Ingress History Pt II: /r/ingress from 11/15 - 12/31

This is the second part of an Ingress Histories using this subreddit as a source. I extracted Nov 15 - Dec 31, 2012 from Reddit, then curated the posts for items of interest by category. The first post is here:, and it covered Ingress Firsts, Fields, and the World as it Was.


Ingress Changes Lives/Philosophy of Ingress


Reading these posts, one of the things that made me happiest is the realization that Ingress began changing people’s lives almost immediately. Many people had identical “magic” moments when they met a member of the opposing (or the same) team out in the field, and then realized very quickly this was not a game like any other. People went on to give their feedback (It’s Reddit; you can’t stop people from doing that) about the game, game balance, how it would fail, how it would succeed, or what indeed it was even for. Many of these theories and speculation about the game persist even today, sometimes with as many theories as there are agents.

I collected some of these posts to capture the zeitgeist of those first two months; see if you can see how the echoes of the past have informed the present.


Choosing your side & invites:


People needed invites when Ingress began to make accounts, and Niantic rewarded people who produced creative output with invites. The subreddit was full of requests for invites along with people’s creativity. And after that, the thorny question of which side to pick....



Type 2 fun


"Type 2 fun is miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect. It usually begins with the best intentions, and then things get carried away. Riding your bicycle across the country. Doing an ultramarathon. Doing an ultramarathon. Working out till you ****, and, usually, ice and alpine climbing. Also surely familiar to mothers, at least during childbirth and the dreaded teenage years."

                                                                                             -- REI (the Fun Scale)


Ingress has challenged years of places to places where they normally don’t and do things they never would. I’ve personally seen people train to climb the highest mountain in the lower 48 states for Ingress; and plot their way on 20 mile hikes through winter ice. I’ve also seen parents doggedly push their kid’s strollers around the same two blocks of neighborhood portals to claim that territory until their kids are too big for the strollers.

 Many of these activities are neither easy nor pleasant in the moment, but ask any Ingress agent who’s done them what they think about it after it’s done, and they’ll be sure to tell you. Remember when you got kelp wrapped around your leg and I had to slice it off before you got drug out to sea? Or that time you had to change a tire in **** valley? Or when you had to build that same farm every night for three months straight?


Good times!



Meeting the devil

  "We stood at the portal, impossibly linked from California’s coast to the site of a former Russian potemkin village. The fog was thick, and no boats were in site; What could go wrong at 4am? There was a light and the sounds of an engine tickling to a halt. Stalking up out in fog and dressed in black was a man whose name I’d first seen on only portals marking the finest Southern California lighthouses.


He was real after all."

                                                                                               - Agent d0gboy, Homecoming


There is something about encountering your adversary in Ingress. First you may see them on comms. Then, one day, they tickle your attack notices. Before you know it, if you are Ingressing at all you may have found yourself a sure-enough nemesis. One of the early posters here called it like it is -- he said it was “Meeting the devil”. The actual details of the post are lost in the mists, but it’s a perfect term.

I curated some of these posts to hear about the people who play Ingress and their stories of each other. I hope these stories help you remember the first Ingress agent you met, or maybe even the day you met the Devil.





Many games are on rails, or most of the action occurs in procedurally generated sandboxes. Ingress is not that game. Ingress does have scoreboards, and it does have events that can be won or lost, but almost none of those things existed at launch. What then was the “real” point of Ingress? Why was the former Google Earth team behind it? What did Google hope to game?


Have you ever questioned the foundations of your reality?


I’ve collected some of the more contemplative posts from agents about early Ingress -- most of them asking questions you can still see debated today.



Gameplay, Mechanics, and Improvement


Ingress is a deceptively complex game. It masquerades as a game of button mushing and time spent, but in reality it is a game of social organization and engineering, history, bluffing, resource allocation, strategy, a test of executive faculty, and so much more.


Naturally, this means everyone had an opinion (and still does). Here are some of the posts people made, broken up by theme.



Bikegress, Cargress, and other-gress


Ingress drove people to forms of transportation. Most notable was using a bike from Ingress; something that began almost immediately and never stopped. Along with bikes, there were a few other ways to travel….



Operator desktops & gear:


Ingress has a unique role in mobile games: Someone behind the screen, directing and responding to what’s happening on a map. Over the years this has driven play to new heights; having someone in this role is why we have gigafields, anomaly plans, and someone who keep eyes on you when you leave civilization.


The term “operator” or even “dispatch” was not presence on the 2012 Reddit, but I plan to find when these terms are first used. Until then, some screenshots of people’s operator setups. :)



Ingress Media


Ingress was big news in tech in 2012, and here’s a sample of what was happening.






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