Photo by Jack Plunkett

At Rooster Teeth’s annual con, it’s all about the IRL experience.

At a Rooster Teeth podcast taping Saturday afternoon at the Austin Convention Center, co-founder Burnie Burns got the massive audience to do something obscene: crack its knuckles in unison. 

The resulting sound was, of course, a waking nightmare, but it showed the devotion of the crowd at RTX, Rooster Teeth’s annual gaming and internet culture convention, which saw more than 60,000 attendees this year. Before the podcast started, fans amused themselves by playing games of Million Dollars, But…, a Rooster Teeth series. Elsewhere fans gathered to play new games and meet RT personalities, who are known on a first-name basis. There were families dressed like characters from RWBY, another Rooster Teeth series, pointing to the company’s function as a generational bridge. This is a self-contained universe, one that’s constantly expanding.

Speaking to the Daily Dot on the first day of RTX, Burns talked about Rooster Teeth’s ever-expanding universe, as well as knowing your audience and the importance of growing RTX as an IRL gaming event.

“I think gamers, honestly, we’re a little bit ahead of the curve in social media and technology because we already went through that disconnect of ‘When I was a kid, I played video games with my friends,’” he says. “That meant they came over to my house, they sat next to me on the couch, and I bonded with them while we played couch co-op games together. They had a controller, I had a controller. But, late ’90s, everything moved online. Early 2000s, Xbox Live started. So we already started to outsource all of those social interactions to somewhere else. That’s why I think big gaming events like RTX, E3, PAX, I think those took off because gamers were wanting that back.”

There was some big Halo news; a new documentary series, Unconventional, was announced, in which co-founder Gus Sorola travels to “unconventional conventions”; and RWBY fans were treated to a look at new anime gen:LOCK. Rooster Teeth CEO and co-founder Matt Hullum told the Daily Dot that having an audience that lets them experiment is key: “Whenever we push ourselves to the limit is when the community really steps up and has our back.”

We also spoke with Frederator Studios founder Fred Seibert about the new Castlevania series, the state of animation, the early days of Tumblr, and the viral success Bee & PuppyCat.

And cosplayers Meg Turney and Jessica Nigri held forth on convention culture, naming your weapons, and making a real Catbus.

Subscribe to the Upstream Podcast on iTunes.

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