I’ve been playing Ingress for a couple of weeks now. I’m enjoying playing, though sometimes I fall out of love and can’t be arsed with switching it on. Other times, it’s taken me out and gotten me to do things I normally wouldn’t like going up and around Calton Hill – something I’d never really done before despite having lived in Edinburgh since 2004.
It’s a big game of red vs. blue, really – a perpetual war over key points on the map that must be secured and held against the enemy, with one difference: it’s actually green vs. blue. There’s a storyline that goes with it and a lot of commitment from both players and organisers, but the central mechanic is beautiful in itself. Portals, those key points that must be secured, are linked to significant locations in human culture. Places of beauty, of history, of culture. Places like Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, the Scottish National Gallery. They can crop up on any statue, any monument. And I’m almost at my point here: this is a game that encourages geeks to get out into the world and explore, to find new and interesting places. Admittedly, it’s to go there and capture or fortify portals, but you’re getting people out of the house and going to places they might not have done before.
That it works, that people are going and doing that is worthy of praise in and out of itself. That there’s a community built up and you’re meeting and talking to new people as well – that’s even better.
If anyone wants to give it a try, I have a few invitations. You’ll need an Android device (though there is apparently an iOS port), and a Google account. Let me know.