Back in the olden days (2013 to be exact) my husband introduced me to an Android App that was designed to work with Google Earth. This app was a multi-player game, called Ingress. Originally only open to Android users. In July 2014 Ingress became available to Apple iOS users. Ingress is in layman’s terms “Capture the Flag” meets digital Geo-Caching. The reason we are “Explaining’ Ingress today is because it is a fun game older children and adults can play when they have down time at the Disney Parks and Resorts. Tonight’s article will be a basic explanation of the game as it offers users a step-by-step training guide to play when you first sign up, so make sure you play for a bit at home before heading to the parks.
To play the game you will need a mobile device with a data plan (or a wi-fi signal) and your GPS enabled. You also need to have a Gmail account to play as this will be your login. I would also like to suggest a portable charger as the game will use your batteries power as you play. The game can be downloaded for free to any Android or Apple mobile device in each OS’s respective App Store. Parents, make sure you pay attention to your children’s game activity (as you should with all of their internet activity) as the game does have an in-app chat feature that allows players on the same faction to coordinate actions.
The concept of the game is simple. You have two teams, The Enlightened (Green) and The Resistance (Blue). When you start playing the game you select your team (or faction) and along with every other player on Earth on your team, you try to take over the world. Ok well, you don’t really try to take over the world, but you do try to take over portals (Capture the Flag) that you find using your GPS (digital Geocaching) and then connect them to other portals that your faction currently has control over. The easiest way to understand the two factions choices is to reference Star Wars; the Enlightened is to the Empire as the Resistance is to the Rebels.
Once you have created an account you are ready to play. Once the game loads you will notice little blueish white dots on the game’s map. These “dots” are called Exotic Matter or XM. Per the Ingress Help page “XM is needed to power your Scanner as well as to fire XMP and deploy Resonators. If XM falls below critical levels, your Scanner will be disabled. You can collect XM (represented by glowing orbs on the Scanner Map) by moving through those areas. The XM will be automatically harvested by your Scanner. You can also collect XM by recycling Items.”
Using your phone’s GPS you will find portals, and when you are within range of a portal (40 meters) you can hack the portal. Portals originally were churches, post offices, and historical markers. After a period of time the game was opened to allow users to create portals at popular places. As you can see in the photos throughout this article, the Disney Parks have TONS of portals.
When hacking portals it doesn’t matter which faction it belongs to, as you want to collect items it may provide you. These items can give you energy, information, or be weapons. Weapons?? Yes because if the portal doesn’t belong to your faction, you can attack it. If you are able to defeat the portal’s defenses you can then take it as your own. Once you take a portal you will need to drop resonators around it to protect it. if you have a “portal key” which is one of the things you can receive when hacking portals, you can link a portals together and even create control fields. Doing this gives you experience points and makes it harder for others to attack and claim your portals as they must attack your portal longer to defeat its defenses. The majority of rides, shows, and dining locations have portals so playing in the Disney Parks, or at the resorts, is not hard to do. Personally I like playing at each Disney Park in hopes of getting portals keys from each park. I am also known to play for a few moments in port while on a Disney Cruise for the same reason if there is free wi-fi available to avoid data roaming fees.
One of the neat things about Ingress is the newer Mission option. Per the Ingress help guide:
“Ingress Missions challenge Agents to seek out sequences of culturally or aesthetically significant sites, called Waypoints. How Agents access these Waypoints is up to you:
- SEQUENTIAL – VISIBLE: Agents will be told where the Waypoints are and must visit them in order.
- SEQUENTIAL – HIDDEN: Agents can only see the first Waypoint location; all the rest are hidden and only revealed via location clues. Agents must visit Waypoints in order.
- ANY ORDER: All Waypoint locations are visible to Agents, and Agents can visit Waypoints in any order to successfully complete your Mission.”
Thanks to the Ingress Intel map, which is accessible on desktop, you can plan out what Missions you want to participate in before your trip. Below are images of the portals at the Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts.
The orange arrow in one of the “Little Mermaid” section portals alerts players there is a mission that starts there. You can then click on the arrow and open the information on that portal, as well as open the mission itself to see what is involved. Currently there are eight missions at the Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts that players can take part in. While the majority of them should only take 15 minutes a piece, there are two designed to guide you through each resort’s entire property that take 45-60 minutes each.
The key to participating in Missions is you MUST sign up for them BEFORE you start hacking the portals that are part of the mission. If you don’t check in first, you won’t get credit for the hack.
Some key things to remember while playing Ingress in the parks are:
- Remember to watch where you are going
- Turn the volume down, or off if possible to avoid being rude to those around you
- Don’t play inside dark rides or shows
- Remember, it is just a game designed to be fun. So if someone nearby takes your portal, don’t take it personally.
- Respect others privacy and protect yours. Choose a code name that doesn’t give away personal information. Don’t share someone’s personal information through Ingress message forums, or in the game’s chat function.
- Keep it rated G! There are children playing the game, so if you are in chat make sure you keep your comments and word choices child appropriate.
- Remember the rules of the real world still apply while you are playing. Don’t play and drive. Don’t go on private property or backstage to access portals. Show respect to others while you are playing.
- If someone takes interest in what you are doing, take a few moments and explain the game to them. Who knows they may join your faction if they start playing.
Hopefully you found this informative and it provides you with something fun and safe to try at the parks.
For more of our TMSM Explains Series visit our archives!