Having gotten an #ingressinvite yesterday, I took my new #Ingress account out for some action today. Here's how it went.
I'm not much on reading the instructions, so what follows is the description of me doing a semi-random walk while figuring the game out. I'd guess that I haven't begun to scratch the surface. But clearly I'm hooked. My gaming background is that I was an enthusiastic gamer through the end of the Baldur's Gate series and Half-Life, then dropped out of gaming to miss the MMO era. My perspective on gaming is, for better or worse, slightly out of date.
Baldur's Gate and titles in that series rank as my all-time favorite gaming experiences. I love the RPG notion of building a character over time and having adventures with NPCs in an imaginary world. I couldn't begin to guess how many hours I spent playing AD&D in high school and the digital extension of that type of gaming is a natural fit for me. One of the things I (possibly sickly) enjoy about that type of game is the buiding of experience. I (again, it's a sickness) enjoy wandering around for hours slaying beasts and brigands in random encounters to make the next level. #Ingress makes an orders of magnitude leap in how enjoyable this is.
My day started out driving around looking for portals. I basically wandered around northern Utah all day burning a tank of gas, enjoying the countryside and hacking portals in small rural towns, claiming several as my own. Not much #Ingress activity in Honeyville... The first realization that #ingress is different gaming experience came when I was passing people on the sidewalk listening to a voice from my phone count down the meters to the target. These people had no idea what I was doing. To them I was just a regular guy, face in phone. Not a clue that I was an agent of the #Resistance putting myself on the line to protect their humanity. It felt sneaky, dark, secretive and ... delicious.
Early in the afternoon I made my way back to Logan. Logan is, as far as I can tell, deeply in the clutches of the #enlightened and so I started my afternoon getting attacked when hacking enemy portals and collecting equipment I am too low level to use. Each experience adding a few more AP, taking me ever closer to leve 2 (still not there yet, dammit.) Much to my surprise, near the glowing field of green over Logan I found 3 #Resistance portals. Joy! I hacked, recharged and even managed to set up a link between some of them. All the while thinking this game is just great.
Then while walking back to my car, I get a message. "Ingress notification - Entities Destroyed by sudoman". What? I just left there? Back at the car I take a moment to look and not only is my link gone, now sudoman owns one of the three portals. I quickly drive over to the nearest one and start thinking about what I can do. Clearly he's higher level than me, the portals now have L2 resonators. I can't take them back. So I look around, recharge one that is still #Resistance , and then I realize that there, across the parking lot is sudoman. Sitting in his car, taking a portal and there is nothing I can do about it. Nothing.
I've been thrilled by unfolding scripted gameplay before. Endlessly entertained by randomly generated roving bands of things to match my skill against. Capture the flag and other versions of multiplayer FPS games have provided hours of happy action for me. But right now, through no action of a random number generator and actually requiring that a human get off the couch is a guy who arrived at this spot at the same time as me and then with clearly superior level and skill, taking what had belonged to my side while I sit helpless.
Utterly fcking amazing. Did he see me? Know I was there too? Oh crap, he's looking this way. What do I do? Am I actually nervous?
I couldn't have told you if you asked, but this is what I've always wanted gaming to be. Well done, Google. Well. fcking. Done.