Oh the Conventions You’ll See: RTX in Austin, Texas

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IMG_1566Fourth of July weekend is always jam packed with things to do and places to see. I decided what better place to spend it than Austin, Texas! Production company Rooster Teeth had a convention over the long weekend that included their own people as well as YouTube groups Mega64, GameGrumps, and The Creatures. The convention, called RTX, lasted throughout the weekend, and was possibly one of the best “small” conventions I’ve been to when it came to having a good time and meeting awesome people.

IMG_1547I’d like to start by saying that Austin is a fantastic city. Living in Southern California has its perks, but Austin was probably the nicest place when it came to people hands down. The friend who picked me up from the airport laughed when I expressed my surprise at how generally helpful people were. I bring this up though because of the effect it seemed to have on the convention itself. As stated by Barbara Dunkelman on the Rooster Teeth website, local businesses said that “they’ve never had convention attendees that were as courteous” as the RTX attendees. All that considering it was a sold out convention that boasted over 30,000 passes sold. Throughout the convention, I had the pleasure of meeting lovely people in lines for panels and signings as well as on the floor. IMG_1517Complete strangers were happy to sit and play games of SuperFight (a Cards Against Humanity like game that lets you answer the question of ‘who would win in a fight?’), talk about their favorite moments in Red vs Blue or RWBY, or just get to know each other. There was a general air of happiness around the convention center and surrounding areas.

Day one of RTX was jam packed for me. I flew in Thursday night because I couldn’t get work off, so by the time I finally landed and reached my hotel, it was two AM and registration lined up at eight. I woke up promptly at 7:45 and got my cosplay ready. For those curious, I cosplayed as Junior from the show RWBY, although I didn’t get any good pictures of myself at the con. The line for registration went fast once they started moving things along. It was interesting getting there early because it was a good chance to see the cosplay that people put together. There was Halo armor that looked amazing, RWBY characters everywhere, and even some more traditional characters like Link. Three’s also been a trend recently to cosplay as some of the actual employees of Rooster Teeth, mostly the guys from Achievement Hunter, IMG_1519although it’s not uncommon to see variations of Burnie or Gus from various podcast stories. There were a couple hours to kill between registration (which officially started moving at ten) and the first panel of the day (RWBY, which started at noon), so I wandered around and got lots of cosplay photos, chatted with fellow cosplayers, and grabbed food from the Starbucks nearby. Everything was very relaxed, although that atmosphere wouldn’t remain throughout the weekend. Lining up for panels was supposed to start an hour before the event, but that didn’t last long. People were lining up for RWBY as early as two and a half hours early, and later panels had some people lining up even earlier than that. The RWBY panel was a blast. For those who don’t know much about the show, I’ll go more in depth in a review of Volume One and the review of Episode 1 of Volume 2, which airs on Roosterteeth.com July 24th. Those of us who went to the panel got to see it before everyone else, and when it was over the cast came out to do the rest of the panel. First we saw Monty, Miles, and Kerry, the trio behind the show. Monty was the one who came up with it while Miles and Kerry are the IMG_1563writers behind it. They introduced the ladies that voice the main characters of the show, who shocked everyone when they came out dressed as their characters. Yes, we got to see the main four in cosplay. There were a lot of announcements that came from the panel, including new merchandise in the form of a lovely new poster and plushies of team RWBY, a RWBY video game, and new character announcements. From there, I spent the rest of the day on the floor exploring the various vendors. For all my fellow video gamers out there with an Xbox One or a PS4, I would recommend checking out IMG_1561The Controller Shop for custom controllers. They were on the floor and I got to actually see some of the controllers that were on display as well as feel some of the custom add-ons that they offer. They’re a tad pricey, but for people willing to drop the money, they’re well worth it. The Rooster Teeth store was packed, although they had an express line set up for those who filled out the order form. The layout was easy to navigate, though, and I managed to snag a Ruby doll and a new poster in addition to some other things. Loot Crate was another major stop on the floor; they were selling their June box (Transformers themed, for those unaware) as well as other merchandise. I talked to them for a bit and not only gushed over the fact that July’s theme would be Villains, but got to talk about what August’s theme would be. LootCraters, the next couple months will be lots of fun! In the middle of it all, there was a giant screen set up where people would play games. I managed to catch a bit of the Achievement Hunters playing Grand Theft Auto V, although I didn’t stay long. IMG_1518Fans of the group will want to find the videos from that particular playthrough, however, because they did another one of their insane heists. Some of the smaller booths on the floor were a lot of fun; Devolver Digital was at RTX with demos of their games, which were a blast. Without realizing it, I spent a good hour there playing Broforce with one of the employees. I also got to talk about a game that I’m looking forward to getting when I can, The T.A.L.O.S. Principle.  It had a demo on the floor for a bit, but apparently was swapped out because people were having trouble with the puzzles. Gamers, I would recommend trying out their games, preferably with a controller. While the computer controls are decent, most of their games do play better with a controller hooked up. Steve Jackson Games was there with Munchkin, Zombie Dice, and GURPS books, and I lamented the fact that I’d left my Zombie Dice game at home. For those who go to conventions a lot, the game is a great way to pass the time in lines because of its simple rules and compact nature. I had one more panel I wanted to do, and so I had to leave the floor and go to line up. Alas, it was not to be; not long after the line started, the fire alarm went off. I’d like to take a second to give huge props to all of the Guardians that worked RTX. Everyone got out quickly and without incident, things got rescheduled as needed, and all in all it went as well as could be expected. A lot of people milled about and went to grab food or try to find people to get photo ops. I managed to meet one of the voice actresses from RWBY, Arryn Zech, and talked with her for a bit before I went back to my own hotel.

IMG_1524Day two started early for me. I had a 9:30 panel that I expected to be fairly empty thanks to being right in the middle of Achievement Hunter and The Creatures, two more popular groups. This is where things got crazy. Despite Achievement Hunter starting at 10, people were lining up as early as 7:30, and by some accounts 5:30. For future con goers, I cannot emphasize this enough: please respect the convention rules and do as they state. Lines for panels and signings were only supposed to start one hour before the event, and while the Guardians did attempt to enforce this, there were around 30,000 people at the convention, most of whom were there for the big names of Rooster Teeth like Achievement Hunter, the RWBY cats, the podcasters, and others. Eventually they made lines for signings start two hours earlier, but all that succeeded in doing was pushing the crowds to start forming as early as three hours before hand. Please respect the rules put in place by the convention and the convention center. They are there for a reason and should not just be ignored. The last time I’ve seen lines of that nature, I was at San Diego Comic Con and even then it wasn’t as bad. Some of the smaller signings had room, and so I was able to get the signatures of Jen Brown (voice of Carolina in Red vs Blue and Pyrrha in RWBY) and Lee Eddy (voice of the Pilot in Red vs Blue), who were both amazing and hilarious people, as well as Jeff and Casey Lee Williams, who were behind the music of Red vs Blue and RWBY. In doing so, I missed the Red vs Blue and RWBY music panels, but I was still able to make it to the RWBY volume one screening. There was a short Q&A before which featured Miles, Kerry, Monty to start, and soon had most of the extended cast answering various questions, including Jen Brown, Shannon McCormick (voice of Ozpin in RWBY and Washington in Red vs Blue), Barbara Dunkelman (voice of Yang in RWBY and Jensen in Red vs Blue), Lindsay Jones (voice of Ruby in RWBY and Kimball in Red vs Blue), Arryn Zech (voice of Blake in RWBY and Emily Gray in Red vs Blue), and Kara Eberle (voice of Weiss in RWBY). They answered various questions about the show and voice acting, Shannon gave out Game of Thrones spoilers, and it was a laid back panel before the show started. Once they left, Volume 1 of RWBY started. For those who haven’t had the chance to watch a show with a bunch of other fans, it’s a different experience. Lines were being quoted as they were being spoken, there was cheering and booing as characters appeared on screen, and it was a very energetic viewing. When it was over, some of the staff that worked on the show lingered and chatted, and I got to talk with them. The animators were excited about having more to work with for Volume 2, and their energy only helped make me more excited for the rest of the volume to air. Gray Haddock (voice of Roman Torchwick in RWBY and Sanosuke in the English dub of Rurôni Kenshin) was there as well, and he chatted with fans for a while. By the time that ended and I made my way back to the hotel, it was closing in on midnight.

IMG_1520Day three of RTX. The last day I’d be there, and the only day I wasn’t able to experience fully because I needed to fly home. The day was spent on the floor and waiting for signings mostly, but there was still a lot to do. I went through the “Rooster Teeth Museum”, which hosted props from various shows and shoots. Dan of the Slow Mo Guys stopped by for a little bit and participated in the “First Person Shooting” that they had set up in the area before leaving, but it was fun seeing him attempt to shoot using only a video screen. Meanwhile, there was a full size Warthog replica for Red vs Blue and Halo fans, and the Podcast set up for Rooster Teeth fans to take pictures in and on. Fun fact: there was an earthquake at home as I was taking a photo on the set, which included a little box that stated “in case of earthquake, break glass” and had mini bottles of alcohol. I was extremely amused by this. At the end, they had a little area where the props that the RWBY cast used for their cosplay was displayed as well as some new posters and props from upcoming projects. There were some posters for the iBlade mini series and for the Day 5 short film. From there, I made it into the signing with Ryan and Caleb of Achievement Hunter. I wish I could say that I got their autograph, but alas, I gave it up so I could get a quick birthday shout out for a friend who couldn’t make it. Both of the men were extremely nice and were willing to do the quick video, and I’m glad that I got to see them. They had an overflow set up for people who wanted to watch the big panels but didn’t make it into the room where the Rooster Teeth Podcast was going on, and while I was able to watch that for a little bit, I was also informed of someone else happening. For those who are fans of YouTube groups and those who make Let’s Plays, ChilledChaos and ZeRoyalViking were taking pictures and signing things for fans. I only had about an hour before I had to leave, so I made my way there and managed to get a photo with Chilled, who was very laid back and happy to chat. We talked for a couple minutes before I made my way back to the hotel, officially done with the events of the weekend.

IMG_1545So the version for those who didn’t want to read the whole bit about what I did and what there was to see: gamers should check out Devolver Digital and The Controller Shop, RWBY is going to be great this season and expect me to do a review/recap of what’s happened so far, Red vs Blue is also a great series, always listen and follow the rules set by conventions (seriously!), and if you get the chance to go to RTX next year and are a fan of Rooster Teeth, it’s worth it. I love going to conventions despite not really having the money to do very many of them. That being said, RTX was by far my favorite convention I’ve done and I would gladly make it the one convention I do every year if it meant giving up larger conventions.

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  1. Dominic Dobrzensky July 15, 2014 Reply
    • Nicole Paoli Nicole July 16, 2014 Reply

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