Ingress: Striving Towards Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has become a common phrase in the talk about advancements of games on media based platforms. the public has been becoming more involved with the connection between the real world and the virtual, this coming in the form of ARGs or Alternate Reality Game. In these games there is a fictional story line, but there are aspects of the game that at least partly show up within the real world wither it be via a website profile for characters of side videos that expose some of the in game secrets.
One of these ARGs is a game called Ingress that is available as an app on Smartphones. Originally this game was only for Android devices, but in 2014 became available on iphones as well. The game play itself is relatively simple revolving around attacking, capturing, and securing portals that appear on the screen. There are two teams competing over these portals that have opposite views on what they are being used for. The Resistance thinks that they are bad and should control them so that they are unable to be used while The Enlightenment want to use the alien technology presented by exotic matter to make advancements. By capturing portals the “Agent” or player claims one for the side, though they can be retaken by the other side.
Other than attacking, defending, and hacking portals the game play is actually quite boring by itself. There is only so much you can do looking at a screen do the same thing over and over again to different or the same portals. For players that are more involved with the distant story line there are worldly connections outside of the app, such as characters accounts on google and channels on YouTube that give reports and updates. These applications are seeming supposed to keep the people already invested interested in what is going on and events that could be going on that connect the other “agents” to get them together. For beginning players it also tries to get them up to date with what has happened before they entered the game by the reports that pop up frequently.
However, even with the resources online and live events, the main application of the game that appears to keep people playing is the real world map that is used and the portals that are on landmarks. As long as there is phone service in the area then the phone can generate a map. People have found this function useful when they are in large cities or new places, so that they just open the app to find the important places because they will have portals on them. To some it has become more of a glorified tour guide than a game. The new wider range of people being able to get the app has probable also lead to the wider view it being more of an interactive map than a global virtual alternate reality game.
Niantic Labs. “Ingress.” Ingress. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.
Suellentrop, Chris. “Where Virtual Meets Real.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.