Get Outside and Save the Planet This Weekend – 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Playing the ARG Ingress with Your Kids

Ingress by Nantic Labs at Google
Ingress is an augmented reality game in which you walk around the real world and interact with objects and other players in a sci-fi setting. It’s persistent, faction-based role-playing and strategy. It’s also great. And here’s why.

“Going for a walk” is way less lame when you’re saving the world in the process.

There’s only so much hiking a kid will ever want to do (mine will cap out from boredom pretty quickly, even though they have endurance in spades), until the next portal they need to capture is almost two kilometres away. Then, they SPRINT THE ENTIRE WAY.

"4 km round-trip? To save the future of humanity? BRING IT ON."
“4 km round-trip? To save the future of humanity? BRING IT ON.”

“Why did we come here?” always has a sweet answer.

“Because THE RESISTANCE NEEDS US” is more effective at convincing a child than “Because there are pretty trees and stuff around here. I dunno, throw this Frisbee.”

Pretending your dog is a secret Resistance agent makes it way funnier when he stops and poops four times in quick succession.

“Agent L, we are RUNNING OUT OF BAGS and have no more hands to carry them. The Enlightenment will smell us coming and they’ll AGAIN? REALLY? Will you PLEASE STOP.”

Your kid will start spouting crazy technobabble.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a seven-year-old utter the phrase “We hacked the portal!” or “Fire the XMP to at the resonators!” but it’s pretty freaking adorable. It’s like your kid becomes Wesley Crusher for a minute, if Wes hadn’t been written for the express purpose of having the audience hate him.

When we weren't running all over the neighbourhood, we were planning our next outing. Next time, we reinforce our closest portal with this.
As long as my kids don’t go all Naked Now and try to take over the ship while drunk, I will continue to promote their love of science and sci-fi games.

Driving around suddenly becomes less awful and more technothriller.

After a long day in the sun, getting from point A in point B can be as much an exercise in avoiding tears as it is in conducting a vehicle. Drive-by hackings, quick-fire XMPs, and swiping portal keys while on the go makes for a quiet drive other than the celebratory crowing when you pick up that portal shield you need to keep your closest portal from falling to the enemy, just before the van moves out of range.

This caused more celebration than most slow drives through mall parking lots.
This caused more celebration than most slow drives through mall parking lots.

“How was your walk?” gets more than a monosyllabic response.

Instead of “Fine,” expect a saga about capturing portals, firing weapons, reinforcing shields, collecting exotic matter, and exploration.


Ingress is an augmented reality game by Google’s Niantic Labs. It’s got a wicked sci-fi backstory that features CERN and the Higgs Boson and aliens, persistent faction-based gameplay, and the best part is, you need to go to physical locations in the real world to play it — making it a great way to augment (ha!) your boring old regular walks. I spent the morning playing it with my eldest and you should probably check it out this weekend. I hope the weather’s good for you.

It’s available for free on Android and, now, on iOS. Grab the game at the links below, or visit the official site. If you’re still not sold, read more here.


They aren’t coming. They’re already here.

And, as always, paddle your own canoe.


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