I Tried Ingress

There’s a game on the Play Store called Ingress. It’s an augmented reality game that allows you to pick a faction and play a very large game of Capture All The Flags. There are portals all over the place and it’s your job to help your team control all of them. The more in your team’s colours, the more territory they control and the better.

It’s interesting in how it does require you to actually physically move to locations in order to perform actions. You are supposed to go and capture portals at physical locations that are set around some kind of landmark1 and once you’re there, you can actually act upon it.2 I can see it as a neat way to explore a new city.

I wish they’d done more with the narrative, though. There’s an intro telling you that the two factions are trying to control the portals because of Exotic Matter and Shapers and you can either be Enlightened or Resistance3. Green or blue. They really didn’t do much with the narrative from what I could tell, given that after that intro I had one other media file after a week of playing and that was it to enforce the story. Everything else was all about the game play,4 which left me a little disappointed because that felt like a lot of wasted potential.

But that wasn’t my ultimate issue with Ingress.

The real problem I had with it5 is that it completely drains my battery. It is, by far, the heaviest app I have ever had on my phone. With it requiring that your screen be on the whole time and it using data to constantly update your location, it just sucked the life out of my phone. I played mostly on my way to work in the morning and in the hour it took from stepping out the front door to sitting down at my desk in the office, I went from 100% to 18%. That was an hour.

It’s okay as a game. I probably would have continued it casually if it wasn’t such a drain, but when I’m out and in places where I would play it,6 I usually need my phone as, well, a phone. I can’t have it die on me because just one app.

  1. No matter how minor the landmark []
  2. My phone kept jumping me to random spots so I didn’t actually have to go to a lot of them to do anything []
  3. I was Enlightened []
  4. Why not make the fact that you’re on a phone part of the game play? Introduce the paranoia element of the enemy being everywhere and set it in the real world to make the experience more immersive? []
  5. And why I’ve uninstalled it []
  6. Waiting for something, killing time until the next thing I have to do, generally on transit []