Signs That You May Take Ingress Too Seriously

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!

Faction Pride

  1. You won’t wear any clothes that are the color of the opposing faction.
  2. 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?).
  3. You make blue and green arts and crafts that show your Enlightenment or Resistance team spirit.
  4. If you’re a member of the Enlightened, you now look at your favorite pair of blue jeans with trepidation.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Gauging if something is awesome or horrible is mostly based on whether it’s your own faction that’s doing or saying it.
  8. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You’ve actually read the Ingress TOS.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!).


  1. You submit new portals for areas you don’t even play in.
  2. 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.).
  3. You write Niantic lengthy, scathing replies to their portal rejections (whether or not you send them to Niantic or just post them to G+).
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. You’ve submitted fake things as portals just to get more by where you live or work. “That advertisement counts as a mural, right?”
  7. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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!”
  3. 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!
  4. You feel like you personally identify with the philosophies of a faction. You compare them to real life movements and ideals often.
  5. You have a very hard time calling Ingress a game or hobby because it all feels so real and important.
  6. You scroll back and read messages you missed on the COM when you open Ingress (if you close it).

Time & Money

  1. Being late to just about anything is acceptable if the detour was to hack, take, or upgrade portals.
  2. You pay a taxi driver to drive around a monument a bunch of times.
  3. Your faction pays for a Zip Car for you since you’re willing to drive anywhere at just about any time for the game.
  4. You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more because you wanted the experience of going to level 8 again.
  5. 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.
  6. You give out real life incentives to players to encourage your team: money, prizes, promises of beer, etc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. You’ve actually bought (or considered buying) people you know with Apple products an Android device so they can play with you.
  10. 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.
  11. You now walk or drive around playing Ingress when you can’t sleep at night instead of turning on the computer or TV.
  12. 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!

Atari Jaguar

I’ve been watching old episodes of The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) lately. Most of the time his opinions are spot on. Unlike most people my age, I actually did play the Atari Jaguar. I have an uncle that until recently lived in a room in my grandparent’s basement. A grown man living in his parent’s basement with lots of expensive video games? Nooooo! Truthfully, that’s where the stereotype ends as his biggest hobby next to video games, music, TV, and movies was bicycles. That’s right, instead of sitting his fat ass down and playing too many video games, he’d sit his Lance Armstrong biking ass down and play too many video games.

Growing up, my grandparents watched me and my older brother a lot. As you can guess, we spent a lot of time down in our uncle’s room playing games. For this reason, I had a history with the Atari ST, Atari 800, etc. without being a spoiled rich kid. At home we had video games, but only because he conspired to have our family members pitch in to buy us games around the holidays. Most games were shared between me and my older brother and we never expected to get more than one. When my little brother exits the holidays with eight new Xbox360 games I think about that and resist the temptation to tell him in an old person voice, “In MY day, we only got one crappy cartridge, and we were GRATEFUL!”

When the AVGN quoted, “Where did you learn to fly,” not only did I remember that game and the annoying voice, I remembered my older brother repeating it during the car ride home, the next day, a year later, and maybe one of the last times I saw him. The Tempest game DID have great music, but I sucked at it as much as I sucked at the arcade game. I avoided that one too. Yes, I report that kids did easily figure out how to turn the gore on Kasumi Ninja. We did. You know what? It was post Mortal Kombat, and both me and my brother had seen much more gorey movies, so it was another game played a few times and tossed aside.

I have never disagreed more with the AVGN when he brought up Attack of the Killer Penguins. I had nearly forgot about that awesome game. The AVGN didn’t say it was bad, but he did say that the premise was so messed up that only someone drinking or on drugs would be into it. Yeah, or maybe a couple of crazy, nerdy kids.

Besides this game, I spent most of my time with the Jaguar playing Theme Park. This was your typical simulation game only instead of a city, an ant colony, or earth, it was a theme park. Awesome. You soon learn, however, that it isn’t easy building and managing a theme park. People are whiny, throw their garbage around, rides break, etc. I was always good at the simulation genre, but this one was tricky. Each time I played it I was like, “Okay, I’ve thought about it, and I think I know how I’m going to make this theme park really work this time!” but I never did as well with it as say SimCity.

Another game I spent some time on was Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tails. I had the Super Nintendo Bubsy and loved it. That means a lot considering I’m not a sucker for side scrollers. This Bubsy game was the same idea, but something lost in translation. It was a lot harder and for the wrong reasons. The SNES one had spot on controls and balance. This one would make you die even if you didn’t really touch an enemy. It was also just a million times less amusing and creative. My brother gave it a lot more play than I did, and I have a feeling the AVGN who seems biased for side scrollers, may have even liked it.

The other few I was surprised he didn’t touch on, and I won’t touch with a ten foot pole, is Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. Oh, wait, I remember why he didn’t cover it. He couldn’t get the Jaguar CD add on to work. My uncle had a working one. I don’t know if he still has it or it still works today, but I guess I have the happy knowledge to know I got to touch something in classic gaming that AVGN never has. I will sit a moment in smug satisfaction. No, I could never get anywhere in those games. Even my older brother who beat Brain Dead 13 never got into them.

A game I loved to play that was missing from the review is Rayman. Yes, another side scroller that I will actually rave about. It was silly cartoony fun. The levels were varied enough with Rayman gaining different powers as time went on. The difficulty was there, but not too much, and the game play was fluid. I mean, this game looked 64-bit. It was colorful and smooth. I’ve never played the Playstation or other versions, so I’m not sure how this measures up compared to the cross platform releases first hand, but the internet tells me that the other console versions were missing areas and levels.

Lets end this on another cross platform game that deserves mention: Worms. If you didn’t know it ever was out for the Jaguar, you would probably remember the PC version. It’s silly. You’re about as likely to blow up yourself than the enemy worms. But you know what, it was fun.

You know what else is fun? I can’t even rememeber if I played this game on the Jaguar or if I’m just remembering playing it in my Uncle’s room on the PC. How is that fun? This is a point that needs to be made. The AVGN is maybe about my age, playing these games now and analyzing them now. Even if you take a great game of then and play it now, it’s flaws will be apparent. I feel lucky that I grew up with video games and I feel lucky that they grew up with me. I was able to appreciate the older games the way they were meant to be apprciated in- the context of the time. Every now and then the AVGN says, “You have to remember, this came out in a time when…” and it’s true. There was no bar, no standard, and no formula. When a mediocre or terrible game comes out now, it confuses me. There’s really no reason. We have the technology and the benefit of experience. When a great game came out before, its boundaries were pushed and sometimes the game even lagged as they tried to push the limit of what could be done graphically. Sometimes you’d wonder how they fit so many hours of game play on one cartridge. When I played these games when I was a kid, I wondered about how amazing it would have been without those boundaries. It’s sad to see that having these much more limitless tools at the fingertips of the designer and developer doesn’t automatically raise the bar. A crappy video game today is still a crappy video game, but it has a lot less excuses. It’s like when you’re a kid and you pee the bed and it’s not that big of a deal. Fast forward to when you’re thirty, peeing the bed is not only unacceptable, people will look at you cross eyed and ask, “What the is wrong with you!?”.

You have to understand that, yes, Jaguar wet the bed sometimes. Jaguar was the first 64-bit gaming system. It was flawed, but so is the first of anything that comes out (and I don’t just mean video game consoles either). Back then it was a lot of trial and error and working with not only new technologies, but really a new artistic medium.

Honey, I’m Going To Kill You

The number one question I’ve been asked lately is, “How are you liking your new place?” or some variant of it. Really, what I am being asked is, “Are you ready to kill your boyfriend yet?” since I just moved in with him at the beginning of last month.

That question is understandable, since if you’ve spent any length of time with us, we might have slipped up and said to one another, “I am going to kill you,” while in your presence. If that is the case, let me explain.

I don’t know who started it, but it’s really an endearing expression of affection between us. If we start to drive each other nuts we say, “I’m going to kill you. No really. I. Am. Going to kill you.” Sometimes we accompany that with graphic details about how, when, and with what. Other times this will be punctuated with noises like “AAHHHRRGG!!”.

I’m sure that’s this is inappropriate. A couples counselor, if we saw one, would shake their head and put little notes in their pad. They may tisk and ask us, “How do you feel when she says she’s going to kill you?”

“With a super sheep,” I add helpfully.

“With a super sheep-”

“-from the game Worms,” I add to make sure she has the proper context.

“From the game Worms-”

“You know, that will probably just end up killing both of us, and maybe even the cat,” I muse out loud.


“I feel… frustrated,” admits the boyfriend, “It’s so easy to blow up yourself in Worms. The more fun the weapons, the easier it is to destroy yourself. It’s confusing. I don’t know if the point of the game is to actually win or just blow everything up. You know, either way I also feel like it’s kind of fun. So to answer your question, it feels frustrating, and confusing, but also fun.”

I squeeze his hand because I know exactly what he means, “We can play a different game if that makes you feel better, sweetie. We don’t have to play Worms.”

Our couples counselor, who we don’t actually have, scribbles down some more notes. I imagine it would have in all capital letters, with a lot of punctuation, a circle, and a underline. It is probably the word worms. I’m going to assume that is because she hasn’t played the game and is going to download it when she gets home, but I might be wrong.

On the bright side, neither of us ever make good on our threat. I feel like it makes me feel better to say it, and it makes me feel better to laugh in his face when he says it.

“I’m going to kill you.”

“Hee hee hee.”

“No really.”

“Aw, you’re so cute when you’re homicidal. Let me pinch your cheek!”

But really though, if he doesn’t clean whatever crap he spilled all over our stove I’m going to kill him. I don’t even know what it is. It’s yellow. What could he possibly been cooking that is yellow. It’s kind of gelatinous in some spots and crispy in others. So I asked him what in the name of names he spilled all over our stove that was freaking me out so much,

“Yeah. I don’t know what that is.”

“There’s a lot of it.”

“Yeah, hun. I don’t know.”

“You must have done it last night. But what is it?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t look like anything I cooked. I don’t remember spilling anything.”

When I lived by myself I was annoyed enough about cleaning up after a cat. Now I have a big hamster with opposable thumbs to look after too. No, he doesn’t chew the sides of his house or anything like that. I don’t know why I’m calling him a hamster exactly. I just wanted to call him a pet of some kind. Otherwise I’d have to call him a child, and I don’t need a child that’s almost thirty. Then again, I don’t need a really tall hamster either.

He’d say something like, well at least this hamster can cook (if he’d ever play along and call himself a hamster).

And well, I like his cooking. However, cooking is fun. Scraping a yellow entity off of our stove isn’t. If I cooked, this inter dimensional being now attached to our stove would never have been called into existence. I am very good at both cooking and not summoning disgusting other-worldly beings that adhere to kitchen appliances. I’m convinced that when the boyfriend cooks, he opens a series of portals, and instead of being useful portals that allow him to reach across the kitchen while still standing at the stove, they are portals to other planes of existence which allow things like whirlwinds from the Elemental Planes of Air to come swirling into the kitchen and take everything out of all the cabinets and scatter them all over the counters. Air Elementals are notoriously messy eaters and will also taste everything and leave tiny bits of it all over the floor, counters, and stove.

I don’t think the yellow thing on our stove was from the Elemental Planes. I think we need to look in H. P. Lovecraft books for this one folks. This worries me because I have enough to deal with without Cthulhu running around our apartment fighting with the already present Air Elementals.

Did I just hear the yellow thing on the stove mutter Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn? I swear I did.

I mean, if someone said, “Hey, I’ll do all the cleaning if you do the cooking,” I’d say yes too. That sounds amazing. I’d be the next Master Chef. I’d cook even when I didn’t want anything.

On a serious note, I’m not saying that the boyfriend is a slob who sits around who does nothing. He does a lot. I know not everything is going to be a 50/50 split. It’s impossible, and we shouldn’t be keeping score anyways. But if I clean everything else, I do want to be able to say, “Hey, I did everything else in the apartment- can you clean the kitchen floor please?” and have him say, “Of course! After you slayed that ochre jelly monster (turns out it was a Dungeons and Dragons monster, not Lovecraft) and saved me, I am eternally in your debt. It is the least I can do. Let me also make you a mojito.”

He does make me mojitos, but so far the asking for help has been met with mixed results. I understand that Skyrim has been enslaving a lot of the geek race recently. However, what about my video game needs? If I’m spending all this time slaying real life ochre jellies who want to be the next Master Chef, when do I get time to decompress and play the new officially released Minecraft?

I’m also not asking for the privilege of redoing tasks later. “You want your floor clean? Here. I dumped some water on it. The cat even helped me. You know how he loves to knock over his water bowl. Problem solved!”

Maybe my cat isn’t being a jerk. Maybe he is trying to help me clean the floor. He has no thumbs. That’s so sad. I just realized this whole time I’ve been yelling at my poor cat who has a no thumb disability but still insists on trying to help me with chores. I’m a terrible person. My cat is the Tiny Tim of cats.

I also don’t want to hear, “I got the worst of it” meaning that all the dirt was swept under the rugs. We don’t have rugs, but I’m just thinking of those cartoons where people sweep all the dirt under the rug. Don’t they realize that they’re putting as much effort into carefully sweeping under a rug as they would to sweep it into a dustpan and empty it into the trash? This is doubly bad since we don’t own rugs. Imaginary rugs don’t conceal dirt at all.

I’m not asking for perfection. Depending on who you ask, I am either a neat freak or a slob, so taking an average, I think I’m moderately reasonable about how I want the living space. The boyfriend, however, has a sight disorder when it comes to whether something is clean or not. He doesn’t notice. He cares and knows how to clean. He just doesn’t know how to tell when it’s time to clean. I can help here. Honey, it’s dirty. YOUR WELCOME. And if you don’t help me, I’m going to kill you.

Mushroom Tree, Tree Mushroom

Lately my little brother and I have been playing Minecraft together when we’re not even on at the same time. We’re just adding onto the ridiculous things that other builds.

Our resulting art has entered a mushrooms pretending to be trees (see above) and trees pretending to be mushrooms that will serve as a frame to a glass house that holds cake (see below) phase.

It’s kind of magical going on the server and seeing what silliness has appeared since I was last on.