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Canberra, all covered in slime

By johnboy 11 January 2014 45


Last week I let pestiness post a call to arms for Canberrans to join her faction in Google’s game Ingress.

Thus intrigued I fired up the copy of Ingress on my phone that I’d flunked out of training with a year ago.

The software has upgraded a few times since then, which I suspect is why it worked better.

Sadly though, last year I’d joined The Resistance which means I now have the joy of getting my arse handed to me by a whole bunch of new Englightened users who have strikingly similar screen names to a bunch of RiotACTers.

The social aspects have yet to materialise here in the Resistance. No-one has approved my application for the Google+ circle and most of my interation has been my phone beeping to tell me my resonators are being obliterated.

But I’m merely a humble level 4.

It is great fun however, and it does keep making one want to get outdoors (albeit staring at your phone).

Now that I know what to look for Anzac Parade this morning was verminous with Ingress players.

The emphasis on local art, memorials and landmarks might have some unintended consequences as administrators mistake the surge of attention.

It goes particularly well with riding a bike. This in turn leads one to cycle one handed, with earphones in, staring at a phone screen.

I’m pretty sure the Big Book of Clever Things To Do does not devote a page to this.

The nice thing about being utterly overwhelmed by the slime in this part of Canberra is one can still collect XM Bursters (think bombs) from Enlightened Portals and then set them off in the middle of Civic when the enemy resonators are thick on the augmented reality ground.

Kaboom! A phone screen so full of damage numbers it looks like it’s going to bleed red.

It’s worth noting the game is creepy as hell. Going 16 hours without logging in gets a note of concern on login from the controller “It’s been 16 hours, I was worried about you”.

It feels at times unpleasantly real, which is probably part of the appeal.

If Google was some sinister entity set on world conquest this might well be part of it.

On the other hand the dogs love the long walks and it gets me out of the house.

If a hellish domestic situation hasn’t yet driven one to seeking out anonymous sex at public toilets; Ingress might well be a useful halfway house.

And if you are joining up then think about it, surely Canberra needs a bit more Resistance?

What’s Your opinion?

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45 Responses to
Canberra, all covered in slime
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wildturkeycanoe 10:17 pm 23 Jan 14

For someone who has a bit of an idea [not much] about how this game works, answer me this-
Should a player from either side encounter players from the other side at one of these “portals” or such, and the player or players from the other side have less than good intentions [ie. they have some serious issues separating reality from science-fiction], how does one protect oneself in the real world from being abused, injured or having their phone destroyed because they are partaking in a virtual game that is now taking place in real time in the real world?
Like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, some folks spend an awful lot of money on this stuff in order to win, as evidenced by the comments here. Eventually, if not already, some idiots will form gangs and try to catch out these enemies by watching and pouncing on anyone using an android phone in the vicinity of an important stronghold.
Call it a game, just like Modern Warfare, but freaks will use it as justification for their unstable behavior.
If you doubt me, I just heard first hand from a participant being threatened with a baseball bat, not for playing the game but for being a random vagrant hanging outside someone’s house suspiciously. Also, verbal abuse has been carried out at “gathering points”, so don’t think this is just a fun app but rather a potentially hazardous experience.
My advice as a bystander is to approach this game’s interactiveness with caution.

    johnboy 10:38 pm 23 Jan 14

    In the rare or unlikely event of encountering aggravation one applies to have the transgressor banned from the game.

    Generally in-game you interact with the oppo more so feelings range mostly from pity to grudging admiration, to pity based on the poor bugger is better than you just because they have no life.

    But the threat of expulsion from the game generally ensures pained civility.

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