Ingress city map screen capture. Is it like a clear-the-dots game? Perhaps a real Pacman? (via Ingress)
The premise: Scientists discover a mysterious energy of unknown origin somewhere in Europe. The team suspects that this energy is altering how the general populace thinks and therefore has to gain control of it before it controls us all. As the mysterious energy gains momentum over the population, people slowly separate into two factions. One being ‘The Enlightened’ who want to embrace this new energy and the power it may bestow upon them, and ‘The Resistance’ who want to defend and preserve what’s left of humanity. That’s the backdrop for Google’s Ingress augmented reality game (currently in Beta).
Once players (from around the world) choose a side they then set out to tap the mysterious energy source, which is found everywhere, acquire various objects to help you in your quest, deploy tech in an effort to gain a foothold on enemy territory and find allies to help you in your cause. All this is done through an Android-based smartphone only (sorry no love for Apple, Blackberry or tablet users), which uses an app that superimposes the game quests, objects and resources over your real-world location. Objects and energy packets, known as ‘XM’, are acquired by traveling ‘walking-paths’ which are then used to open ‘portals’ to missions all over the globe. The missions are centered on popular land-marks in their respective countries like art museums, libraries and other public-accessible places (obviously you won’t travel through restrictive areas such as military bases and presidential palaces). Once you travel an area (using a vehicle to gather resources faster aren’t restrictive) you can then use your computer to view the larger area and gameplay locations.
As you would expect, the game uses advertising from real-world stores (Jamba Juice, Zipcar and Chrome apparel to name a few) where you can buy items to help you along your quest to regain control of humanity or subjugate the masses. Those who would like to play the beta can sign-up at Ingress.com; however its unknown as to when the finished game will be released (perhaps the beginning of 2013?).
Novelty or future of gaming?