Bad news. We are living in the Matrix. But fear not­— you can help shape the new world, capture exotic matter (XM) and fight for the Enlightened and help the Shapers infiltrate Earth. Or you can join the Resistance and protect humanity from the Shapers ingression.

Ingress is a game…or is it?

Ingress is an app any Android platform user can download from the Google Play store; ios7 will be available later this year. Players are prompted to join a side, or faction, as an agent upon downloading the game.

After joining a faction, the missions begin: users capture portals and build a base for their team. Based in the real world, Ingress incorporates landmarks, buildings, sculptures or historic areas as portals to XM. Users can access portals, hack them, collect experience and either defend the Shapers’ entry to the world or fight for the purity of humanity.

Currently, downtown Boise and Boise State is controlled by the Enlightened, or the green team, whereas downtown Nampa is controlled by the Resistance, the blue team.

“(Ingress) is like a real world version of capture the flag,” said Erik Larson, junior mechanical engineering major. “Each team’s goal is to capture a portal, connect them together and create controlled areas.”

User created portals are located around the world, and the number of portals is constantly growing.

Larson has been playing since the game was in its beta stage­­—nearly a year and a half ago. He is a member of the Enlightened and is finishing level six. Considering the highest level an agent can be is eight, Larson is doing pretty well.

When he first started, the game was almost nonexistent but now he estimates the number of participants has doubled or even tripled.

The game was developed by Niantic Labs and published by Google. It was awarded the Top Game of 2013 at Google Play Player’s Choice Awards.

Fortunately, if we are in the Matrix, picking between the blue and red pill isn’t something to worry about. Download the game and explore the truth yourself.

Eryn Shay Johnson
Eryn Shay Johnson is the Assistant News Editor at the Arbiter. She currently studies communication at Boise State University. Johnson has a history in producing media content; she has produced content for The Post Register of Idaho Falls and The Times-News in Twin Falls. Her article “Good for the Soul: Group uses laughter as path to better health” was picked up by the Associated Press in July 2011. When she isn’t writing or studying Johnson spends time with her boyfriend, dog, and cat in their south Boise home.