Pokemon Go > Ingress

I bet Niantic wished they’d created a Pokemon game four years ago instead of labouring on Ingress all that time. Pokemon Go was released last week in the US and has already spawned many a meme on Facebook. It apparently has more concurrent players than concurrent Twitter users.

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My first, in the wild exposure to it was today when I saw some teenagers talking about it over lunch at a cafe.

Then some twenty-somethings arrived looking at their phone screens and shouting something about the game. In a daze they walked around with heads bent.

A short time later we walked past a group of kids, still in school uniform but with eyes firmly glued to phones.

Anyway, it was months after I started playing Ingress that I saw another person playing the game. Pokemon Go is already much bigger. Hopefully they’ll be able to keep the game interesting. My sone was never interested in Ingress, but he’s already asking about the new game. I don’t know which game will be better once Pokemon Go receives a few updates. It took ages for Ingress to be fleshed out so I expect much more from them.

I haven’t tried it because my phone is broken. Boo. I had the device on a table, swiped up the screen and the display suddenly went almost all flashy green. I rebooted but now the screen won’t respond to any key presses. It better be covered by warranty as I only bought it a few months ago!

Photos from Helios XM Anomaly in Dublin

Last weekend I took the train to Dublin to take part in my first Ingress event, the Helio XM Anomaly. All I knew was that both Resistance and Enlightened would be there fighting over portals but not much more than that.

Fights for portals were intense 15 minute battles. It must have made a strange sight watching two groups of adults bent over their phones on a street or park tapping at their phones. The only thing heard were the frequent shouts calling “DEPLOY”, “MOD” or “CUBE” as we shouted what we were doing. Who won? The Resistance of course!

The next (closest) Helios event is in Manchester but if there’s another one in Ireland I’d like to go if I can. Good fun, lots of walking.

Almost 23,000 steps around Dublin

Portals in the Sea

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Garrettstown Beach in Co Cork boasts a number of attractions. Chief among them are the waves loved by surfers in one area and a long sandy beach next door.

There are also a few Ingress portals there and I managed to capture some of them. The two in the sea only have a couple of resonators and not the full complement of eight because I was standing at the bottom of the sea wall with my hand outstretched trying to reach them. After almost getting caught by a sudden wave I beat a hasty retreat.

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When the tide goes out however I’ll be back!

Michael’s Rebel Control Field

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longest-field I think Michael Collins would have been liked to see this. An Ingress Resistance control field all the way from his memorial statue in Clonakilty to two portals next to Blarney Castle.
It’s certainly the longest control field I’ve ever created, probably stretching 40-50km. Unfortunately it’s thin as the Blarney portals are fairly close to each other and I don’t have a key for the portal in Clonakilty so it’ll disappear in about a week.

Ingress has a really high attrition rate. Unless there are portals within walking distance of you (or you have loads of spare time) it’s a chore getting to them to hack or capture them. I’ve seen several Resistance players who were initially keen on the game suddenly disappear, never to be heard from again. Thankfully the Enlightened have two French lads who are really into the game so there are always loads of portals for me and a few others to attack. Now if only I had the time thing sorted out ..

Oooh, looks like I have an invite to hand out!

The Weakest Link

As a Resistance agent in the game of Ingress it can be frustrating to see your local city or locality covered in green control fields. Blarney where I live is firmly blue but Cork isn’t so lucky. So when a huge control field popped up extending from Blackrock Castle to the City to Cork Airport to Carrigaline I had to find a way to bring it down.

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On Sunday I did just that. The Old Bridge portal was level 4 or 5 and had at least one level six resonator. I took down some of the resonators easily enough but the final L4 resonator proved tricky as OliverIE recharged it remotely while I attacked! The most worrying part of the capture was the group of 13-15 year old boys crossing the bridge who chanted penis jokes behind me! Idiots. One of the downsides of visiting some locations I guess. Oliver will earn a tidy sum of AP capturing the portal back again too. (You’re welcome!)

Ingress is quite limited as a game but it’s a very interesting experiment. The hack/capture portal gameplay is one where you have to cooperate or at least be mindful of the enemy. If your portals are too strong you’ll have a nice set of virtual points on a map but you won’t level up any time soon. The “winning side” in any area don’t get any points for maintaining a huge control field.
When you first start up the game there’s a quick tutorial where the players runs through missions designed to familiarise them with the game. Unfortunately that’s about as far as directed gameplay goes. Hopefully in the future missions will be added with objectives for players. Having said that, if this is a taste of what “augmented reality” games can be like I’d like more please. It’s a good excuse to get out walking if nothing else.

I still think it’s a devious ploy by Google to collect photos and information about monuments, statues and places of interest. We’re also feeding them very useful walking information connecting those places.