Young Indigenous Men Star in New Gaming Web Series Filmed in Central Australia

Like many young people in Australia and the world, Tevice Ronson who goes by the name ‘Device’ grew 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.

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Connecting with people remotely

A video game show featuring 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 rising popularity of video games during the pandemic.

The videos will be published online on Ltyentye Apurte TV, which is part of a Catholic Care NT community development program.

The team has made a handful of videos and played and reviewed games to date, such as the 2018 reboot of God of War, the latest installment in the Mortal Kombat series, and the virtual reality sensation Beat Saber.

Two young native men, one with a controller, sitting in chairs watching a game on a TV.
The show was filmed in a small shed in the remote community.ABC News: Michael Donnelly

Checkpoint Ltyentye is filmed in the community’s ‘media hub’, a small demountable unit equipped with a TV, computers for editing and space 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 play, we’ll try to get them to play and have their say on it,” Tilmouth said.

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Device Ronson said being in front of the camera wasn’t something he was excited about at first, but said he had become more comfortable the more they filmed.

But playing games in the middle of the desert is not without its challenges.

A young man in a black hat and hoodie.  Two young native men sit behind him watching a TV.
Joshua Tilmouth says the show benefited from an increase in the number of people playing video games during the pandemic.ABC News: Michael Donnelly

“It’s hard to connect online, and obviously that’s a big part of video game culture,” Tilmouth said.

“The internet connection isn’t always great here…so we didn’t do any of those episodes [yet]†

As the show explores what’s great about video games and bringing people together in the community, team members said they also wanted to promote healthy balance.

“You know, encourage kids that you can have fun, play games, but you also have to go to school,” said Mr. Tilmouth.

A young native man in a black shirt looks at the camera.
Device Ronson says it was daunting to be in front of the camera at first, but now he’s enjoying the experience.ABC News: Michael Donnelly

Indigenous Representation in Gaming

The team hopes it will inspire other young indigenous people in the game world.

“We were really hoping it would give a little bit more representation… that there are young Aboriginal people out there playing videos and they love it as much as anyone else,” Me Tilmouth Tilmouth.

He also hoped the show would encourage more Native girls to get involved.

“It would be great to have some girls from Ltyentye Apurte play video games, maybe do their own show one day.”

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