Like many other young people in Australia and the world, Tevice Ronson, who goes by the name ‘Device’, has grown up with video games.
Device lives in the remote community of Ltyentye Apurte, also known as Santa Teresa, about 50 miles southeast of Alice Springs.
He is one of the stars of a new video game web series being produced by the community called Checkpoint Ltyentye.
Connect with people remotely
A video game show featuring the residents of a remote indigenous community is not a common find in the Australian gaming landscape.
Executive producer Joshua Tilmouth said the show took advantage of the growing popularity of video games during the pandemic.
The videos are posted online on Ltyentye Apurte TV, which is part of a community development program run by Catholic Care NT.
The team has created a handful of videos so far, playing and reviewing games like the 2018 reboot of God of War, the latest installment in the Mortal Kombat series, and VR sensation Beat Saber.
Checkpoint Ltyentye is filmed in the community’s “media center,” a small detachable set equipped with a television, computers for editing, and space for a console or gaming device.
The cast take turns playing the game of the day, or together during multiplayer games, then talk about their experiences.
“Whatever game guys like to play, we’re going to try to get them to play that and have their say in it,” Tilmouth said.
Device Ronson said that being in front of the camera was not something he was initially excited about, however, he said that he became more comfortable as they filmed.
But playing in the middle of the desert is not without its challenges.
“It’s hard to connect online and that’s obviously a big part of video game culture,” Tilmouth said.
“Internet connection isn’t always good here… so we haven’t done any of those episodes. [yet].”
While the show explores what’s great about gaming and brings people in the community together, team members said they also wanted to promote a healthy balance.
“You know, encourage kids that they can have fun, play games, but they also have to go to school,” Tilmouth said.
Indigenous representation in the games
The team hopes to inspire other indigenous youth in the gaming sphere.
“We were hoping it would give a bit more representation… that there are young Aboriginal people playing videos and they love it as much as anyone else,” Me Tilmouth Tilmouth.
She also hoped that the program would encourage more indigenous girls to participate.
“It would be great to have some Ltyentye Apurte girls playing video games, maybe do their own show one day.”