lifestyle

You need to download this app NOW.

This is Game of Phones

Yesterday, the Mamamia office started playing an app.

Yesterday, the Mamamia office started chasing strangers up the street, in pursuit of their 3D printers.

Yesterday, the House of Mamamia started playing Game of Phones.

And then we all promptly LOST OUR MINDS.

Game of Phones is an app that was launched by Virgin a couple of weeks ago. It works using GPS technology.

There are virtual prizes (ranging from unicorn masks, to Eftpos gift cards and expensive holidays) scattered around Australia. You pick up a prize by being within 100m of the prize (or a person who own a prize) and stealing it.

Once you steal a prize, you are invisible for a minute. This gives you time to get more than 100m away from the person you stole the prize from.

You can only hold three prizes at a time, and – if you already have your three prizes – you can swap your prize with someone within 100m of you. (Note: this is not consensual swapping; you basically just take what you want and give them your worst prize.)

Virgin stores are immunity; standing inside one gives you an hour of invisibility.

The game runs from 7am-7pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends.

At 6pm tomorrow night, you get to keep whatever loot you have.

Here’s a video that could be interpreted as satire, but is actually pretty accurate:

Lisa and Whitney from ad sales were our office’s first players, and they had developed a pretty genius strategy. They had collected an Eftpos card (a ‘money bag’ in the game) from a prize drop off, and were just stealing it off each other when a minute passed.

Their plan was thwarted, however, by Sarah, our Friday intern, who stole the prize off them. In amongst the pandemonium that ensued, Lucy, Nat, Rosie, Elissa and I each downloaded the app and began playing.

If I was a prize-holder in Melbourne right now, I would be on a train to Werribee. Stat.

Our strategy of stealing the prize off each other was working well, until we came under attack by some looters out on the street. Luckily, through a series of external operations (Rosie may or may not have chased someone up the street… twice) we managed to keep our money bag, as well as score another money bag AND a 3D printer!

Woohoo! Money and bionic limbs for all!

But it was nearly 6pm. The question then was: who would take the loot home?

Rosie lives in the inner city. We knew that, even though she was our best player, letting her take the loot home for the weekend would be a super risky move.

In contrast, I live around 30km out of the city, in an area where it is not unusual for page 3 of the local newspaper to feature a story about farmers shooting foxes. On the battleground map, there was only one player in my area, and they were sitting in a house over 3km away with no prizes; hardly a threat.

ADVERTISEMENT

While we knew I was the most inexperienced and poorly-equipped player – it had taken my clunky old Android about two hours to download the damn thing – it was decided that I should be the one to take the prizes home.

But then? Disaster struck.

Rosie became visible. Her minute was up. But my data roaming had died.

I couldn’t get the prizes.

Lucy had gone home.

Nat had gone home.

Elissa was already walking to drinks with Freya and Mel from ads.

THERE WAS NO ONE TO TAKE THE PRIZES.

Oh, wait, yes there was: the guy standing opposite our building who made off with our 3D printer and one of our money bags.

Bastard.

I then ran to drinks and grabbed Elissa’s phone. The next hour is a blur, but Freya took this super-flattering picture to help me remember it:

The clock struck seven and I was free. We had one money bag left, and it was my job to keep it safe.

As I went to bed last night, Rosie left me with some final words of wisdom/poorly repressed fury:

Mary. I chased some randoms down the street TWICE today. I then transferred responsibility of THREE prizes to you, because you PROMISED they would be safe because you live in woop woop. You then lost two of them in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES. I am so emotionally invested in this. If you lose the last remaining prize after everything I went through today I may actually cry. Keep. The. Dream. Alive. We are all in this now. We’re all in this.

It was all on me.

I was our Mockingjay.

But, there was a flaw in our plan. Because I wasn’t actually a Mockingjay. I was sort of more like a Mocking-kiwi.

I was flightless.

ADVERTISEMENT

I work from home on Saturdays. So, while I had the capacity to take the loot very far away from the city centre, I didn’t have the ability to defend it if threatened, because I had to stay at my desk. (And, y’know, keep this website running.)

Also, the only  plausible way that someone could reach my house would be by car, so they would probably have made their 100m rather quickly.

I woke up this morning feeling confident. That confidence diminished as soon the clock struck nine.

Looters. Looters everywhere, heading up towards my house. They were probably headed further away, where a few people with three big prizes had camped out in the wilderness. (Yes, the wilderness – I actually think they must have thrown their phones into the bush and hoped for the best because these players were located at least 500m away from any house/road.)

But that didn’t mean they’d pass over me and my Eftpos card.

I tried to focus on my work and wish them away, but it was no use.

At 9:46 this morning someone drove up to the bottom of my driveway and stole it.

Bastard.

Rosie’s reaction was a pretty good summary of the mood:

Lucy had watched the whole thing happen on the battleground map. We were devastated.

Lucy then went after the looter, who was heading towards our local shopping centre. For a brief period, she was in possession of a two-man tent. But then I saw our money bag being thrown around, and we had one of the most intense text conversations ever transmitted. Here’s a snippet:

Lucy wanted to do her Christmas shopping? Slacker.

WE ALL HAD LIVES BEFORE THE GAME, LUCY! THE GAME IS OUR LIFE NOW!

But, I digress.

Down in Victoria, our editor Jamila is having a battle of her own, fighting to retain control of a 3D printer in inner Melbourne. She stole it from a man in Brunswick, but he followed her to Collingwood and wrenched it from her possession. She is now on a quest to get it back.

This is what we do now. We spend the days fighting, the nights strategising and regaining our strength.

We sit and we wait for Sunday evening. Those crucial couple of hours just before 6pm tomorrow will be when the real game is played.

Sunday is D-Day.

It is the day that the House of Mamamia will take the Iron Phone.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. This is the past 28 hours of my life.

Are you playing Game of Phones?