Trick Jumps in Grand Theft Auto V

I meant to spend most of my break between semesters catching up on reading like I did last year, but we’re about a week out from the first day of class and I’ve only read through some volumes of the comic book series Grimm Fairy Tales. It’s not bad, but it’s also not the intellectually stimulating experience I want from a book. I picked them up as digital comics a few years ago and never got around to reading them. Maybe they were part of a Humble Bundle, I don’t know. It’s hard to resist the book Humble Bundles.

I’m reading through some more interesting stuff, like Karen Armstrong’s book on Paul the Apostle, St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to HateThe End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I’m also playing Grand Theft Auto V pretty heavily. I picked it up on Steam’s winter sale a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, so I wanted to give this one a shot.

The story mode is good, but I enjoy the online play more, even though it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of load times. I also wish it had more of the story mode content, like items you can find and collect. One thing that did carry over is the trick jumps. Some of them are a headache to get right, mostly because you have to use the right vehicle and avoid killing yourself while pulling off the jumps, or you have to land in just the right spot to get credit for the jump. It’s fun, though. One of the more interesting ones to do are the jumps at the airport traffic circle off the billboards. I made the video below of the jumps, but I feel like I could probably pull off two backflips on the motorcycle before landing. I’m going to give it a shot.

A New Addiction: Ingress

A screenshot of the Ingress Scanner on iOS
A screenshot of the Ingress Scanner on iOS after an hour of testing things out.

I recently came across the blog post of a friend in Rome who has been playing Ingress consistently for about a year and recently reached level 16. I remembered trying to play Ingress when it was first released but I didn’t have a phone that was capable of it, and my tablet at the time was wifi only, so I gave up. After reading my friend’s blog post, I checked to see if Ingress had been released on iOS and found that it had, last year. So, I got it right away.

The app is kind of buggy. Using the Comm often causes the app to lock up entirely, which is bizarre, since that doesn’t happen with a 3rd party app that accesses the web-based version of the Intel  map and Comm. Maybe Google wants people to get interested in Ingress and then go buy an Android phone that it will work better on? I don’t know, but I’ll just wait and hope the bugs are ironed out.

Anyway, figuring things out was a little difficult, but that’s mostly my own fault. There are training modules that you can use to get a sense of what you’re supposed to do be doing, but I just threw myself into it. I was lucky enough to find a few neutral portals in my area that I could take over, surprisingly on my own street. When my name started popping up on the map, players from both factions welcomed me to the game and the neighborhood and started sending me tips on how to improve my level and gameplay. I quickly found out about portal keys, fields and Mind Units.

My mission? Turn the neighborhood blue by capturing and maintaining portals (the things that look like sun flares on the scanner image above) and fight off the green team, which is working for aliens who want to destroy human society as we know it, which may not be a completely bad thing, given people’s propensity for violence and stupidity, but what about art and culture? What about self-determination and the preservation of a uniquely human history? What about beer? So, yeah, I’m working for the Resistance.