RTX Sydney Roundup
Well, what a bloody weekend. The Rooster Teeth crew hosted RTX Sydney over February 4th and 5th at ICC Sydney, greeted by twenty-four thousand fans and two of Sydney’s hottest summer days. Along with the Rooster Teeth, Achievement Hunter, Kinda Funny and Funhaus crews were a host of guests grown domestically and abroad, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we don’t say that at the top of everybody’s agenda was the deity of gaming himself, Hideo Kojima.
Even going to RTX in a professional capacity (you know, to play games and talk about), it was difficult for me to not go into fanboy mode the second I spotted Jeff Ramsey, two hundred and fifty-odd meters away on the main stage, kicking ass with the Achievement Hunter crew on some great Aussie indies. Any fan would relate. There’s an undeniable magnetism behind names like Bernie Burns, Gus Sorola, Ashley Jenkins, Bruce Green, Joel Heyman, Greg Miller, Tim Gettys, Gavin Free… the whole crew are just giants and they clearly went to great lengths to make sure that RTX Sydney was on point. I have to talk about this at the top; the Q&A with Hideo Kojima was amazing. What a treat for gamers this was. For two hours Greg Miller masterfully picked at the brains of Kojima to give the star-struck audience a glimpse of what thirty-one years in the industry teaches. Over the course of the interview Kojima discussed the motivations behind the highly-anticipated Death Stranding, his relationship with Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, the upsetting false-start that was P.T./Silent Hills and his thoughts on the future of gaming. It was mind-bending! On Death Stranding, Kojima discussed at length the motivation of relationships in the context of gaming: how a stick is used to create distance between a hero and their adversary while a rope is deployed to shorten it. On his start in the gaming industry he confessed that as a boy he wanted to become either a filmmaker or an astronaut, interests that have undeniably influenced him throughout his career. When Miller asked him how he would introduce himself, Kojima shied away, proclaiming “don’t worry about me, please interest yourself with my works”. The man was a class act and again, it was an unbelievable experience to see him in the flesh talking passionately about an art form that resonates with millions of people across the world. It needs to be said that Miller absolutely matched Kojima on the day, slaying the interview. He was careful and considerate when needed, but insisted on pursuing Kojima to get to the questions that he and the audience were curious about. On Kojima’s start in the industry, Miller pushed to work out just how the man went from being just another guy to a gaming giant (it turns out that back then all you needed to do was send out resumes). At one point Kojima mentioned that he wasn’t interested in talking about Metal Gear, and Miller’s affable reply was “you know I’m a ‘hugger’”. Nek minute the two are embracing in front of a cheering audience. It was simply amazing.
We also got to play a nifty little contraption, you might have heard of it; it’s called the Nintendo Switch. what an absolute riot this was to play! Fans lined up in droves to get a go at Australia’s first look into Nintendo’s latest wizardry. On display was 1-2-Switch, ARMS, Mario Kart 8, Snipper Clips, Ultra Street Fighter 2 and, if you were one of the super lucky ones, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I don’t need to go into great detail to describe how we went playing these games, as unfortunately some very embarrassing footage of our crew exists for your viewing pleasure over on our YouTube channel. What I will mention is just how much I love being right, and in this case it’s me being right about the Switch; it’s so much goddamn fun! One example from our time with the Switch, 1-2-Switch features a two-player game called Samurai Training where player one slashes an invisible sword downwards towards player two, and player two has to clap their hands together to catch it before it strikes. I saw this and I thought “who better to play this with then our very Ally Heart”, after all we do enjoy beating each other up each week on the podcast. So we get into this booth and are handed a Joycon controller each. I stood across from Ally, her hands held high and poised to strike. On the other side of a glass panel are people watching in anticipation. Brendan stands in the corner, camera in hand, waiting with baited breath. I stare into Ally’s soul trying to find some way to better anticipate her strike and before you know it, she moves and my hands clap together so quick you’d think I was really expecting to bleed. I look over to the screen to work out if I was dead or alive while Brendan and Ally bellow with laughter. I look out the window and spectators are laughing to one another, presumably at my stupid-looking karate stance. Everyone was having fun and it was clear to me that the Switch flourishes in a party environment, reminiscent of a time not so long ago where Wii Bowling was a thing everyone did at parties. I had loads of fun doing this and in spite of the insane queues, the crew at Nintendo did an amazing job at RTX to share the Switch love.
But of course we’re all there for the hosts, the Rooster Teeth crew who put on one hell of an expo. The number of live shows, panels and Q&As on ticket was astounding. They were working back-to-back to make sure the fans were given a great show. For me, one of the things I’ve always respected about Rooster Teeth is their genuine love for what they do and their willingness to share it with the community. I was lucky enough to watch the Red vs Blue crew shoot the shit, kicked off with Burns’ immortal dig “Get fucked Hayman” (when the video goes online you have to watch it). There were panels dedicated to discussing the content that the company was made famous for, along with interviews of established industry pros to work out what it takes to get into the mix. Again I stress a profound admiration for RT to give fans an insight into just what goes into the works that we all love. It really is a special quality that demonstrates the humility and respect these guys have towards what they do, and what we all love.
To Rooster Teeth I send a sincere thank you. I also want to say another thank you to Michael and Tegan from RESET Podcast who joined us in celebrating episode 50 of The Hungry Gamers to discuss their experience at RTX, and to also help in containing a very inebriated THG crew. They were fantastic and you MUST give their show a listen.
In terms of Ate Bit news over the weekend there are interviews with Bruce Green, Adam Kovic and Tim Gettys which will be up in no time. We got to finally meet one of our OG fans, Dylan, who joined us for a very special lunch (thanks for being such an awesome dude Dylan!). We had a night out with the AGPN guys at Spawnpoint Bar in Sydney where we drank all sorts of cocktails that I’m now advocating to be outlawed. We met the 32nd best Pokemon Master in New South Whales who shared his gigantic cup of rum Slushee with us, and Brendan and I slept in dire conditions on the floor of his office. We’re all tired and worn-out, but you know we wouldn’t have done it any other way. RTX Sydney 2017 was a smash and I look forward to seeing these amazing people again in 2018. That’s all for now folks, stay hungry!