Now it’s all Pokémon Go – but for the past three years, a similar game called Ingress has had countless players in its clutches
Ingress was the original popular augmented-reality multiplayer craze back in 2012, and it developed a significant audience; with millions playing the app in nearly 200 countries.
But now Pokémon Go has arrived, and there’s an unprecedented buzz surrounding it. The phenomenon has managed to gather over 10 million downloads in its first week of release, which is already more than the total current active players for Ingress.
But if you compare the two, you’ll see that they both have very worthwhile virtues.
Ingress is a science fiction concept, and you are divided into two teams – Resistance and Enlightened. Teams have to work together respectively in a mapped and interactive world to capture portals that are normally based at landmarks.
The two teams contest for portals in an endless virtual battle, with one team defending their area with ‘resonators’ (that can be toughened further if you’re a higher level), and the other team attacking with ‘bursters’ that destroy the ‘resonators’.
However, these portals can be linked together in a triangle formula, making it more arduous for the opposition to destroy it.
With us so far?
To attack, you have to be within a 25 metre radius of the portal, but defending can be achieved anywhere in the world. Think of it as a fictional online war.
Pokémon Go has Pokéstops and Gyms, which are effectively portals. Meanwhile XM (Exotic Matter), which was used in Ingress as a disposable energy resource for attacking portals, is swapped in Pokémon Go for ‘spawn points’.
The main fun of the game is to evolve and capture all these Pokémons. You can develop these characters so they can fight in battle at a nearest Gym, and you can tussle with the leader at that Gym if you’re on an opposite team to take over.
So it all looks a little similar. Pokémon looks less cluttered, with Gyms parading in the background, while Ingress is laden with portals.
It is also Niantic’s brainchild
Niantic released Ingress in 2012 and developed considerable success because of it, so no wonder Nintendo called them up to create a Pokémon augmented reality game.
Niantic have developed two individual smartphone apps that effectively bounce off each other. Both use location services to track the player’s movement, and they are both collaborative, with loose storylines that have a never-ending open narrative.
In order to make Pokémon Go a little more successful from the offset, data from Ingress was actually used to populate its locations.
Considering that Pokémon Go is catering to a younger audience, the game has put an alert of caution on app initialisation to “stay aware of your surroundings”.
While Ingress had a flicker of controversy at the beginning with an inappropriate selection of portals, Niantic have learned to control what portals go where. Users can also submit locations that they think might be worthy of a portal.
Pokémon Go has received some backlash for locations dotted in Holocaust memorial museums, along with players effectively trespassing on private property.
As it’s further along its lifetime, Ingress’s issues are definitely more ironed-out as it stands!
It has been reported recently that people are getting so wrapped up in the craze they’re taking extended holidays to play Pokémon Go, including one guy who has quit his job to exclusively play the game.
It’s no secret that people have taken a week off to play Ingress too, with some fans racking up 5,000 miles in travel to play and stay dedicated to the cause.
So if you’re the kind of person who is dedicated to Pokemon Go, Ingress has got plenty to lure you in itself.
Both games have an affable nature to them. Players can meet in groups to infiltrate other factions, which makes it easier for a team to flip the winning onto their side. It’s all about making friends as well as having stacks of fun.
So you should see Ingress as an ideal companion piece to its shiny new sibling. And a great app to get into should you ever get bored of Pokemon Go.