Monday, 20 October 2014

Ingress Got Me Out & About!

Just before I left for my trip to the USA, Ingress became available to iPhone users and Cold picked it up immediately. I have a few Ingress players on my Twitter feed too so I'd seen a few posts about it but never really took much notice. Sadly my Android phone is a 'lite' version which is nice and cheap on my monthly budget but doesn't have much memory so I couldn't play. All that changed when I arrived Stateside though. You'd think after almost 5 months apart that Cold would have put his phone away and talked to me - well, he did, for about 5 minutes at a time!

Yes, he was hooked. Everywhere we went, he had his phone in his hand to hack or capture portals, make links and fields and generally not pay much attention to crossing roads. At first it drove me crazy and I felt like slapping the phone right out of his hand but I'd budgeted to get myself a phone I could use in the US so once I bought my Samsung S3, I downloaded the game so I could play too.

I should mention that I had already downloaded it for my iPad and although my iPad is wi-fi only, I am able to use my old phone as a mobile hotspot so I had tried to play a bit at home. Unfortunately my whole town only had about 8 portals in it so it meant I needed to jump in the car every time I wanted to hack a portal! Obviously that wasn't practical, but in St Louis, Cold has about 10 portals within 50 yards of his building and 2 he can reach from his sofa! Needless to say, the old motto of 'if you can't beat them, join them' applied here and by 6 weeks into my stay, I hit Level 8 and over 1 million XP!

Living in a city with great public transport means you don't really need a car so we hacked portals as we walked or rode the bus. Once his vacation time was over and I had all day to myself, I found that I was going out to walk around the University Campus just to hack portals and maintain our coverage of the area. There's also a nice short walk to fill/maintain about 6 other portals too so if I didn't have time for a full Campus walk, I'd just go do the lap around the block instead!

It may seem sad but we also planned some of our day trips based on portal density. We were going places for me to see parts of the city I hadn't seen but if we couldn't decide where to go, the portal density was the deciding factor! There are various achievements in the game, including Unique Portals hacked and Unique Captures so it's a great motivator to get out and about to places you've not been before. We had a weekend in Philadelphia while I was there too and that gave us over 300 new portals on our scores.

Overall, it's a great idea for a game and if there's anything that will get a gamer out and about, it's having targets and achievements to reach. Now that I'm home, I will be keeping my eyes open for places and things to submit as new portals in my home town. Since I've been away, there are already 4 or 5 new portals here so I'm hopeful that a walk in town will not only keep me moving but will help my game experience too!

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