I was recruited into a top-secret mission, and it involved a new Android App called Ingress and Duane Reade. Sounds bizarre right? But this is NYC and anything and everything can happen. Here are the details behind my mission, and the highly addictive Ingress Game:
A team of scientists in Europe has unearthed a mysterious energy called Exotic Matter (XM). The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. Our future is at stake. And we must choose a side.
“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.
“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.
Once they have picked a side, players will have to move through the real world using their Android
device and the Ingress app to discover and tap sources of this mysterious energy. They will be able
to acquire objects to aid in their quest, deploy tech to capture territory, and ally with other players to advance the cause of the Enlightened or the Resistance.
The struggle is being played out globally. Players will be able to track the progress of other players around the world, plan their next steps, and communicate with others using an Intelligence map.
An Investigation Board (http://www.nianticproject.com) filled with cryptic clues and secret codes
awaits. The story evolves everyday. Powerful secrets and game tech are there to be unlocked.
The struggle to save the planet spans the entire world. Cooperation across neighborhoods, cities, and countries will be needed to achieve the ultimate victory.
For the first time in history,the World becomes the Game!
Like any good secret agent the first thing I had to do was set up my code name. Sorry, I am not going to reveal it here. The Ingress App looks cool, futuristic, and immediately makes you feel like you are truly on an undercover mission, but it is also tracking your location continuously in order for you to be able to find clues and compete.
That has an upside – great immersive game play, and a downside – you are literally being tracked. As a woman, I’m not entirely comfortable with that.
Still, I was up for trying the game, incognito. I had no idea what to expect, but set out on my first mission to Duane Reade. On the lookout for a special window cling that let me know there was something special relating to Ingress in the store, I set out to my nearest Duane Reade…
And there it was. The sign I was looking for.
Of course the next trick was figuring out where the actual game tag was inside Duane Reade. Turns out it’s right in the section I would normally avoid – the ICE CREAM and frozen meal freezer!! Seriously.
I have a suspicion that my children were in on the placement of this tag.
The game is very addictive. I can see how using this all over the city would be really interesting and could allow for amazing scavenger hunts and other branded tie ins. I somehow resisted buying ice cream during this trip to Duane Reade, but I see the potential for both companies that participate and the players to connect in this virtual game space that allows for real life interaction. This is not a game for kids. Location tracking is on all the time, and the tie-in to consumerism wouldn’t be great either. But for an adult who wants the experience of gaming that meshes the real and virtual – and has the potential to add a dimensional twist into their every day walks, drives and shopping – it can be very, very fun.
Check out my full Google + album of my Ingress adventure (and shopping spree for Valentine’s Day goodies)
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™, but all opinions are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric