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RTX Australia: Major conference draws thousands but improvements to be made

If you don’t know about Rooster Teeth, that’s ok, because thousands of fans sold out a Rooster Teeth convention called RTX Australia months before the event, mobbed the stars, and came to appreciate both internet culture and gaming at all levels.

Rooster Teeth’s audience are young gamers and web culture geeks who think nothing of dropping $150 for a weekend pass to hang with their friends and wait hours in line to get an autograph.

Techly was at the event, held at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh (near Redfern station), partly out of curiosity and partly out of a love of games.

The event was split into a few areas, mixing cosplay contests with scheduled conference talks on anything from a serious chat regarding diversity in gaming to sessions with Rooster Teeth stars. There was the main exhibition hall, filled with pop-culture booths and dedicated gaming stations, local Australian creators, merchandise, and a Doom bar, with an incredibly long queue.

The most popular sessions were generally on a large centre stage in front of thousands of faithful, who’d camped out areas in the seating sections.

Those sessions featured Rooster Teeth talent, including the Funhaus team and the Lazer Team crew. Australian personalities included Stephanie Bendixsen – or Hex as we know her on ABC TV’s Good Game – who was excellent in her appearances and keynote.

The expo had a distinct gaming flavour, maybe more than we expected given the web culture prospects also on offer, and cosplayers in the audience were certainly committed to their craft.

On the could-be-better front, lines were long for basics like food and water, with Technology Park somewhat isolated from amenities like shops and supermarkets. It was also hot, with previous Finders Keepers markets showing how stifling the poorly ventilated old workshop buildings can be, even at night.

Part of a big-event experience is waiting in line for a signature or merchandise, so I felt for some of the attendees who queued hours to get an autograph and missed their chance at the end of a session. The Rooster Teeth stars and additional panelists were generally very giving both on and off the stage, trying to help with pop-up signings and staying until the very end.

Apparently there have always been queue issues for RTX, and at their Austin events lines are said to be even longer. Again, that’s the conference experience, and it’s no different to, say, a Formula 1 signing event, where you’ll wait forever for most popular things. But at least more food vendors could’ve been present, because the wait to get a meal was crazy.

The biggest takeaway from the event was that Australians are super serious about their games, and that an expo of any size is likely to meet success, with the right mix of YouTube and Twitch stars, some exclusive games on offer to be played, and a venue big enough.

Speaking of, RTX Australia in 2017 will be held on February 4 and 5 at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

Our tips are to take your own food and water – it’s not just cheaper but faster and will save your feet.

About the author

Tristan has a passion for tech, digital life, sport, and being told he looks better in person.

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