Ingress invite received. Now what?

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IngressAh, the sweet scent of exclusivity… Do you remember when Google was giving away invites to GMail? How about Google Wave? Now it’s Ingress, the New Hot Game that everyone wants.

Of course I wanted an invite too, given how everyone was excited about hacking the portals, establishing the fields, capturing minds (or freeing people’s minds, depending on if you’re on the Enlightened or Resistance’s side). Slick commercials warm up the interest even more, so yes, I did send a request for an invite.
It took more than a month, which, judging by reports from other users, is about right. Unfortunately I got a bit jaded during that time. I’ve read a bunch of articles, I’ve browsed Ingress communities (there are many of them on Google Plus) and it all gave me a rather large expectation of actively playing here and there. But when activation finally came…

Well, I’d say it’s a great game if you live downtown. And totally empty ghost-town with a few crickets chirping here and there if you are in the boonies in suburbs. When the whole point is to interact with “portals” and, essentially, do the “capture the flag in the area” type of activities, but there are no portals nearby, interest wanes pretty fast.

I mean yes, if I drive for half an hour to the northern part of town, people say there’s a portal there. And many more downtown (they have statues there in addition to restricted parking and one-way streets, McDonald’s doesn’t qualify for the Enlightened’s interest) but instead of a casual game that you might flick on while waiting for your food at a restaurant, this becomes “go there to play” activity type of thing, which is not what I want at this time. I already have a game that has “portals” everywhere — it’s called Foursquare 🙂

Application-wise, the Ingress is alright, but a bit awkward. Menus are not standard, and application doesn’t like hardware menu button on my Galaxy S II. Rendering is pretty fast. No, you don’t get Virtual Reality view with half-transparent windows overlaying view of the street (that would be cool though). It’s a map with dots and portal icons. But you can’t zoom out beyond a certain point (or at least I couldn’t do it, it allowed to zoom out a bit and then to rotate the map) so I don’t know where exactly other portals might be. Driving through the town while staring at the screen to try to find a portal? That’s a recipe for disaster, no thanks.

Beyond original training missions, which I completed on the first day, nothing new has popped up yet. So, I guess, it’s time to uninstall it and, perhaps, come back later, when some more content appears.

I wish there was a way to pass along my invite to somebody else, who would be more actively hunting down portals and feel a bit more emotionally envolved with Resistance or Enlightened…

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