So a friend sent me an invite to play a mobile phone game called Ingress.  For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a bit like Shakespearean geocaching.  There are two factions: The Enlightened and The Resistance.   (Voltaire and I are homies, so I’ll let you decide which side I joined.)

After deciding on a team, you wander around looking for “portals.”  And by wander, I mean walk around in the real world.


The little green arrow on that screenshot is me.  You can see the directions and distance to a Resistance portal at the top left, and an Enlightened one at the top right.

These portals are everywhere.  There are millions of them.

wholefoodsportalLike the beer fridge at your local Whole Foods, for example.

Once you walk within range of one, you simply click the “HACK” button on the game app, and you’ll gain experience and some useful items.  After you hack a few portals, you’ll be able to “LINK” them together to create triangular fields which are worth both points and more experience.

It’s a fun diversion, and you’re encouraged after signing up for the game (although this is not required), to join a local group of players who will show you the ropes.

So I did.

But what they don’t tell you is that you actually have to meet someone, IRL, in order to gain access to said group.  Apparently the possibility of double-agents/moles is real, and they don’t cotton to that kind of thing ’round these digital parts.

So I met up with a couple players at the local McDonald’s last night.  Which was, as you might surmise, interesting.

They were probably in their early 60’s, both very nice people, and they both took this game very seriously.  Not only did they authorize me for access to the restricted Enlightened chat room, they also wanted to “raid” a bunch of local portals with me that night.  I explained that I didn’t have time, and that I really needed to get home.

They were…persistent.

So I showed them where a couple local portal clusters were, which they gleefully destroyed while I walked with them, and then I headed home…way too late to make dinner.

I still do like playing the game, but I must admit that I’m a bit leery of doing so with a group of strangers.  (Particularly so now that I’ve seen the pictures of handguns people have posted in their chat room.)

Anyway, if any of you are interested I’d be happy to send an invite.  Can’t say as I vouch for the whole group meet-up thing, though…

See you Monday.


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