The other day xd1936, tweeted about Ingress. I was aware of the game but I had no idea that it had launched and was actually playable. So I signed up for it, received an invite today, and spent my lunch hour messing around with it.

Ingress is an augmented reality game that uses google maps to layout various portals, XM (like PAC MAN's pellets), and I'm sure other things that I haven't figured out yet. The whole thing is played on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Basically anything that's mobile.

There are two factions and you choose which one you want to be a part of. Then you basically walk around collecting the little pellets (XM) attacking things (portals). It's kind of like a real-time tower defense game, using a real city and real buildings and statues (as portals). Of course, there's more that you can do in the game, but that's the basics gist of it.
Portals are landmarks like buildings and statutes. And they can be controlled by either faction. If they're not controlled by the faction you're in, you can "hack" the portal and gain items.

If you own the portal I assume you can upgrade it to reinforce it against attacks. When I was walking downtown I didn't run into a single portal that was controlled by the faction I chose, so I just walked around hacking stuff.

There's a chat window that also serves as an activity feed, so you can see what is going on all over the place in the game. People can also chat with each other. I haven't used it too much, but I did see stuff going on in Wisconsin and Chicago as well as the Detroit area.

You level up by doing things; collecting the pellets (XM), attacking things (portals), and what not. It's a really neat concept on a mobile platform. I can see this really being more engaging in a large city where there are a lot of players.

The whole thing reminds me a little bit of Majestic, which I never had an opportunity to check out. Of course, this isn't a real-time thriller, but they both layer a game on top of reality instead of a traditional game where a whole new world is presented to the player.

Anyway, since I work downtown I look forward to poking around with it some more.


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