I’d heard rumblings of the experience a few months ago: an augmented reality game linked to Google and exclusive to users of Android-powered smartphones. Ingress. Intrigued, I deposited my email address into the mysterious black box on the front page of the website and watched it wisp away, disappearing into the chamber-like cavern of the digital ether.
This morning, upon the routine six am survey of my overnight email, I noted a message pending from “Niantic Project Operations.” It contained not much more than a one-time activation code and a few lines of cryptic text:
The Ingress has begun.
Life seems “normal” but your world is being infiltrated. A mysterious energy has been unlocked by a team of scientists in Europe and is spreading around the world. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.
There are two factions. The Enlightened seek to spread this influence. The Resistance struggle to protect what’s left of our humanity.
My patience had been rewarded: I had finally been invited to play.
I downloaded the app, activated my account, and set out into the now-pulsing-with-glowing-orbed streets of Edmonton to play my first augmented reality experience. I am a member of The Resistance. I am shaded in blue. I am collecting XM. I am still in training.
Whatever I am, I’m still not sure what any of this means… except perhaps that the battery on my phone is going to take a pounding in the coming weeks. If it turns out to be interesting, I will keep this blog updated with my impressions. If not… well, this might be the last you read of my experience with Ingress.
(And sorry, I have no invites to share yet.)