Ingress, the world’s most successful and longest running massively multiplayer online augmented reality game, is a game played by people from all walks of life, any age, anywhere in the world, anytime. It was developed by Niantic and first came out in the 15th of November 2012 for Android users and 14th of July 2014 for iOS.
However, Ingress is more than an MMOARG. It is not yet another online game. More than four years later, most of the players who acquired a beta key during its first months are still active; with more players joining in every single day. So, what is Ingress? What makes it alive and attractive?
On the surface, Ingress is a 2D augmented reality game, the real world is the gaming field. It uses existing map technology (in most countries, Google Maps), agents (as players are called) travel the world to capture as many portals (or points-of-interest) as they can and defend it from the opposing faction. Repeat the whole process — capture, defend, attack, capture, defend, attack.
Sounds boring? I also heard “that’s it, that’s the whole point of the game?” Yes, that is the whole objective of the game; and no, it is not boring at all.
The Community & Events
As with most online games, the community plays a huge factor in its life span, as well as game events. Ingress, as a massively multiplayer online augmented reality game, requires one to go to multiple places to progress in the game. This eventually creates the need to meet other fellow agents.
In the Philippines, we have ResPH for Resistance Philippines and EnlPH for Enlightened Philippines. Two nationwide communities that were established by the pioneers in the game without any Niantic backing. Through these two, players can meet other agents to exchange intel (intelligence/information), ask for assistance, win in regular events, and to simply socialise.
I met a lot of great people in Ingress, who I would not have known otherwise.
Ingress is also considered as exergaming or exercise gaming. The best way to play this game is by walking (and biking to an extent). This keep our bodies active instead of the usual games where we are sitting for hours day and night. Walking is no longer boring.
There are many stories of Ingress players who were able to lose weight and maintain a good health. I, for one, is a living testimony of that. The more I am active, the better. If I become mostly inactive — due to work mainly — I gain weight… again.
With Ingress, I get to exercise while playing.
(Re)-Discover New Places
Where there are portals, there definitely is something new to discover. Ingress will make any gamer travel and go to locations s/he would not have visited. Parks in the middle of highly urbanised cities; arts that were largely ignored or taken for granted; and plain old travelling to new places because one wants to capture new portals.
Earlier this week, I was with a local ResPH group in Naic, Cavite for an Ingress session. It was the first time I ever joined an impromptu out-of-town road trip (they all live in Cavite) and the first time I visited Naic. I am not one to travel without planning, especially not during the afternoon.
For someone like me who is an aspie (asperger syndrome / autism spectrum), this was a huge challenge. It goes against every nerve in my body and against every neurons in my brain. It was very fun and a fulfilling experience for me. I enjoyed it immensely, discovered a new place (I will visit again), and met new people too.
Ingress is a way of life
If not for Niantic‘s Ingress I would not have met and made new friends; have not rediscovered my own city; had to force myself to exercise, or would not have anyway; and have not left my comfort zone in so many areas of my life.
Ingress, for me, is a way of life.
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Is a self-confessed bibliophile and technophile other than being an early adopter, an avid gamer, a geek, nerd, role-player, anime otaku, and trekker.
His first online project was in 1998 when he launched the unofficial website for Ansalon MUD (a text-based, telnet online game) and his own community forums Laibcoms.Community. By 2003 he created his work blog GM-Yukino which grew into gameshogun™, Snoworld™, and techmagus™ over the years.
Yuki’s latest project is Verses.Space™, a Free Culture / Creative Commons, collaborative, and shared-world, worldbuilding and writing project.
Ingress, It’s More Than Just A Game by gameshogun™ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.