Capture ALL The Portals

If you ever see a group like this out in public, don’t worry, they’re just playing Ingress.

Several months ago my husband started playing a mobile game called Ingress*. Unbeknownst to me, he signed me up to start playing it as well.  If you’re not familiar with it, Ingress is an augmented reality game (still in Beta) created by the folks at Google**, under the Niantic Labs Division. It’s like a combination of Capture the Flag and Risk and utilizes the GPS on your smartphone.

Some backstory for the game: The Niantic Project is an operation run by the NIA (National Intelligence Agency), whose goal is to explore and do research on a new energy found on Earth. This energy is called exotic matter (XM) and can be found at portals in cities around the world. These (publicly accessible) portals can be anything from murals to art sculptures to historical buildings to unique local businesses.

There are two schools of thought regarding this new, possibly alien, energy. The Enlightened want to harness and study XM in order to advance humanity. The Resistance want to protect humanity from XM, fearing that it will cause humans harm.

Now for the fun part. After doing some tutorials and deciding which faction you’d like to join (I’m an Enlightened agent), you head out into the real world and start actually playing. Your main objective as an agent, in the simplest sense, is to CAPTURE ALL THE PORTALS. There are other things you can do like link portals and create fields and such, which also help you level up, but capturing all the portals is key in helping your faction achieve global domination. *Cue evil laugh*

One of the things that I really enjoy about Ingress, other than destroying and capturing an enemy portal, is that it gets me outside exploring different parts of Oahu. I love discovering all the pieces of art and points of interest that I never knew existed prior to playing the game. There is so much history and culture right outside our doorsteps and most days we just pass it by without a second thought. Other awesome things about playing Ingress: You do A LOT of walking. Getting fit while playing a game? Good deal. And although you can play Ingress solo, it is more efficient and way more fun to play with a group.

I highly recommend giving Ingress a try. Learn about your city. Keep healthy. Make new friends. And if you’re a part of the Resistance, I have two words for you: HULK SMASH.

*Currently only available for Android users.

**At Google I/O 2013 Brandon Badger hosted a panel called Ingress: Design Principles Behind Google’s Massively Multiplayer Geo Game.

Photo Credit: Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili

About Arbine

When she isn't stuffing her face with sweets or watching Doctor Who Arbine can be found blogging at My Shiny Life. She pretends to be clever on G+, Twitter, and Facebook. Oh and she pins like it's her job.


  1. ChrisBird says:

    Looks like my new S4 and I will have to check this out. I see people on G+ talking about it all the time, but didn’t bother to ask about it. Thanks.

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    • Arbine says:

      You’re welcome! Just a few things: 1) If you’re requesting an invite code, it may take a little while for them to get back to you. If you know someone who has a code, ask if you they are willing to give it to you. (I gave my extra one out already. Sorry.) 2) Check to see if there’s a community on G+ for your local Ingress faction. It’s nice to have a higher level player show you the ropes. 3) Once you start playing: HACK ALL THE PORTALS. Even if you aren’t able to destroy or build portals, hack everything to build up inventory. 4) HAVE FUN!

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