I stepped out this afternoon planning to paint the town as if it were St. Patrick’s Day, but I was disappointed to find a bleak landscape mostly devoid of portals. I did manage to capture a couple of unoccupied portals, submit a few portal candidates, and top off my XM meter.
Ostensibly, Ingress is an augmented reality MMOG by Google for Android devices. Players join one of two factions, collect “exotic matter” (XM) for energy, and capture portals associated with physical locations. Three or more portals may be linked into a polygon, and the population covered by the polygon is added to the “mind score” of the player’s faction. Since the game involves publicly-accessible landmarks, it is best played in more densely-populated areas. As a side effect of playing Ingress, players submit landmarks, GPS coordinates, and other mapping data to improve Google’s mapping service.
Ingress is currently in closed beta. To get an invitation, you could either lodge a request at ingress.com or nianticproject.com, or hang out on #invites at irc.irchighway.net. Details regarding Ingress lore could be found at the unofficial Niantic Project Wiki, and a list of in-game passcodes is on Google Docs. Good luck and enjoy!