Ingress is a free, invite-only game that a subdivision of Google devised. I normally describe it as a cross between a scavenger hunt and capture the flag. I also may comment that it’s what I always wished geocaching was like. It uses Google maps and landmarks. It encourages geeks to get outdoors and walk around while learning about their neighborhoods and history. It encourages geeks to meet people and stimulate their local economies. It’s a pretty neat game in all of those aspects. On the darker side, it’s also highly addictive and appeals to the geeks tendency to become obsessed with the game and fake world and story surrounding it sometimes a bit too much. While we’re used to seeing this with people glued to their computers in World of Warcraft, it gets a bit weirder when instead of a computer, it’s a phone and the great outdoors.
Below is a list of some signs, many inspired by things I’ve seen, that you may be taking Ingress too seriously. These are in no particular order. Please don’t get offended if some of these apply to you, especially since some of these stem from silly things I’ve found myself doing…
I’m sorry if these don’t make any sense because you don’t play the game yourself. If you’re interested in getting an invite and live in Massachusetts, look here. Enjoy!
- You won’t wear any clothes that are the color of the opposing faction.
- When you accidentally do, you feel like a traitor and hope there isn’t a meet up to play later (or if there is, hopefully it will be too dark, or maybe they’ll accept that you’re being ironic?).
- You make blue and green arts and crafts that show your Enlightenment or Resistance team spirit.
- If you’re a member of the Enlightened, you now look at your favorite pair of blue jeans with trepidation.
- If you’re a member of the Resistance (especially if you live in or near Boston), you might have severely conflicting feelings with what to wear, drink, and celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day.
- If you’re a member of the Resistance, frogs are not people and they club baby seals. If you’re a member of the Enlightened, smurfs are not people and they eat kittens.
- Gauging if something is awesome or horrible is mostly based on whether it’s your own faction that’s doing or saying it.
- When hiring someone at your company and looking at their resume, you wish it said whether they already played Ingress and which faction they belonged to.
- You have spent more time, energy, and thought on what constitutes cheating in Ingress than you have on real social and political issues such as bank bailouts, gun control, and human rights combined.
- You have a tiered list of what is “unforgivable cheating”, “regular cheating”, “sort of cheating”, and “uh, I hope this isn’t really cheating because I was doing it last night”.
- You’ve tried each form of cheating, but only as a painstakingly documented scientific experiment which you intend to submit to the game makers so that they can make the game better.
- You’ve spent so much time customizing your IITC map, including your own plugins, that you’re ready to either write your own version and rerelease it if it’s ever taken down due to TOS violations or weep uncontrollably.
- You’ve actually read the Ingress TOS.
- You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more due to account suspensions. It’s not due to cheating, since you love the game too much. It’s because you used an iPhone.
- You consider yourself a protector of the game and it’s community. You watch the comm like a hawk to look for suspicious activity both from your own faction and the opposing one. You use IITC plugins to assist (which is not cheating because it’s being used for good!).
- You submit new portals for areas you don’t even play in.
- You refer to certain portals as yours and get personally upset when someone tries to take them. You will remote charge from anywhere to defend them (toilet, funeral, your own wedding, jury duty, meeting with the boss, etc.).
- You write Niantic lengthy, scathing replies to their portal rejections (whether or not you send them to Niantic or just post them to G+).
- You’re seriously considering getting a permit to make a public art installation as close to your residence as possible just so you can get a portal that you can hack from your own home (possibly naked).
- You already have a portal that you can hack from your home, and you hack it with more dedication and regularity than brushing your teeth, caring for plants/pets, eating, sleeping, or just about anything (often while naked).
- You’ve submitted fake things as portals just to get more by where you live or work. “That advertisement counts as a mural, right?”
- You’re really unhappy and bitter that Zip Car and Jamba Juice are portals, especially since it interferes with the plausibility of the premise and overall game immersion.
The World of Ingress
- You’ve watched every single Ingress Report. You’ve read the The Alignment Ingress book. You’ve written articles (or at least long G+ posts) and consider yourself an expert with a valuable opinion.
- You loved every second of watching the Ingress Report (if you’re a part of the Resistance). You’ve been annoyed and made the joke about it being such and unbiased news source (if you’re part of the Enlightened). “Unbiased news source!? Yeah, just like Fox News!”
- You were excited to get an autograph from Klue or another Ingress actor as if they were a real celebrity. OMG, they let you get a picture with them too!
- You feel like you personally identify with the philosophies of a faction. You compare them to real life movements and ideals often.
- You have a very hard time calling Ingress a game or hobby because it all feels so real and important.
- You scroll back and read messages you missed on the COM when you open Ingress (if you close it).
Time & Money
- Being late to just about anything is acceptable if the detour was to hack, take, or upgrade portals.
- You pay a taxi driver to drive around a monument a bunch of times.
- Your faction pays for a Zip Car for you since you’re willing to drive anywhere at just about any time for the game.
- You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more because you wanted the experience of going to level 8 again.
- You researched what battery pack to buy to recharge your phone in the field more than you researched you car, house, pet, or major appliances before purchasing.
- You give out real life incentives to players to encourage your team: money, prizes, promises of beer, etc.
- You don’t obsessively check for Homestuck updates anymore because you’re too busy with Ingress. You’ve also stopped your regular WOW raids, haven’t played a board or card game recently, haven’t donated to hardly any Kickstarter projects, and almost missed the Steam Summer Sale this year completely.
- You actually have connected and memorized the faces, names, and Ingress handlesof the people that play in your area, even the ones you’ve never talked to. For those who cannot do this, you made a spreadsheet to help yourself.
- You’ve actually bought (or considered buying) people you know with Apple products an Android device so they can play with you.
- You wake up early so you have more time to play on your way to work. You go home from your job late so you have more time to play.
- You now walk or drive around playing Ingress when you can’t sleep at night instead of turning on the computer or TV.
- You never had a problem with your GPS, battery life, or RAM until you started playing Ingress. Now you are convinced you need a new phone or tablet.
Have your own ideas of what should be in this list? Add them to the comments below or send to TheSeize. They may be featured in a ‘part two’ post!