Like many other young people across 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 80 kilometres south-east of Alice Springs.
He’s one of the stars of a new video game web series being produced out of the community, called Checkpoint Ltyentye.
Connecting with people remotely
A video game show featuring residents in a remote Indigenous community isn’t a common find in Australia’s gaming landscape.
Executive producer Joshua Tilmouth said the show capitalised on the rising popularity of video games during the pandemic.
The videos are published online on Ltyentye Apurte TV, which is part of a community development program run by Catholic Care NT.
The team have created a handful of videos so far, playing and reviewing games like the 2018 reboot of God of War, the latest instalment in the Mortal Kombat series, and the virtual reality sensation, Beat Saber.
Checkpoint Ltyentye is filmed in the community’s ‘media hub’, a small demountable equipped with a TV, computers for editing, and room for a console or device to play games on.
The cast take turns playing the game of the day — or together during multiplayer games — then talk about their experiences.
“Whatever games the guys like to play, we’ll try get them to play that and give their thoughts on it,” Mr Tilmouth said.
Device Ronson said being on camera wasn’t something he was thrilled about initially, however said he had grown more comfortable the more they film.
But playing games in the middle of the desert isn’t without its challenges.
“It’s hard to connect online, and that’s obviously a big part of the video game culture,” Mr Tilmouth said.
“Internet connection is not always great out here … so we haven’t done any of those episodes [yet].”
While the show explores what’s great about video games, while bringing people in the community together, team members said they also wanted to promote a healthy balance.
“You know, encourage kids that you can have fun, play games, but you’ve also gotta go to school,” Mr Tilmouth said.
Indigenous representation in gaming
The team is hoping it inspires other young Indigenous people in the gaming sphere.
“We were kind of hoping it gives a bit more representation … that there are young Aboriginal people playing videos and they love it just as much as anyone else,” Me Tilmouth Tilmouth.
He also hoped the show would encourage more Indigenous girls to get involved.
“It’d be great to have some girls from Ltyentye Apurte playing video games, maybe do their own show one day.”