Ingress has become something of an obsession to the folks over on Google+ in the last month. Like many, I waited more than a little impatiently to see if I’d be one of the lucky ones to get an invite to the currently closed beta of Ingress.
And a few weeks later, I did. Lucky me! Now I’d finally be able to see what all the buzz was about.
The initial experience of Ingress is slick and well thought out. You run through a set of tutorials that show you what to do, and you choose whether to become one of the Enlightened or join the Resistance. Easy enough.
Then you’re out in the world, with your smartphone and the Ingress app, getting engaged in the battle. That’s where I ran into trouble. I found a number of portals quite easily – there are four within a block of my home, and two more by my office. The only problem is, the battle has been advancing while I was waiting to play. As a lowly Level 1 newbie up against enemy portals several levels higher than me, I haven’t much of a chance to successfully attack them, and successful attacks are necessary to advance in level.
That creates a frustrating Catch-22, and I don’t know whether I’ll keep trying or not.
I’m disappointed, because I love the idea of Ingress. A game that requires real-world engagement instead of sitting home in front of your computer is a great idea. The mythology around Ingress is a lot of fun. But the barrier to entry, especially for places like the Bay Area with a lot of geeks, is a real issue.