Robotic;Notes Is Google’s Ingress

What is Ingress? It’s Google’s first real video game. “Real” because it’s not their first game, just the first one that is actually a game product, not some bonus feature. For the uninitiated, it’s a game you play on your smartphones (Android ones for now)–it loads up this simple map with various landmarks, you go to these landmarks, and you can do the game stuff at these landmarks. The point is to create “fields” by creating lines between various landmarks, and the sides with the most number of people under their fields win? Something like that. The other point is to follow the chain of clues provided by the various Google Ingress social network entities and figure out the larger narrative behind the game. The game is currently in invite-only beta. You can find out more about the game here.

The Ingress world of Manhattan

There’s a pretty interesting interview that came out today related to this, where the game lead discusses his ideas behind Ingress. You can read it here. Basically, John Hanke (a bit like a SF name if I might say) describes how these new mobile games not only lift player out of the couch, but also melt them within the bigger world, outdoors. The game (and the increasingly small, portable and geo-aware devices that run the game) integrates this experience, and not isolate the player from the external environment like a bubble.

Well, you probably get what I’m trying to go with this with Robotic;Notes. IRUO plus Airi is basically what Ingress is. The Kimijima Reports are like the nonsense from Ingress’s in-game “intel” items or what you might find here or here. There isn’t an elaborate unlock mechanism–at least not the kind you expect from Robotic;Notes, just Googlers’ nerd-grade ciphers. I don’t think we’re looking at a doomsday scenario with XM and the enlightened versus the resistance  the way that Robotic;Notes is, playing up with its potential mechanical, time-traveling hijinks with solar flares.

I wonder how Chiyomaru Shikura feels about Ingress. I guess this is sort of an eventual convergence of event–inevitable given the way the existing technology, adaptation trends, user experiences and media has portrayed the new ways people use these portable electronics. People starting and working from different sectors of life and industry might arrive at a similar conclusion when working independently. Well, I think there’s still the KillBallad angle to Robotic;Notes, and that could be pretty interesting as that plot thread resolves in the second half, let alone the giant robot they’re making along with the actual conspiracy being alluded to via the robots club, Frau’s mom and Gunvarrel.

The story to Robotic;Notes is, thankfully, multifaceted enough that it is only in the past few weeks that it resembled the puzzle-gathering RL game that Ingress is. Hopefully it’ll come out of it soon. But on the other hand, Ingress has real-life applications, which you can read about in this other interview from a Google Maps team guy on the future of maps. It’s no coincidence that Google’s Field Trip is made by the same team that did Ingress. Now they just need to figure out a way to integrate Airi/Kugyuu in my phone, telling me that the Greek restaurant near me is the #1 rated place in a 500-mile radius.


4 Responses to “Robotic;Notes Is Google’s Ingress”

  • praestlin

    2nd half? I thought ANN had R;N down for just 1 cour.

  • vendredi

    I’d say Ingress is probably pre-dated by the whole geo-caching hobby which really got started in earnest with the dawn of GPS, and even that was not a “new” idea by any stretch – the trappings have just changed from old pirate maps to modern smartphones, and the prize has just become a bit more abstract.

    But I suppose you have a point in the sense that both Robotics;Notes and Ingress bring a new twist on an old idea. I think whereas Stein’s;Gate played with time, Robotics;Notes plays a lot more with our sense of “place” – look at how Frau teleprojects herself into club meetings via webcam, or Airi, for that matter.

    • omo

      I’m more amused in terms of seeing the real life equivalent of an anime thing. Sure, of course they are new twists on old ideas, but what’s special about it is the way it channels a sense of adventure through things that are otherwise ordinary.

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