The strange and wonderful game known as Ingress has exited beta and concluded its latest storyline, with the promise of another round to come in January 2014. The storyline was called Operation #13Magnus. It came to a decisive conclusion when Ingress Agents were able to physically transport the 13 Shards of self-proclaimed Enlightened Faction leader Roland Jarvis from parts worldwide to Cupid's Span Portal in San Francisco.
The setup for #13Magnus is as follows. Jarvis had been broken into 13 pieces (sound a bit like the Osiris myth to you?) Agents around the world with their Ingress apps for Android were to locate and relay all of the pieces to one of two locations. If transported to San Francisco, Jarvis would be resurrected. If the pieces made it to Buenos Aires, he would be destroyed forever. As it turned out, he was resurrected soundly (see above image of Jarvis emerging victorious), with a majority of pieces having been relayed by the Enlightened Faction to San Francisco.
The game was epic by every measure. Google's Niantic Labs pulled out all the stops for Operation #13Magnus. It put together physical installations with light shows and used live actors at the key plot locations, bringing this grand piece of participatory concept art-gaming into the real world. Check out the happy faces on the dedicated Factions at both Buenos Aires and San Fran:
If you've never heard of Ingress, it's a GPS-reliant hybrid of virtual and real-world gaming. Think "capture the flag" for the 21st century. People from all over the world play, and it's based on both competition and cooperation.
As it has now come out of beta, anyone can play. Just download the Ingress app in the Google Play Store to see what it's all about. The next operation begins next month. Also in 2014, the Ingress app should be available for iOS users as well.