Dressed to Ingress

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Today saw the launch of Googles popular augmented reality app ‘Ingress’ on Apple’s app store. For those not familiar with the game, including to some extent myself, here’s a brief layout of the gameplay.

Players physically travel to specific areas displayed on the in game map called portals. Portals can be ‘hacked’ to obtain items and experience to aid in capturing more portals. Two factions exist within Ingress, The Enlightened and The Resistance. The plot revolves around the two faction’s battle over the control of a substance called Exotic Matter which The Enlightened believe will modify the human race for the better. There is a continuing narrative which I know nothing about as of yet so feel free to visit the website for more detail.

https://www.ingress.com

I have a friend staying with me for a few weeks before he moves into his new Uni residence. Let’s call him Paul because that’s his name. Paul first became immersed in the Ingress universe about 8 months ago. I frequently joke about his commitment and persistence towards the admittedly geeky game but I also cannot deny the health benefits Ingress can reward its loyal following. The augmented real time setting of the game does force actual physical demand upon you. This isn’t a passing time on the toilet app. Paul will frequently leave my house in the morning with particular objectives in mind and arrive back in the evening to later receive notification that his hard work is under attack from the opposition. Potentially frustrating but it’s all part of the fun. Travelling frequently by foot or bicycle in this recent British heat is obviously physically testing but in turn hardly a burden when absorbed within Ingress’ gameplay. (Please refer to Simulacrum‘s blog for some interesting statistics relating to Ingress’ audience). Think of all that Vitamin D! Other leading apps are likely causing a resurgence of rickets, but Ingress intuitively avoids this, offering gamers a chance to explore their local area and potentially interact with other players. Paul has been on many a group Ingress excursion, travelling and hacking through a surprisingly large area of Southern England.

Paul 'Hacking' at Fort Gillkicker in Gosport

Paul ‘Hacking’ at Fort Gillkicker in Gosport

The occasional moments of tension crop up between the rivalling factions, but from an outsider’s perspective it’s all rather comical. The rivalry’s harmless, usually resulting in a sour faced individual staring intently into his smartphone before shuffling off defeated. Right now i’m hearing Attenborough narrate this with his soothing wisdom.

So what impact will today’s iOS port have upon the Ingress community? Surely these Apple rookies will lose enthusiasm when their early conquests are thwarted by the experienced android community. It all remains to be seen. Despite my girlfriend’s mocking, I have downloaded the iOS port and Paul has given me a brief tour to up my level. The weather’s beautiful, I got some much needed exercise and dropped off some items at the post office. I can already see the benefits, lets see if it lasts. The Resistance Calls!

 

 

 

ID’d at Argos: Living in Gosport

Gosport High Street

Gosport High Street

This morning I have migrated from Costa, after a pricey yet effective beverage, to the Gosport Discovery Centre. I haven’t been here before. There’s Wi-Fi. I came here intending to gather information on local events that may hold potential worth as future articles and it seems there’s plenty on offer. Apparently Gosport has a jazz club!

I have only lived in Gosport for a few years but that’s enough to become aware of its reputation. Neighbouring communities spout claims of crime and unemployment and there is some exaggerated truth to this.

A couple of weeks ago I rode into town to purchase some shears for the garden from Argos. The salesperson instantly demanded I show my ID due to recent accounts of ‘kids doing murdering’. With shears! Confused and lacking ID, I went to leave when the manager appeared and permitted the risky transaction. Clearly he believed I was old enough to partake in some ‘murdering’. I rode home like a botanical jouster, accomplished zero fatalities and proceeded to trim my borders.

I have obviously heard nothing of these suspected murders, but recent local media does dictate accounts of burglary, assault and indecent exposure. The UK crime stats website reveals that the vast majority of Gosport’s criminal activity is anti social behaviour with theft and violent crime also ranking fairly high. Comparatively, drug related crime is fairly low in spite of commonly voiced speculations.

I live fairly central within Gosport, an area depicted as substantially crime concentrated according to statistics. I personally have not witnessed any acts of crime since inhabiting the town but I do have a particular issue with my street. Walking to and from the Co-Op, i’m constantly kicking through rubbish and dog shit. It’s not a huge inconvenience, i’m no prude but I was still pleased to see a big fluorescent Littering Notice crop up on my street. Tragically, it was on the floor covered in dog shit.

 

Alver Valley

Alver Valley

 

Ask kids today why they’re such delinquent little turds and they’ll reply ‘there’s nothing to do’. Admittedly Gosport is the largest town in Britain lacking a train station, but this doesn’t create and hasn’t created a violent mass of isolated dullards. We receive more sunshine per annum than most of the UK and are never far from the (kind of dirty looking) sea. Naval history is rich and areas of conservation are genuinely pleasant, especially the newly spruced up Alver Valley. There’s plenty to do. My debut trip to the Discovery Centre further backs this up with it’s vast information on galleries, clubs, public gardens and beneficial volunteering opportunities.

To conclude, I like Gosport. There’s a jazz club.

The Old Gosport Ferry at Forton Creek

The Old Gosport Ferry at Forton Creek