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I wanted to write about Ingress some time ago, but I hadn’t really got around to it. Perhaps I was too busy playing. I have installed Ingress in January and messed around with it, but I got really serious about it in February.

If you don’t know what Ingress all about, take a look around the web. Plenty of web pages can be read for introduction. After four months and have reached the highest level possible, I am not really interested in explaining much about the game itself to newcomers. I’ll just say here that it is a multiplayer Android game, and often dubbed as augmented reality game. I’ll just focus on how it changes me.

At the beginning I tried not to have much interaction with other players. I am a lone wolf after all, and rather uncomfortable interacting with new people. But it was then clear it would be easier to advance to upper levels with the help from other players.

So I began to socialise with other players, mostly from my faction (Enlightened) but also from the adversary (Resistance). Some players (agents in Ingress terminology) are in the thirties, lots are in the twenties. Some are even younger.  They are usually interesting characters, although some of them can be irritating. Along the way, I make new friends and acquaintances. Most are outside my usual social circle, although there are one  or two exceptions (well, actually maybe four).

A lot of active players are passionate about the (roleplaying) game, and sometimes there are clashes. Later changes to the game demand even more coordination from the agents, so the game is getting more social than ever.

Unlike other videogames which can be played in front of the screen, Ingress forces you to move around. So, I move around, like other players too. I walk a lot, and uses public transportation more. It gives me reasons to go to places I don’t normally go, like Pulau Untung Jawa (see the linked video about an awesome project we did back in early June)

I started to notice more details about the City: statues, museums, cemeteries, monuments. People watching is an old hobby of mine, but I began to observe some other people that usually not interest me: street pedlars, security guards …. and petty criminals. I know gated communities exist, but after playing in Tangerang I saw them for the first time. Suffice to say I think I know Greater Jakarta  better now after playing much Ingress, which is nice if you live and work here.