When Google's Augmented Reality Game Intrudes Into Your Real Life

Illustration for article titled When Google's Augmented Reality Game Intrudes Into Your Real Life

Laura Michet started playing Google's augmented reality mobile game Ingress and soon found it was filling her real life with enemies and allies....and helping her exercise:

I’m not a huge fan of this game’s tutorial. I tried doing a few of the missions while wandering around the town hall and its adjoining park, but none of them really explained what the benefit of capturing a portal is, or why I should link portals, or what the point of making triangles out of linked portals is. So I just captured a bunch of stuff in the town hall area and started heading back toward my house.

When I was about a hundred yards away from the park, someone with the playername “JCKL” captured my portal. I freaked out. Had someone been watching me that whole time? I sped up down the street, capturing a few more things. The stranger captured those back as well, only minutes after I had moved on. I was being followed. Was I being stalked? What counts as stalking in this situation? Isn’t stalking the main mechanic of this game?

I was incensed. I was even angrier when I got home and realized that literally every single one of my IRL friends on iOS had joined the Enlightenment team and that they were planning on riding around San Francisco together in a bus, playing the game while drinking mimosas. This is not a joke. That event was scheduled for today. As I write this story, they are currently riding around in the mimosa bus in San Francisco. My friends are now all my enemies and they are all drunk and happy and I am sitting here reminiscing about being stalked through the streets of my town by a stranger named “JCKL,” which is not a particularly comforting name. Did he have a friend named “HYD”? What the fuck was going on around here?

I slammed my laptop shut and checked my phone again. Chillingly, JCKL had captured the portal across the street from my house.


Read much more here.

Via RPS.

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