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Monuments and art under a-hack

Matt Morgan • Dec 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Ingress is an augmented reality game that overlays sci-fi story elements over our real world. When you enter this clandestine digital domain via your Android device (and Apple forthcoming), you immediately find yourself at a crossroads. Thanks to your new "scanner" (app+device) you can see that the world has been saturated with XM, or, "exotic matter". It is a little-understood substance, but preliminary studies show that XM can influence how we think. Naturally, this makes it a substance that can be put to use - for good or ill is up to you to decide.


That's why you must choose a faction to represent in Ingress. The Enlightened wish to use XM to enhance humanity's progress and want to use the substance to grow our minds. The Resistance feel this to be an alien influence and want to protect humanity from it. Both accomplish their goals by walking, biking, or driving past local landmarks to "hack" the virtual, influential portals that overlay them. Empowering you to do this is the ambient XM collected along the way. Claim the portals for your faction in the constant struggle to change/protect humanity. Portals are usually historical places, famous destinations, or public works of art to fit the thought-influencing theme.


If you pass through downtown Sandusky, make sure to set up a resonator over the State Theater's portal. Live out in Port Clinton? Mon Ami Winery is an otherworldly influential spot to claim for your faction. Drive along Route 250 often? The Perkins Township Fire Department is another site of battle to define humanity's next steps. Every day as you go out for a stroll, to walk your dog, or as you commute to shop or work you can participate and claim or protect these landmarks.


In real life terms it is a fun way to get out and explore the community and area similar to geocaching. All you must be able to do is poke your screen - nothing too demanding. You can even request a place to be added as a portal location. Ingress encourages teamwork (even anonymous) and is a fun overlay over the real world. If you play in your car, though, please do so as a passenger as distracted driving is more hazardous than that villainous other faction taking over Huron!


Like the idea of exploration but getting out and about isn't feasible or attractive? You can try another Google-inspired game called GeoGuessr. GeoGuessr places you on the street in a random location somewhere in the world. You have the ability to move around a bit and take in the sights. When you think you know where you are (or have a close guess) you place a pin on a Google Map and the game will show you how literally close to the mark you are. Over several rounds your score will be tallied by how far off from each of your marks you were. Obviously the lowest score is the best.


This is an extremely fun, quick, and educational (but not hackneyed) game that is work safe. It lets you get out, see the world, and help become a more observant and cultured person. It, like Ingress, is free and fun to play.


There is a whole world waiting for you out there. Get out, make it your own, and have fun doing so. It's for humanity's sake, after all!


...Seriously, as in real life.

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