New Norm, Same Ole’ RTX Austin

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| September 23, 2022

From its humble origins of having 500 attendees in 2011, RTX has blossomed to become one of the premier cons to attend for all things Rooster Teeth and pop culture. The internet entertainment production company based in Austin, Texas, created iconic shows such as Red vs. Blue and RWBY and popular YouTube channels like Achievement Hunter. RTX Austin is held annually at the Austin Convention Center and some surrounding hotels and venues, and this year is was back during the Fourth of July weekend. There, fans can meet their favorite personalities within Rooster Teeth, enjoy a range of fun events, and see what’s next for Rooster Teeth. 

Selfie of Emmanuel Alejandro looking excited and wearing a comic strip print face mask while standing in the hallways of the Austin Convention Center while others are people walking around in the background.
One of many face masks worn during RTX Austin 2022 (Photo by Emmanuel Alejandro)

However, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the convention to an online affair for two years in 2020 and 2021. This year marked their first in-person RTX since 2019, and I got to go as a fan. In spite of the lingering pandemic concerns, con fever is in full swing! And RTX is along for the ride.

The new norm

With the pandemic still an ongoing concern, the RTX events team took precautions to make sure the event was the safest to attend. Using the Clear app on smartphones helped the organizers confirm whether an attendee, volunteer, or guest was cleared to go to the event with either a vaccination card or a negative COVID test. Also, convention staff provided a special green wrist band to the Weekend and higher-tier badge holders so that they could check in faster instead of taking out their phones every time they entered the convention center. Even with these measures in place, masks were mandatory throughout the entire weekend in the convention center and the numerous venues that hold other events within RTX.

Photo taken from a booth of two RTX volunteers, called Guardians, sitting down and one standing up behind a booth checking in RTX attendees in front of it.
Each year, the RTX volunteers, called Guardians, wear a different T-shirt color. Here you see Guardians at the registration tables wearing the 2022 tie-dye hot pink. (Photo by Chase Potter)

The panels

As always, RTX’s bread and butter is the numerous panels that were scattered throughout the weekend. A recent addition was the podcast panels that are part of Rooster Teeth’s podcast division The Roost. One panel I visited was the Ship Hits The Fan podcast, and it was definitive of what makes RTX a unique experience. Hosts Charlotte Avery, Patrick Brown, and Brian Gaar talk about shipwrecks and the events that drove to it. The panel included a story of an ocean stewardess whose bad luck led to the sinking of the RMS Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic and lived to tell the tale. Yet another story involves the doomed Swedish warship Vasa as it sank due to high winds. The ship was the definition of bougie as it had the most ornate decorations at the time. Structurally, though, it wasn’t the best built ship! The ironic thing is that the ship was discovered in the 1950s fully preserved and is currently housed in a museum in Stockholm! They wrapped up with a detailed account of the sinking of a toy ship in Brian Gaar’s home. Yup, a toy ship.

Large display panel in one of the RTX panel rooms projecting a computer desktop with a web browser open. The browser shows the image of a toy, which is a boat carrying a helicopter.
The aforementioned toy ship that sank during the Ship Hits the Fan panel (Photo by Emmanuel Alejandro)

While The Roost’s podcast panels brought something fresh and new, it wouldn’t be RTX without the mainstays of Rooster Teeth like Funhaus and Achievement Hunter in their own panels. I got to go to the Funhaus panel, and it was chaotic as ever. From the hijinx of James’ Idiot Detective character to semi-solving a case involving a stolen hard drive, the Funhaus crew delivered their comedy full force. Also, the RTX standard On The Spot panel will always astound me on how off-the-rails an improv show can be live with original host Jon Risinger and guest host Armando Torres.

The community

Posed image on a red RTX-branded backdrop of Emmanuel Alejandro with three members of the Funhaus cast all standing in a line partially facing the camera, mimicking a prom photo.
An RTX prom entourage with Emmanuel (second from left) and the Funhaus cast members Ryan Haley, Jacob Fullerton, and Lindsay Washbun (Credit: Emmanuel Alejandro)

With RTX comes the fans of Rooster Teeth who come in droves to Austin. The community will always be the highlight in every RTX. Friendships are often formed from just having a simple conversation while standing in line or sitting in a panel room. Maybe it’s a fellow RT fan, or maybe it’s someone who is part of Rooster Teeth itself. Take Omar De Armas for example: he is the supervising producer of Funhaus, and I never knew he was a Mets fan until I saw him in a video wearing a cap from the team. Each time we meet across numerous RTXs, we have long chats sharing our love (and misery) on how the Mets are doing during the season. I even give him merch from the team as a way of giving thanks for all the hard work he’s done to create such top quality content. Those bonds really can stick for a long time. I’m glad to be part of not only the Funhaus community, but to the entirety of Rooster Teeth fandom.

Even with the new norm of the pandemic, RTX 2022 was such a memorable experience. Roaming through the convention center halls again was such a thrill, and seeing all of the Rooster Teeth personalities under one roof is always a treat. What holds for next year’s event? Who knows? But I’m excited to see what’s next!

Selfie that Emmanuel Alejandro took with Brian Gaar in the vendor area during RTX 2022.
Me with Rooster Teeth’s Brian Gaar (Photo by Emmanuel Alejandro)

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