“Just like in the arcade games of the past, the government initiatives that exist are currently about us, without us. I want us to be seen, to have a say that enables us to take back control.”
Jarra Karalinar Steel conjures the nostalgic excitement of 1990s videogame arcades in More Than Just a Game. At its centre is The Adventures of Dolly, a playable game made with Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa illustrator Charlotte Allingham. Take the controls and take Dolly on a journey through an alternate reality or not-so-distant future of Melbourne’s CBD, featuring iconic trams and Swanston Street.
Growing up, videogame protagonists weren’t relatable to Jarra. This work remedies that, giving First Peoples a chance to see ourselves imagined in a videogame – made for us, by us. Through The Adventures of Dolly, custom possum and wallaby spirit flooring and the hand-carved arcade cabinet, Jarra reclaims a place that hasn’t reflected our experiences. She brings Indigenous stories into gaming, inspiring the next generation and giving us power to determine our own futures.
Game designed in collaboration with Charlotte Allingham
Game programmed by Peter Russell Adams
Arcade cabinet made with assistance from David Brophy
In ACMI's collection
Previously on display
19 February 2023
ACMI: Gallery 4
How I See It: Blak Art and Film → Zone 8
Videogame, arcade machine handcrafted from reclaimed Australian blackwood, LED lettering, custom flooring