Ingress: The secret war

Tyler Hoffman

There is a secret war going on around us. Most do not even know it is happening–a battle across the globe between two factions, the Enlightened and the Resistance. Members of these two factions work mostly alone in secrecy, though some work together in small groups. Some have emerged only as an enigma, a faded whisper of urban legend.

Agents travel to different portals, acquiring energy as they move, only to face what seems to be a never-ending battle. When victorious, they claim their victory with a device known as a resonator, enabling them to mark their portal and let others know they were there until another agent of the other faction lays claim to their victory.

This war has been raging for almost three years, with a growing number of people being exposed to the truth around them, having to choose a side. Agents communicate through various means and use code names to conceal their identity. Small groups will meet in secrecy, in the middle of the night, to travel the dark plain of Ingress.

“Ingress” is the free app behind this online war. It was developed originally for Android and later for the iOS platform. However, the true story to the game is the interaction people have with each other and the adventures they go on together.

As players become more involved, they discover new places with friends, and they also discover new friends.

“I’ve built true friendships with some of the best people I’ve ever known in my life,” said Chaz, who goes by the screen name Konfusion in “Ingress.”

The game is broken into two teams, or factions, according to the game. The Enlightened are represented in green and the Resistance represented in blue, with nicknames such as Smurfs for the Resistance and Frogs for the Enlightened.

When joining the game players are prompted to choose a faction, and while the game has a background story for each faction, people tend to choose based on other factors.

“I chose my faction because my whole family back home is in the Resistance,” said Adam Disterhaft, who goes by the screen name of DShaft45.

Both sides battle over territory, not like a typical massively multiplayer online, or MMO, where players sit at home battling others. Players have to go out and visit different portals around the city. Typical places for portals are college campuses, churches, historical sites, museums and parks.

While players can visit some places by staying in the car, a lot of portals require them to get out an about.

“I enjoy the physical aspect of the game. “Ingress” encourages players to walk while playing the game with the Trekker Medal,” said Greg, who goes by the screen name of Silverdime.

Players attack the portals if they are a different color. The player will claim the portal and set up their own defenses to fight off enemy players.

When a player’s team owns at least two different, nearby portals, they can link them together. Once a triangle formation is linked, the player creates a field and declares the area until someone comes and takes it over.

The unique part about the game is the social interaction it has created. People meet in small groups, or in some cases large groups, for major events, typically hosted by Ingress.

“’Ingress’ is a way to gain more experience in life and has helped people become healthier, more socially comfortable, and culturally richer,” said Roy, who goes by the screen name SolonStormrider.

Weber State’s campus has many portals to hack and sites to visit. Most locations are historical or art related locations, like Weber’s Stewart Bell Tower or the “W” next to the clock tower.