Yes, we’re coming up for the third anniversary of Ingress, the game; I’m one of the few from the first late-2012 wave who are still on-board.
Why? · Well, I’ve walked 1,017km playing this game. I am at real risk of dying from boredom; in that I find most forms of exercise crushingly tedious and just won’t. Ingress is excellent as a defense against sinking into an entirely sedentary lifestyle.
Also, I’ve met a ton of interesting people, done a chase scene and park sprint in San Fran, hoisted a few beers, braved howling waterfront windstorms, and found interesting places in Tokyo and Hawai’i.
How’s the game going? · A lot of people are playing. The game operators are ridiculously tight-lipped about exactly how many, but here’s a little photo-essay. Let’s start in, say, Bordeaux, France, just another city in just another country. A pretty busy Ingress scene!
Now, let’s zoom out and look at all of France; at this resolution, you can only see links at least 10km in length. The big triangles are major efforts involving dozens of people working together, usually after weeks of planning.
The fact that those triangles are opaque mean they’re not just one field, they are lots and lots of stacked layers — which adds complexity to the organization.
Notice that big blue wedge heading off to the Northwest? Well, it turns out that on this particular day, some Ingress players had got seriously ambitious and went transcontinental:
And I don’t want to give an impression that this is all just a honkey Western-hemisphere thing; check out East Asia.
I’m impressed by the links from southeast Russia right across Mongolia into northern China, right across North Korea to Shanghai, and also over to Japan.
Everywhere, then? · Not quite. There is no Ingress being played in Syria or Libya, so I guess it doesn’t mix with war. But there are links all over Eastern Ukraine, into and out of Russia. In Pyongyang, there are a total of two occupied portals and one link between them. In that big Asian map, there’s a link right over Mongolia; zoom in on Ulaan Baatar and there’s lots of Ingress being played there. There are no links between Israel and any of its neighbors. But, unlike a year ago, there are links popping up in Sub-Saharan Africa; Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana, and so on.
Two weekends ago · There was a big “op” on; a bunch of us organized to cover Vancouver in 50 or so layers of blue. Katanashi and I took my old Audi up an abandoned logging road, then hiked a couple of km further up its undriveable part to a green portal that really had to be blue. (Bonus link, only usable by logged-in Ingress players.)
By the time we’d done our bit, it was raining sideways into gathering dusk; we were a pair of wet puppies as we inched the car round the boulders on the road downhill.
But we were smiling; Ingress will do that to you.