There is a war raging on the streets of Kendal ….

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But it is not what you are expecting to read about, not in the slightest.

This war came to the streets of Kendal a couple of years ago when the Augmented Reality game called “Ingress” came out for Android and then later iOS, described on wikipedia as

Ingress is an augmented reality massively multiplayer online role playing GPS-dependent game created by Niantic Labs, a startup within Google (approximately 7 million current active players world wide). The game was originally exclusively for Android devices, and was made available for Apple’s iOS on July 14, 2014. The game has a complex science fictionback story with a continuous open narrative.

The gameplay consists of establishing “portals” at places of cultural significance, such as public art, landmarks, monuments, etc., and linking them to create virtual triangular “control fields” over geographical areas.  Ingress has attracted an enthusiastic following in cities worldwide amongst both young and old.

There are 2 sides to any war, and in this game there are two factions to choose from. The Enlightened fight believing their actions will uplift humanity, and bring about the next chapter in human evolution, whereas the Resistance believes in preserving what freedom humanity has left. The Resistance is represented by blue and the Enlightened are represented by green.

The game attracts more mature players normally as did geo-caching a few years ago, and it is quite normal for players to visit Kendal “so their wives can partake of the shops” whilst the players spend an hour or so wandering around Kendal’s landmark sites “capturing portals”, “farming for weapons” or “creating fields”, and all this can only be seen by watching the game through your mobile phone (This is the Augmented Reality)

Players can use a desktop google intel version of the game to plan their, or the teams moves, and more importantly where to visit next.

A player view of the game play in action

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View from google intel maps used for strategy and planning

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At the last count in kendal there were close to 100 portals, or areas of significance that had been designated as a portal.

Whether you are interested in games or not, you would be surprised what a modern mobile device based game has done in its own small way for tourism in Kendal and the The Lake District.

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