Ingress: The War Between Frogs and Smurfs in Your Own Backyard


Yesterday I was catching up on my web comic feed and read about Ingress in Real Life Comics. It is an Augmented Reality game put out by Google that is playable on Android and iPhones. It is a little bit MMO, a little bit Geocaching and a little bit of FourSquare. These are three things I enjoy so (predictably) I was immediately drawn into the game.

The first thing you do is choose from one of two factions to join. You can join the Resistance, who are fighting against allowing the “Shapers” to modify humanity in order to save our humanity. The other option is joining the Enlightenment and fighting to help the “Shapers” to modify and improve humanity.

Normally, I would choose the Resistance because rebelling is what I do. This time I chose the Enlightenment because it seems it might get humanity a step closer to the Singularity and I think that is an interesting idea.

I couldn’t wait until morning to try out the app so I went on a midnight jaunt to the nearest portal to hack it. I didn’t know what I was doing (having failed to go all the way through the tutorial) so I didn’t really know what to do when I got there other than randomly pushing every button on the app console until it did something. It was still fun.

First thing the next morning, I completed all the tutorials and went for a walk collecting XM on the way to attacking a Resistance-held portal at the library down the street. Hooked, I found time later on in the day to hack a couple more portals, and attack the library again. When I did that, I saw a new Enlightenment portal across the street and used my new-found skills adding resonators and linking to it.

I know all this sounds like silly, pretend goofing around covered in a layer of jargon and it is. However, it is fun and got me out of the house and walking around my neighborhood. Speaking of which, as I walked home from my mission while checking my stats and accomplishments in the app viewfinder, I looked at the Fitbit on my other arm to see how many steps I had accumulated during the day . It was then that I realized that I was already walking blithely towards the Singularity and that I was okay with that.

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