it.
I can’t tell for sure how many people play Ingress everyday but I can say with a firm that it is the most growing mobile game right now. First of all, on December, 14 it came out of the closed beta testing. However, even during this one, lots of people have been testing it all over the world. Ye, it is kind of hard to keep everything in Beta when people receive invites. You know – the best recipe to make something popular is to make it private or VIP (or, at least, place a VIP tag on it). For some reason, it works like read skirt on a bull and everyone starts acting crazy. Ohhh… Psychology.
Ok, let’s get back to the story. I’ll try to be short and informative cause for the first time I didn’t get the idea of Ingress at all. And not because I am not into MMMMOARG games (the MMMMOARG definition also looked kind of complicated for me) but because at first it looked strange. Ingress is a competition between Enlightened and Resistance. Oh, sorry – you still have no idea who those guys are, right? Ok – I will rewind a bit. So, our great scientists discovered that there is something wrong in this world and that a strange power known as Enlightened influenced people’s minds all over the world. They believe that our way of thinking is false and that we need to be directed correctly. Though, we, the people, think the other way and that is why we have the Resistance on our side. Resistance does its best to protect humanity from being influenced by the Enlightened and see the world as we see it now (here I kind of feel the influence of religious themes in here).
When you login and start playing the game, you will be offered to choose sides. Enlightened are marked with green color and Resistance is blue. Of course, because aggression sounds better than protection, lots of people choose the green side and usually the Resistance is in minority. However, it doesn’t mean that they feel themselves uncomfortable or that they are not effective. Just on the contrary! It’s like fighting the war being in minority: it’s all about strategy and not about quantity. Of course, if you play Ingress as Enlightened, your task is to spread your wisdom all over the world. Or, if you play for the Resistance, you will need to protect the areas and make the green power go away. Everything sounds simply, right? But wait – there is more…
While the background Ingress story sounds pretty obvious, things are not that simple when the game starts. You see, no matter what side you choose, you will still have to travel all over your city or all over your world in order to play this game. Ingress is not a game that you can play at home – it is a game that motivates you to travel: by foot, by bicycle, by car or however you like. The trick is that the Enlightened come to this world only with the help of special locations. This must be either a monument or a historical part of the city. For instance, the Eifel Tower is a part of Ingress project as well as the Statue of Liberty. But this can also be small monuments in the villages as long as they fit the requirements. The best part is that you can create those locations all by yourself. It is like creating locations in Foursquare, though – you will have to send this location for approval that might take up to few weeks. But don’t worry – it’s a great possibility that all the locations in your city are already involved in the Ingress project.
How to play Ingress
The task is pretty simple and here’s how it works:
1. First of all you will need a GPS and Internet enabled Android device. GPS is used to identify your location and internet is used to keep the game running in a real time mode. I know, I know – they both are the most powerful battery killers, but in this case you will have to use either a backup battery or a backup phone.
2. You launch the app and a human voice will tell you where the closest place of interest is. Using your GPS and geographical knowledge of the city, you can travel to the point and do the following:
– in general, your task is to either attack and occupy the point or to protect it from being occupied. For that matter you use all kinds of weapons and fortifications;
– the bigger the group – the better the result. If a couple of Ingress players come to a certain place and start an attack – it is very likely they will take it under control. This is exactly the situation when quantity is better than quality;
– you can also form occupied territories by connecting three portals all together. For this action you will need three points of interest in control. Combining them all with each other will form a triangle and will make you a winner. Triangles have no limits as well as they have no geographical limitations. You can have your places of interest in three different countries but as long as they are connected with each other – it’s cool.
The only rule of the game is that you have to be close to the place of interest in order to make some actins. Otherwise – it won’t work. The best thing about ingress is that it motivates you to travel all over your city and go for a walk more often. After all, you still grab your smartphone whenever you go, so why not to take the best and the most of it?
The greatest part of the game is when you come to some historical monument and see other people standing not far from the place playing with their smartphones. Probably, they are just changing Facebook statuses, but probably they are on the other side of the barricades trying to take the portal under their control.
Conclusions on the Ingress Project
Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen anything like Ingress in my life and I applause to the Google Niantic Labs guys with all the possible strength. They did a great job and they made lots of people to get up from their beds and start walking or cycling all over the city. This is great and this is inspiring. The augmented reality is getting closer and we are already a part of it. And what side are you going to choose?