Exciting things are happening!
You may recall my mention of Pokémon GO back in January. Pokémon GO is a (free) mobile app by Nintendo slated for release sometime this year. Once downloaded, players will be able to catch wild Pokémon simply by taking a walk outside. The app uses real-life locations for wild Pokémon and game events. Cell phones will vibrate when a Pokémon is nearby, and players can catch them by aiming their devices and tapping the touch screen (to throw a Poké Ball). PokéStops will be located at places like historical locations, monuments, and public art installations; tapping into PokéStops will give players Poké Balls and other useful items.
Players are encouraged to keep playing to raise their level, so that they can catch more powerful Pokémon and use more powerful items (such as Great Balls). And catching several of the same Pokémon over and over will give players the option to evolve one of them. Some Pokémon will only appear in certain locations – certain Water Pokémon may only be found near a lake or ocean. Imagine stopping in the middle of a hike to catch a wild Pokémon!
There will be other features, such as joining one of three teams and fighting to maintain control of Pokémon Gyms with your teammates. This part was a little difficult to wrap my head around, until I read that Nintendo was teaming up with Niantic, the creators of an app called Ingress.
Because the Pokémon GO hype is slowly consuming my soul, I decided to see what Ingress was all about. And I can certainly see the similarities in functionality. Ingress is a location-based mobile app featuring two player factions – the Enlightened, and the Resistance. The basic storyline is that aliens called the Shapers are attempting to infiltrate our world through portals that are releasing Exotic Matter. The Enlightened want to use Exotic Matter to evolve humankind, while the Resistance want to fight against the aliens and stop the spread of Exotic Matter.
While I haven’t done much moving around, I understand the basics. There are pockets of Exotic Matter (XM) located everywhere you go – where you live, where you work, where you like to hang out. By walking over them, players collect the XM, which is needed to interact with portals. Hacking Portals controlled by the same faction rewards items. Capturing Portals not controlled by either faction (by deploying Resonators) rewards AP. Players need AP to level up and become more powerful. Players can also hack or destroy enemy Portals with items called XMP Bursters.
Essentially, I would walk around with the app open to collect things, and find Portals to either hack or gain control of. This is all done via an in-game map, so figuring out likely locations is pretty simple. In fact, it looks like I have a portal right up the road from me, next to a monument! I’ll have to take a walk up there soon.
I can’t wait to get started with Ingress. It will be exciting to see how all of this location-based interaction really works, and maybe give me a leg up once Pokémon Go is released!