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Video Game: Ingress
"The world around you is not what it seems. It's time to move."

Ingress is an augmented-reality game created by the Niantic Labs team at Google.

The plot centers around a new kind of matter dubbed 'exotic matter', discovered at CERN. It turns out to have highly unusual properties, and is connected to a mysterious alien intelligence known as the 'Shapers'. In the wake of the discovery, a secret project called the Niantic Project was established to study the effects of Exotic Matter on the human mind and how it connects to the Shapers.

Gameplay is centered around visiting portal locations (in the real world) and then interacting with them. Players can hack portals for supplies, as well as install Resonators to align them to their faction. If the portal is aligned to the enemy faction, the player can attempt to destroy its Resonators to neutralize the portal for seizure by the player's faction, although the player is vulnerable to being attacked in the process.

The game is free to playnote , and was released for Android on Google Play in 2012 and for iOS on the App Store in 2014.

Acquiring position. Downloading latest example package. Welcome back.

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: Played straight until the May 2014 update; it's very possible to hit Level 8 (the old level cap) within a month or two if you play regularly and in an area with a lot of portals. Once you do, the focus shifts from Level Grinding to using level 8 items to reinforce friendly portals and assault enemy portals. However, as of May 2014, the max level is now 16 and requires not only a massive amount of AP, but also completing badges, averting this trope.
  • Action Commands / Charged Attack: As of version 1.39.2, XMP Bursters can be "charged up"; as you hold down the fire button, a ring of energy converges on your position; the smaller the ring, the more damage the Burster will inflict, up to a 20% boost in strength. However, once the ring converges completely, it vanishes and starts to converge again, meaning that attempting a 20% boost can result in no boost at all if timed too late.
  • All There in the Manual: One of the characters in the game runs a website called What Is The Niantic Project?, which serves to provide background information on the people, places, events, and organizations that form the background for Ingress. The game itself provides the player with only the roughest outline of the conflict. The portals also occasionaly drop "Media" - documents that make no sense out of context.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Arguably, ADA, the Niantic Project's AI. She appears to have ordered the killing of Roland Jarvis and an innocent bystander. She also arranged the death of contractor Edward Faulle in the wake of Zipcarmageddon.
    • To be fair, ADA's sentience was shaped by people talking to her about themselves. Given the Niantic Project's staff roster, it should be no surprise she turned out a little bit questionable.
  • Alternate Reality Game
  • Anti-Poop Socking / Anti-Grinding: When a player hack a portal, it has a "cooldown" period of 5 minutes before the player can use it again. After four hacks, the portal "burns out" and needs four hours until it can be hacked once more. This is to prevent players from simply camping a portal all day for items. However, the Multi-Hack upgrade increases the number of times a portal can be hacked before it burns out, and the Heat Sink upgrade reduces the cooldown time between hacks. Portal cooldown and burnout are local to each player, so even if a large number of players are hacking the same portal, each individual player will be allowed to hack the portal four times by default.
  • Arc Words: "Something is very wrong".
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: After listening to the Jarvis Manifesto, It can be assumed that this is what happened to Roland Jarvis.
  • Augmented Reality: While What Is The Niantic Project? provides information on the game's universe, the game itself is played using a "scanner app" that uses GPS data to determine where you are and what in-game entities are in your general vicinity, which it then overlays on a map of the surrounding area.
  • Author Avatar: The Niantic Project may be one for the entire NianticLabs@Google team.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The Shapers' influence on humanity could be considered this, at least from the point of view of the Enlightened.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Secret passcodes can be redeemed to give you items and XM. What makes these passcodes fall under this trope is that bottles of Hint water, which have passcodes hidden under the caps, can be purchased at some grocery stores or ordered straight off the official website.
  • Came Back Strong: Roland Jarvis. The NIA had him killed. It didn't quite work as intended. NIA and the resistance would say he Came Back Wrong.
  • Catch Phrase: Klue, with "tell me that I'm wrong."
  • Character Blog: P. A. Chapeau's What Is The Niantic Project?. It's the game's story, being told gradually in a Scrapbook Story fashion.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The two factions in the game are most easily identified by the color of the entities they control: Resistance entities are blue, while ones under Enlightened control are green.
    • Items are color-coded by their potency;
      • Level 1 (the weakest) are yellow, while Level 8 items (the most powerful) are purple.
      • Common portal mods are green, Rare ones are purple, and Very Rare ones are pink.
  • Competitive Balance: Players can create new portals, but each new portal must be reviewed and approved by the game staff before they can show up in-game; otherwise a player could simply make portals willy-nilly to bloat their faction's power. Portals have several guidelines to abide by, such as being monuments, fountains, places of worship, major shopping centers, major transit hubs, or other unique structures of artistic or cultural merit.
  • Conspiracy Placement: The NIA is a government agency so secret they pretend it was closed down in 1992. Naturally, they have an iconic logo, which they among other things stamp on the special chips in the phones they give to their agents. (When a phone is lost, one character complains that he always thought this was a bad idea).
  • Conspiracy Theorist: P.A. Chapeau. Of course, the Government Conspiracy is quite real.
  • Cosmetic Award: Medals, which function in a manner similar to achievement systems in other games, but with five degrees per medal. As of May 2014, they avert this trope, as medals are required to level up past Level 8.
  • Difficulty Spike: Levels 2 through 8 are simple to obtain: Simply earn the required AP. Past that, however, not only do the AP requirements for each successive level continue to increase exponentially, but new levels require badges to earn, and depending on portal availability even getting from Level 8 to 9 may take several times as long as it did to get from 1 to 8.
  • Early Game Hell: At Level 1, your available weapons are only effective when standing on top of a Level 1 Resonator, and will do Scratch Damage in all other occasions, while your available Resonators are easy cannon fodder for enemies. As you level up, you gain access to more powerful weapons and Resonators, allowing you to provide plenty of energy to a co-aligned portal and do massive damage to a cross-aligned one with only a few XMP Bursters, which not only bear high attack power but also have roughly four times the Splash Damage radius of a Level 1 Burster.
  • Escort Mission:
    • The Lost Angeles anomaly qualifies; the goal of the Enlightened was to create a pathway between portals for an NPC to travel along, while the goal of the Resistance was to prevent this from happening. The Resistance won.
    • During the #13MAGNUS arc, the Enlightened's goal was to transport the 13 Jarvis Shards via portal links to San Francisco, in order to resurrect Roland Jarvis. The Resistance's goal was to transport the Shards to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in order to destroy them. Eight of the Shards successfully reached San Francisco, and two reached Buenos Aires.
    • During Operation Recursion, the objective was to transport the 17 Ancient Artifacts to target portals, in a similar manor to 13Magnus. Unlike the previous serious of anomalies where each faction had a fixed target portal, each side had to earn their target portals by winning Recursion anomalies. Whichever faction won an event opened up a target portal for their side. After each anomaly, a limited window of time opened where the artifacts could be moved, after which the artifacts would be locked in their current positions. The Resistance won all but the final primary event site, effectively locking the Enlightened out of recovering the artifacts, and leaving them with only two hours after Los Angeles to get them. Only five artifacts were recovered however, all of them by the Resistance.
  • Fan Nickname
    • Players from the in-game factions have nicknames for their opposing numbers: Resistance players refer to the Enlightened as 'Toads', 'Frogs', or 'Kermits', while Enlightened players refer to the Resistance as 'Smurfs'.
    • An incident where a significant quantity of item-generating passcodes was discovered after the Niantic Labs team partnered with ZipCar was referred to as "Zipcarmageddon".
    • Resonators placed very close to the portal are known as "Rings of Shame" due to the fact that they can be destroyed with more efficiency than if the resonators were spread out. They are also occasionally called "Pineapples" or "Campfires".
  • Fall Guy: Edward Faulle.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The name of the Niantic Project's AI - ADA - is short for "A Detection Algorithm".
  • Game-Breaking Bug / Tutorial Failure: The "Hack a Portal" tutorial failed on most devices because the "CHOOSE" button needed to advance wouldn't work, until a patch in October 2013 fixed it.
  • Game Mod: These are against the game terms of use, and may result in your account getting suspended or demoted back to Level 1, even if you are not using them to gain unfair advantages. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
    • Ingress Intel Total Conversion, also known as IITC, a tool for desktop browsers and Android devices that provides more features than the standard intel map and, more importantly, makes it run faster.
    • broot is an alternate client that provides a number of enhancements, such as disabling animations to make the game run faster.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Whether one believes that exposure to XM corrupts or enlightens, there isn't much argument that some people didn't come out of their experiences with XM with all their chips in a neat stack - Oliver Lynton-Wolfe being a prime example.
  • Gone Horribly Right: So you create a research facility dedicated to the study of a strange matter/energy with qualities of Psycho Serum, and strange creatures who you suppose to be a mind virus or alien invaders. For better performance, expose the whole team to large amount of said Psycho Serum. Employ a man who you know to be contaminated by Shapers as a lead researcher to study them closer. Brilliant, director Ni. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Very.
    • The Enlightened want to unleash mankind's potential by exposing people to the extradimensional exotic matter, which - according to the Shapers - inspired the invention of the alphabet, the settlement of the first cities and all human progess since. However, it's a bit of a Psycho Serum, and possibly lets aliens take over your mind in the process.
    • The Resistance want to protect our humanity from the aliens, stop this reckless experiment, and if that ends all human creativity forever, so be it.
    • It's implied that this ambiguity is deliberate, and that whatever faction eventually wins the game turns out to have been right all along.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The NIA.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming:
    • If you've been gone long enough, when you log in again your scanner's AI tells you how long it's been since your last login. If you've been gone over 12 hours, she comments that she was "getting worried about you."
    • A less-emotional but more gameplay-influencing example is resonator decay. If you don't recharge your resonators, or hack or upgrade the portals they belong to, within 24 hours, your resonators will lose 15% of their energy each day. The decay can destroy your resonators if they are left alone long enough or enemies cripple them but don't bother to finish them off.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: During one of the December 2013 Ingress Reports, the studio was raided. The following episode was conducted in a secret location for safe measure.
  • La Résistance: The Resistance, at least in name.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Resonators and XMP Bursters of higher levels are more effective than lower-level ones, but you can't use ones that are of a higher level than you. This is why getting to Level 8 as quickly as possible is important.
  • Level-Map Display: It is a location-based AR game, after all.
  • Lost Forever:
    • Didn't get to Level 5 or higher before December 14, 2013? Say good bye to the "Founder" medal.
    • Beginning with the "Recursion" anomaly, you can get event medals. Miss the specific event for a medal and you won't be able to get it.
  • The Masquerade
  • Meaningful Name: Edward Faulle, the contractor who was allegedly responsible for the ZipCar code leak.
  • Mugging the Monster: When 855 needs a new gun, he just goes and gets mugged.
  • No Fair Cheating: See Game Mod above.
  • Overheating: See Anti-Poop Socking above.
  • Pacifist Run: It's very possible to get to Level 8 without ever deploying a single XMP Burster, ADA Refactor, or JARVIS Virus. In fact, the best ways to grab AP are through means that don't involve weapons: capturing portals and creating control fields.
  • Path of Inspiration: What the Resistance believe the Enlightenment is.
  • Peninsula Of Powerleveling:
    • Hacking an enemy portal gives you a 100 AP bonus for having the guts to do it. This means a large cluster of portals will allow you to earn several thousand AP. You'll probably get attacked and lose XM, but unless another player was in your location recently, you'll quickly regain the lost XM back.
    • If you ask, other, higher-leveled players can create these for you by weakening enemy resonator clusters just enough to be destroyed with a few more bursters, or neutralize a portal but leave it unclaimed so you can reap the portal capture and link/field bonuses.
  • Press X to Die: Power Cubes are used to refill the XM gauge with 1000-8000 XM depending on the level of the Cube. Like all other items, Power Cubes can be recycled for XM...160 XM at most. Conclusion: There is no reason to ever recycle a Power Cube, but the option exists if you really want to for some twisted reason.
  • Product Placement: Zipcar parking spots, Jamba Juice locations and Vodafone shops have official portals, as exceptions to portal submission rules.
    • The Doritos XM Vaults during Recursion Austin.
  • Professional Killer: 855. Also a Master Actor and Master of Disguise.
  • Psycho Serum: Exotic matter. Exposure gives some people superhuman senses, intelligence and creativity, but side effect may include insanity, physical decay and - according to some - Puppeteer Parasite infestation.
  • Punny Name: P. A. Chapeau, the conspiratorial character "leaking" the story to the players. His nickname is based on the French words for tin foil hat.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Shapers may fit the bill; however, the jury is still out on this (see the Psycho Serum entry above).
  • Purple Is Powerful: Items that are level 8, the highest possible item level, are colored purple.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The course of the game has been influenced by several "anomalies", each of which was an in-game event that resulted in a battle between Resistance and Enlightened players.
    • Take a Third Option: After the Time Zero anomaly and the London Enlightened intercepting a package containing images of glyphs relating to the Shapers, the London Enlightened were given offers from three different corporations for some of the game's newer items in exchange for the package. The Enlightened denied all three corporations the package, and forced an anomaly in Portland, Oregon which resulted in Klue, one of the story characters, switching from Resistance to Enlightened.
    • Roland Jarvis's resurrection, the result of Enlightened players bringing the Jarvis Shards to the Cupid's Span in San Francisco.
  • Reincarnation: Roland Jarvis in the finale of the #13MAGNUS arc.
    "My name is Roland Jarvis. And I EXIST."
  • Scoring Points: During an "anomaly" event, portals in the event area are divided into multiple "clusters"—one for each hour. Within each cluster, portals aligned to a particular faction earns a few points for that faction. Links and fields will produce more points. "Volatile" portals within the current cluster are worth a lot of points, but volatile portals are usually not announced until 15-20 minutes until the five-minute measurement period. The score is tallied up at a random point during the measurement period. At the end of all of the measurement periods, whichever faction scored the most points during the anomaly is declared the winning faction.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Oliver Lynton-Wolfe during the finale of #13MAGNUS. He started by addressing the crowd of players (Resistence players, in particular), insisting that he and his supporters have won and that Roland Jarvis must be stopped, but then Roland Jarvis appeared, flesh and blood and all. Lynton-Wolfe reacted with Stunned Silence and then promptly bolted the hell out of there.
  • Starfish Aliens: Shapers.
  • Stealth Pun: The late Edward Faulle. He was the fall guy for Zipcarmageddon.
  • Shout-Out: To Ghostbusters, in a recently-leaked transcript of a conversation between Devra Bogdanovich and Hank Johnson:
    Bogdanovich: "...We watched a movie once, when we were stuck in that cabin near Jungefraujoch. We were totally alone. It was the only English-language DVD in the cabinet... I'll meet you at the place where ? and Peter roasted Marshmallows to save Dana."
  • Splash Damage: How XM Bursters work. The damage is greatest at the point of impact, weakening at further ranges. A Level 8 Burster can easily damage a cluster of Resonators, while a Level 1 Burster requires you to practically stand on top of the resonator to do more than one percent of damage to it. The Ultrastrike is the opposite of this: It sacrifices blast radius to instead deal massive damage to a single point.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • Creating powerful and fortified portals or destroying them, as well as establishing strong portal networks and overturning those of your enemies, rely greatly upon coordinating with other players in your area. Additionally, there is a limit on how many of each level of resonator you can place, with the limitation being stricter for higher level resonators. (For example, level 8 players can only place one level 8 resonator, one level 7 resonator, two level 6 resonators, etc.) For this reason, players often hold get-togethers in person and walk around together to attack portals, defend them, raise portals up to level 8 (only possible with 8 L8 players or more) or simply milk portals and exchange supplies.
    • Many passcodes for items (e.g. the ones on Hint caps) can be used by more than one player, but all participating players must hit the Submit button at the same time.
  • Take a Third Option: Invoked by Dr. Devra Bogdanovich in the wake of the Resistance victory during the Interitus anomalies; during her brief speech at Gettysburg, she voiced concerns that the Resistance's efforts may have been co-opted by ADA for her own purposes, and that she intended to follow a third path.
  • The Nth Doctor: Roland Jarvis assumed a completely different form after his reincarnation. (Before and after)
  • Too Awesome to Use: The ADA Refactor converts one Enlightened portal to a Resistance portal, and the JARVIS Virus does the opposite. They also prevent another one of either item from being used on the same portal for one hour. They're also Very Rare items. Unless you build up a nice collection of either, and especially unless you attend Anomaly events, chances are you'll probably never use one.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shields initially provided a marginal amount of defense: 6% reduction for a Common Shield, 8% for a Rare Shield, and 10% for a Very Rare Shield. In mid-2013, their effectiveness was increased to 10, 20 and 30 percent. A second update in 2014 buffs up the Shields' properties again; the three types of Shields now deflect 20%, 30%, and 50% of damage, respectively.
  • Two Beings, One Body: Some time during the 13Magnus arc, ADA merged with Klue, and now inhabits her body. The Resistance winning Recursion might have cemented the connection between the two, as they plan to merge human and machine.
  • Up to Eleven: Invoked by P. A. Chapeau in the wake of the Resistance coming out victorious after a dual anomaly during Operation: Cassandra, a two-week-long in-game event.
    "If you were watching earlier today, you saw a corner turned. From overwhelmed and ensnared in an Enlightened Megafield, the Resistance in Washington D.C. turned it up to 11 and claimed the day. After a victory like that, I hope Resistance morale is high. It's proof that under the toughest circumstances, we are nimble, powerful and united."
  • Useless Item: Link Amps are used to extend the linking range of a portal. They are generally only useful on extremely out-of-the-way portals and for major, preplanned operations, as even a level 5 portal has more than enough range to link to anything within the same city, so they have absolutely no use in everyday play. Putting Link Amps on a portal wastes mod slots that could be used on more useful mods and will most likely illicit angry remarks from fellow players, since installed mods can only be removed by enemy force.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: "It’s called Niantic. Named after some ship that’s buried under San Francisco. The NIA names all their projects after shipwrecks. That should have been my first clue."
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: ADA's relationship to P.A. Chapeau looks like it falls under this.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: XM, which is collected out in the open and through Power Cubes and is used for actions such as recharging Resonators and attacking Portals with XMPs. Additionally, your scanner needs XM to function, or else your scanner will fill with red static and be unable to hack portals or even see their various conditions until you refill on XM. Since the game doesn't have a health system, aligned Portals strike back against hostile players by sapping their XM, with their chance of attack increasing with Turrets and attack power increasing with Force Amps. Equipping a Portal with a Turret item will increase its chances of attacking every time it's hacked or attacked.
  • Zerg Rush: A method of attacking large clusters of portals. However, players have to be within geographic proximity of the portal location at the same time to conduct a mass attack, and this can be hindered by players having real-life responsibilities, a lack of reliable transportation, or low battery. Even then, players might get intercepted by those on the enemy faction, as all portal capture and link activity is published in the Comm window and watchful enemies may take advantage of this.
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alternative title(s): Ingress
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