Walking 10 Miles in a Virtual World

When you spend as much time in the mobile online world as I do, rarely does something surprise you.  Quickly jaded against the newest fad, I tend to cast a skeptical eye especially when it comes to mobile gaming.  For a game to draw me away from my preconceived notions as to what a mobile game is and what it could aspire to be, we would have to be talking about something significant.  Then I was introduced to Ingress.

I’ll leave it to you to research exactly what Ingress and how it is played (but just remember this…Viva la Resistance!)  What I want to address is the merging between the virtual game and the real world.  In this game which is so geographically connected to the real world, you might expect those connections to be a novelty rather than a linchpin.  You would be wrong.  The combination of geographic locations combined with the requirement of geographic proximity to those locations compels, no requires, a player to leave the confines of their comfy abode and move about in the real world.  Interaction with other players face to face is unavoidable and highly desirable, with strategies and actions increasing in effectiveness when working in collaboration.

My participation in the Philadelphia Anomaly event (ask a player and they’ll explain what that is) introduced me to people I have never met before and likely would never have cross paths with.  It took me to parts of Philadelphia that I only knew from documentaries and history books even having grown up near the city.  It instilled a sense of teamwork for common goals, excitement for success, and determination in the face of defeats.  A game that challenged me physically, intellectually, and socially; all outside the confines of my comfort zone.

Ingress is a game that defines the merger between the real and the virtual gaming experience to the favor of the real.  For once, we have something that tries to put as much reality into our virtual as  virtual into our reality rather than skewing towards one or the other.  In the world of social media, any game, tool, or event that helps dispel the common wisdom that social media is isolating and instead brings people together both in virtual and real ways is something worth being a part of; it is the future but it’s time is now.

A note to all players…Resistance and Enlightened alike…when you look at the game, the relationships, and the world of interaction you are creating realize this:  the Shapers…are you.