The last few months have been challenging with my Head of School responsibilities on top of everything else involved in my work. I have found distraction from an unexpected source, Augmented Reality games like Pokémon Go and Ingress (and more recently Delta T, although I am at a fairly early stage with that). I started playing Pokémon Go (PG) in August 2016 (and I mentioned it in a post here), and after a suggestion from a fellow PG player, I downloaded Ingress in October of the same year. At the same time as I started playing these games, I started going for early morning walks around campus, playing initially PG but later Ingress as I walked. I quickly got familiar with the Pokéstops and Portals around campus, and progressed in both games. The fact that I was getting out almost every day (weather permitting) was itself beneficial. It was useful to think about current problems as I walked around, and sometimes I came up with solutions before the end of my walk! The games provided an incentive to get out, but also, especially in the case of Ingress, gave me a non-work related strategical exercise to work on, which was and continues to be genuinely helpful. Instead of worrying about a particular issue at work last thing at night, I would think about my strategy to reach the next level in Ingress (for example). I can genuinely say that having these distractions helped preserve my sanity!
So what about the games themselves? Well, I started with PG and progressed up the levels by catching and evolving Pokémon. I didn’t then, and have never since taken the game to the next level of battling in gyms. I started playing Ingress seriously in late 2016/early 2017, and quickly caught the ‘bug’, initially trying to get to level 8 (which is where things start getting interesting). I paused playing PG for a while, because when my HoS responsibilities really started building up, I simply didn’t have ‘room in my head’ for two games, and the strategic planning aspect of Ingress was particularly beneficial. I reached my current Ingress level, 11, in November 2017, and am now slowly progressing towards level 12 (which needs two more gold badges than I currently have), and I resumed playing PG when I was coming to the end of my HoS term. I am currently about half way through level 30, and enjoying hunting the new species of Pokémon that have appeared during my absence. Also, in the last week I have had a go at Delta T, which has fairly recently been launched in beta format on Android, However, I still don’t really know what I am doing with it, and I haven’t found any of the helpful documentation that exist for PG and Ingress.
Ingress has a social aspect to it too; the local ‘Enlightened’ faction meet regularly, and they have been very helpful to me. PG has many Facebook groups where people highlight interesting Pokémon finds etc.
All in all I have really enjoyed these games, and they have helped me too. Who would have thought that at my age I would have become a fan of augmented reality gaming?