If you’re not an Android user, you can go back to what you were doing with your life. If you are and you like games, this post is for you.
Duane Reade recently put me onto a game released by Google called Ingress. The best way to describe it is a virtual reality battle between The Enlightened and The Resistance geared around this stuff called Exotic Matter (XM). The Enlightened wants to find and collect the matter, which is supposed to be the way of the future. The Resistance wants to protect humanity as it is. I chose the Enlightened route, so the missions I saw were geared around finding it.
So how do you find this Exotic Matter? Well, that’s where the game gets fun…at least when it’s functioning properly. Ingress taps into your phone’s GPS feature and brings up a map of your current location. From there, you receive an incoming message that tells you what you need to do – most of which involves locating portals, finding this Exotic Matter, creating links between locations, and hacking stuff. You do all this by walking throughout your city, following instructions, and racking up points, energy, weapons, and other items to help further your cause. You can think of yourself as an agent responsible for completing a series of tasks in collusion with other agents on your side. You can also visit www.nianticproject.com for cryptic clues and secret codes to help you with the game.
You may find yourself wandering down streets or into places you’d never go. And if you’re not careful, you may end up in the middle of the street trying to tap a portal. So be careful out there!
For today, I wanted to share some of the key features from Ingress and my mission for Duane Reade. I’ve mentioned a few above, but this will give you more insight into the game, where it’s good and where it needs work.
The incoming messages make you feel like someone’s really reaching out to you about important an mission. You get to hear a nice government lady voice give you instructions while you also read them on your screen. If there aren’t any portals or items in your area, it’ll set up a training mission so you can get acquainted with how to play. I found the instructions clear, but when I went into the actual game mode, it got a little confusing and I ended up doing a lot of standing around in the cold trying to follow the instructions.
The GPS map was accurate and you could see all sorts of Exotic Matter floating around (which gave you energy when you captured it.) The problem was my screen kept going black and I couldn’t see anything at all. I tried resetting my phone, logging out of the game then back in, but I’d end up with a blank map that I could click on, but not see what I was doing. The screenshot below is a good example of what I mean. This was pretty frustrating.
Secret Signals for Those in the Know
So part of the mission involved me going to into Duane Reade stores, where there was supposed to be a window cling on the entrance, and then a code to input located somewhere in the freezer section related to the Ingress game. I went to two separate Duane Reade locations and wasn’t able to find any signs of the game: one on 8th Avenue in the Chelsea area, and another up in Harlem on 145th street. I even went as far as asking store reps and they had no clue what I was talking about.
I guess they weren’t in the know. I felt simultaneously special and flabbergasted.
Had I been able to find the clues and secret signals, I imagine this would have felt somewhat rewarding and I’d have been able to tell you more about the game. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out. These freezers were cold-hearted, man.
The game has a cool chat feature where you can see people all over the world playing the game. You can see them locating items, creating portals, basically all the stuff you’re able to do. You can also chat with them. I was giving the game a go alone, which probably hampered my experience a bit, as I noticed a lot of people going back and forth with each other and asking to meet up at certain locations. Should you give the game a try, I suggest trying to get a friend or two to test it out with you. This might add to the experience, and if there’s something you don’t know, they may be able to tell you. I tried to send out an SOS, but didn’t get any helpful replies from my Enlightened counterparts around the world.
Overall, I think Ingress is geared toward people that like role-playing games and have the free-time to walk through the missions and wage war against their friends in the real world. As someone with a tight schedule, the chances of me regularly playing this game during the week are slim, unless there are some quantifiable rewards that can be taken offline (points that can be used in stores, etc). Otherwise, I can’t see myself venturing out into the cold on a Saturday to chase sparkly spots on my phone or hack a random portal. But if you’re into this type stuff, I suggest you download it yourself from Google Play and give it a go. And should you go that route and happen upon a Duane Reade, let me know if you find anything on the #DRIngress front. Well actually, don’t let me know because I’ll be salty. You don’t want to see me salty. Anyway, here are a few activation codes to get you started. Pick one and get it popping
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric