Why Ingress Frustrates Me

As you probably know from some of my previous Grown Up Geek articles I am an Android user that likes the open operating system. One of the reasons that I jumped headfirst into Android was the fact that it was owned by Google. Google seems to be ahead of the crowd with many of the cool gadgets and games. In November of 2012 Google released the augmented reality game Ingress and I was all about it. One of the reasons I was so interested was the fact that you had to have a personal invite to get started.

How I Got an Invite to Ingress

Ingress logoI will go over a brief history of how I got involved in Ingress before I let out my frustrations. I am quite active on Google plus as I have over 10,000 followers and many of these followers love Google products. In November of last year I had about 8000 followers, some of which were already playing Ingress. I posted that I would like an Ingress invite and one of my local Google Plus friends was more than happy to oblige. When I first started playing Ingress I knew that it would be time consuming as it forced you to get outside and go to physical locations. As I was going through the basic training for Ingress I thought that this could be one of the more adventurous games I have ever played. During my training I walked all around Chapel Hill, North Carolina trying to gather the resources needed to finally pick a faction. Due to the fact that the individual who gave me the invite was Resistance I also decided to join the Resistance. For those who may not know their are two sides in the game Ingress -- the Resistance and the Enlightened.

Playing Ingress All Over the East Coast

One of the cool things about Ingress is the fact that the game must be played in historic areas such as universities, battlefields, or national landmarks. I happen to like history quite a bit so this was fun for me. In fact, I ended up driving to Petersburg, Virginia with my nephew just to see what type of Ingress opportunities were available. Fortunately, there is an Intel map that allows you to see the portals from any location. Portals are the historic locations. I saw that there were quite a few portals at a national battlefield just outside of Petersburg so I decided to take my nephew. Unfortunately, we drove all the way to this battlefield to find out that the GPS was messed up and there was no way we could access these portals. In all "reality", the portals should have been on the pathway throughout the battlefield. That this was simply not the case. We ended up walking into random backyards and deep into the woods just to try to access some of these portals. This a huge pain in the ass for many reasons. There were over 30 portals that we were trying to access at the battlefield. We only ended up getting to about five. In essence, we ended up driving two hours to do something we could have done in five minutes locally. This was very frustrating as both my nephew and I were looking to fully get into this game. This was a huge deterrent early on. We also decided to go to Wilmington to see what opportunities were available. While in Wilmington we did have opportunity to access portals from the downtown streets while walking. This was a much better situation than what we saw outside of Petersburg, Virginia. Unfortunately, Ingress completely drains your Android battery as it is using GPS the whole time. At the time I was using a Samsung Galaxy S2 and the battery would last about 45 minutes playing Ingress. As you can imagine, driving two hours to play a game for 45 minutes is not very pleasing. In fact, I ended up buying a new battery for my Samsung Galaxy S2 just to play the game a little bit longer. This ended up being a cost that I should have never incurred because I lost interest shortly after playing in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Why Did I Lose Interest?

One of the main reasons that I lost interest in playing Ingress was the fact that most players were driving around accessing the portals. I will be the first to admit that I did this as well but this is defeating the purpose of the game. The purpose of the game is to get out and meet people while walking around. I can honestly say that the majority of Ingress players in my area drive to portals rather than walk to portals. This is very unfortunate as it does not allow you to build relationships by meeting these people while walking. I am very close to the University of North Carolina and there are a dozen or so portals on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and playing Ingress on my Android phone but there was always a lag when trying to do any type of activities through the Ingress app. Anytime I try to deploy a resonator or fire an XM. burster it ended up that my phone would slow down dramatically. I have a brand-new Android Nexus 4 and my goal is not to slow this phone down.

Will I Play Again?

At this point I am a level 7 on Ingress but I have no interest in playing. This is very unfortunate as I enjoyed the game for the first few weeks. The only way that I will get back into Ingress is if I can find some people with similar interests that wants to walk around and have conversations outside of Android or Google. Unfortunately, I have not found that to be the case therefore I have only used the Ingress app once or twice over the course of the last two months. If you are an Ingress player in Chapel Hill, North Carolina please feel free to contact me.


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