Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not Your Momma's Video Game... Or Is It?

The world of video games have changed since I was a kid. I used to meet my friends at the video arcade to play pinball, Asteroids, Defender - all the classics. We would spend hours trying to beat each other's high scores.  Sometimes we would opt for a game of pool or foosball.  Things have changed. Now everyone has their own computer or game console (or both), and they can spend hours enjoying their favorite games - either alone or with a group of virtual players that they might not ever meet in person.

I'm not a fan of the shooter games my son enjoys. I can't seem to get the hang of moving, choosing weapons, and firing, and I get killed a lot.  I've tried the games available on Facebook, and they're fun at first, but soon get tedious. I lost interest, and my crops and animals all died from neglect. 

Not long ago, my son and his friends invited me to try a new game with them. Ingress is a GPS based game from Google that you play using your phone. (Sorry iPhone users, but this one is for Android.) I won't bore you with the back story of the game - you can get that from the website if you're interested. I will tell you that I'm really enjoying this game. You can't play the game sitting in your home, you have to go to various locations around your neighborhood, and to be effective, you need to team up with other players. Yes, actually play the game with other people - in person. 

James and I usually get out and play for a couple of hours each weekend. We've discovered more of our hometown by getting out of the car and walking around while we play (bonus - exercise!), and we've met a lot of really nice people.  I've also played occasionally during my lunch hour - so much better than eating a quick sandwich at my desk. 

The goal of the game to is gain control of all the portals (specific locations) for your team (Enlightened or Resistance - guess which one I'm on).  Players attack portals owned by the opposition using "bursters" to neutralize them, then place your own "resonators" to establish control of the portal.  Once you control portals, they can be linked using "portal keys" to create "fields".  Items  (bursters, resonators, portal keys, etc.) are collected by "hacking" portals.  All of this activity earns you Access Points (or AP).  Your AP count indicates your level, and higher levels can use higher level items. Good game play requires planning and strategy.  There's an Agent Field Guide devoted to explaining all this and more, for those who are interested. 

I'm not sure how long we'll continue playing this game. I'm sure that eventually, like with any other game, we'll get bored and move on to something else. But for now, I'm really enjoying it.  If you want to give it a try, let me know. I have a few spare invites for new recruits who want to join my team.  If you already play, look for me online. My blog readers should have no trouble finding me.  :)