A bit more than a year ago I watched some short Youtube movie. I remember I was for a short vacation at the Belgian coast and reading some things online and my eye caught an announcement of something new. A GPS enabled strategy game that needed to be played with a smartphone. Curious I went to the website mentioned and the mentioned video was the following:
I asked for a code and three weeks later I obtained it and was able to go explore the world around me from a different point of view. It has been a rush to get to level 8 which is still the highest score one can obtain at this moment. It’s been loads of fun and cold as I started out in winter and sometimes played for 6.5 hours while it was freezing and the landscape was covered with snow. Due to this game I got into contact with a bunch of other people, both from my alliance the Enlightened and also people from the other alliance the Resistance.
In the beginning there was only one so called portal in Essen, the place where I live, and I requested for a bunch of others which came alive a couple of months later. Basically putting my small village on the Intel map. At that moment I was the only player in town and not much happened. On the evening before leaving to the USA for a week to go to the MVP summit at Microsoft my alliance partners in Antwerp noticed a notorious Resistance player coming over and in the evening he and some player from also quite a distance of Essen came to destruct everything I built up. I fought them off for like an hour but then had to turn home again to further pack my bag for a long travel. They picked the moment well though. I would be gone for a week and in the mean time a new local Resistance fighter stood up and took his first baby steps towards glory. After a while I got to meet him. Turned out to be one of my old school buddies. Essen has never been the same ever since and portals changed on a high pace from one faction to the other on a daily basis.
In the mean time I also played my part in creating the first leven 8 portal in Belgium constructed by Belgians. A week after I got married a bunch of people from over Belgium came together in Domein Rivierenhof. A place that had a load of portals available within walking distance. One of the few at that time. We succeeded in our effort and had a great time. And it has been as such ever since.
During the year the tools got better. Especially the agent which lacked a lot of functionality in the beginning has become way better over time to play with. Also new items have been introduced and new global play to get people together or share an effort to accomplish local and global missions. Also the new badge system where one can get a badge in different categories keeps the game alive.
Alive? Yes, quite some people, also 3 in Essen from my faction, have given up once they reached level 8 and didn’t see an upgrade path anymore for the future. Too bad. I admit that due to work, family life, being high level I also lowered my activities but I still like to play it where I can. I’ve played mostly in Belgium but also the Netherlands, Madrid Spain, Lebanon and the USA (Belle Vue Washington state). Where ever I come I notice that I start looking for art, special buildings, … to see if there are portals to hack or to request new ones. It for sure gave me more interest into such things and got me into places where I never came before even though I used to work close to these places in the past but never really cared to visit. Besides that the community that started up by players and occasional get togethers keep it a fun game to play.