Ingress is a fun little game. It has many different levels and can be very strategic or just a little side thing, depending upon how you play. I have noticed however, that some people can get very upset playing Ingress. The truth is that Ingress is a pretty fair game, and it works surprisingly well considering the sheer scale at which the game operates. However, there are plenty of places to find injustice if you are looking. To enjoy playing Ingress and keep having fun, it is important to have the proper mindset or attitude while playing the game.
Legitimate and Illegitimate Portals
In the game lore, Portals are, “places where human creativity and ingenuity is expressed and unexplained energy phenomenon emanates.” In other words, portals are supposed to be artistically, historically, or culturally significant. There are numerous places that obviously meet this definition, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and so on.
However, even if you took everything there is in your average travel guidebook, that’s still pretty thin for tens of thousands of players from all around the world to have enough places to use, discover, and fight for. So, places of much smaller significance are allowed. The official criteria is that a portal be one of the following:
- unique architecture
- unique local business
- historic building or landmark
- transit stations
- public libraries
- public places of worship
- water towers (?)
- and entrance signs for various parks and recreational areas
Things that do not count are fire departments, hospitals and police stations, unless they have other significance.
As you can imagine, this is open to a LOT of interpretation. One way to easily get bent out of shape over what is and is not approved.
Locally, I’ve seen completely un-historic or unique buildings get approved. The folks at Ingress seem to be partial to anything with a plaque on it. As a result there are numerous memorial benches setup as portals here in the Denver area. (You donate the cost of a bench, and the city puts it on a bike trail with a little sign on it.) This can make it seem really unfair when you submit something that you think should qualify and it is rejected.
The important thing to remember is that it really doesn’t matter. The point, for the purpose of the game, is to have various portals scattered around town in interesting places. Then, you can go to those places and fight over them. So, it really doesn’t matter if it’s a local coffee shop, or an old wooden Indian outside of a sushi restaurant. As long as it’s a real place that the public can go, then it’s good enough to be a portal.
If there aren’t very many portals in your area, then that can make it harder, but you travel to work, to the grocery store, to the mall, and so on. Play when you go to those places, or keep submitting usable portals. The better the picture and description, the better chance it has of being accepted. Chances are there is a church nearby. Get a good picture, preferably with a readable sign in it, and send away.
In the meantime, get in your car, on your bike, on the bus, or start walking and find some other portals. Half the fun is going places you probably wouldn’t have gone without an enemy Level 1 portal sitting there. I know there are always plenty of fun things to see in Denver.
(Did you see that sweet little plug there at the end? I’m an evil genius…. muwah-ha-hah!)