The following multi-part post was originally published on Trevor Trove between July 2-6, 2016
Day One Recap
Today was my first day at my first Rooster Teeth Expo. As I wrote about last week, I don’t exactly have a connection to Rooster Teeth content so I’m pretty much her to see Kinda Funny and friends. But all in all, I had a pretty solid first experience.
Shortly after I wrapped up my post from Sky Harbor airport last night, I did indeed board a plane and get to Austin, landing around 1 AM. The hour and a half delay wound up working in my favor as it turned out. By the time I picked up my luggage, my friends and roommates for the trip were free and able to grab me from the airport, saving me the ride sharing drive to the hotel.
Christian (aka PixelBrave who always puts together amazing recap videos for these events) is local to Austin so he was able to drive to the airport and grab me. He had all of my roommates for this trip in the car with him: Jonathan (aka Xyger), Frank (aka IrrelevantJokes), and Joe (aka SomethingGamez). Christian got us to the hotel and we checked in.
Now, if you’ve been following these event recaps of mine for a while now, you may have picked up on the trend of cramming as many people into the room as possible. There were 7 or 8 of us at PAX South, 11 at PAX East, and 9 at Kinda Funny Live 2. And at Kinda Funny Live 2, I kind of reached my “I’m too old for this” breaking point (that many people sharing a bathroom, the inability to walk around without stepping on people, the smell that can accumulate with that many bodies over time). So for this trip I kindly requested with my friends that we cap the room. It was supposed to be me, Xyger, Joe, Frank, and Kaylie in a double queen room (with Kaylie joining us today). A last-minute change of plans actually kept Kaylie from making the trip up today but we soldiered on. Probably in part because instead of a double queen bed room, they gave me a one bedroom king suite. Between the king bed, the pull-out sofa, and the extra standalone full, there was ample room this time. We even figured with all of the comfortable chairs, we might have been able to put 8 in here without using the floor. But I’m still very grateful that I’m not having to fight for shower time.
Actual Day One Stuff
Anyway, we started waking up today with the first main item on the agenda the 1 pm Kinda Funny panel. I was a bit tired from yesterday still so I lagged behind a bit after the rest of them left for the convention center to relax and take a shower. When I finally got to the convention center, my suspicion that this would effectively be a mini-PAX was confirmed. Unfortunately, when I walked in I didn’t get the best instructions on where to get my badge so there was a lot of walking and we actually decided to head to another pick-up location where the line was shorter. By the time I got my badge and got back to the venue, we were about twenty minutes from the panel starting. I got to catch up with some friends, take some pictures, and grab a seat.
As per usual on these recaps, I’ll dedicate a separate post next week to the Panels so I won’t go into the specifics of the Kinda Funny panel other than to say: Greg called Sisqo live and he was a great sport about it.
After the panel, I got to say hi to Kevin, Gia, Nick, Tim, and Greg and chat with most of them for a few moments. At a smaller show like this (compared to Kinda Funny Live or PlayStation Experience), there’s definitely a sense of getting a bit more intimate with the guys. I talked to them all about their excitement for the new studio and they were a various mix of excited and stressed, depending on how much work they had ahead of them. I’m excited. And I hope they don’t kill themselves over it.
Afterwards, I led our little group down to the show floor to say hi to Amanda from Lipstick Nerds, who is here for her work with Perfect World showcasing their new game: Live Lock. And (unlike my experiences at PAX), I actually played this one. So just like the panels, I’ll have a separate post about the games i play coming later in the week.
After saying hi to Amanda and a brief stop at Filthy Casual across the aisle, we headed over to Joe, who was volunteering at the Superfight booth and let him give us a demo of the games on display. Then Frank wanted to run through the Rooster Teeth merchandise area so we hopped in line there. There wasn’t too much in the way of Kinda Funny merchandise and most of what they did have was the new merchandise that launched on the Kinda Funny store a couple days ago (a beanie, a tumbler, a shot glass, and a keychain).
Then, we headed back to the hotel room for a little break in order to recharge some phones and drop some stuff off. After a brief reprieve, we headed to P. Terry’s Burger Stand for dinner. Good burger, fries were ok (a bit too greasy and not enough salt for me). Grabbed a couple things from CVS Pharmacy and went back to the hotel room to drink and play some Million Dollars But… (the new card game from Rooster Teeth, which I will also go into in the games played post later in the week).
To round out the evening, we walked over to the Mario Party After Dark panel at 11 PM. This was specifically a panel in the SGC component of RTX and we were pretty much just there to support Greg. Lots of Mario Party and lots of SGC references. Frank told me afterward that he totally understood how I must feel when I’m sitting through Rooster Teeth content and all of the inside jokes that are flying over my head. So at least we had that in common with the panel.
From there, I headed back to the room to write this up while the rest of the gang stayed out a bit longer and grabbed Whataburger (and flashbacks to PAX South continue).
So, now that it’s almost 3:30 AM in Austin, I’m going to turn in and get a bit of sleep before returning to the show tomorrow. Thanks for reading!
Day Two Recap
Two days in, and I can safely say that RTX is the most out of place I’ve felt at a convention yet. I’m definitely still having a great time. But I’m absolutely unequivocally an outsider here. At other non-Kinda Funny-centric events like PSX or PAX, I can always fall back on games or panels. But my outs here at RTX were in much shorter supply.
Today started off with the room lazily waking up and eventually heading to the show floor around 10:30 AM. The 3 AM dreams of waking up at 7 AM were a laughable pipe dream. But eventually we made it to the expo hall and starting wandering around.
Yesterday on the convention floor, we basically said, “I want to go there,” and we went to a booth. Today’s mission was much more free-flowing as we just walked up and down the aisles, looking at all the show floor had to offer. There’s a whole lot of cool little merchandise tables, a lot of used games shops set up, and an ever-increasing number of “mystery crate” companies of seemingly varying qualities.
Having just debuted my own 16-bit Trevor Trove pins, I was certainly a sucker for most of the Pixel Art and Bead Art at the booths. Fun fact: I created the logo in Excel because I know that program so much better than Paint, Photoshop, or anything else, design-wise. And I used a bead art design of Tellah from Final Fantasy IV as the base model, before tweaking it here and there to make it a better match for my likeness.
There was a ton of talent on display in “Artist Alley” so it was great just walking up and down the booths. Eventually, we left to grab a quick lunch before heading right back to the expo floor to catch the guys showing off a new digital, Twitch-integrated beta of Superfight. As that panel wrapped up, a bunch of us headed over to the Pizza Hut sponsored arcade section of the floor, as that was to be Greg Miller’s next appearance locale.
I found out Friday that Supergiant Games was at RTX with their next game Pyre. Announced just before PAX East, I desperately wanted to play the game there but the lines were huge. Everyone I know who played it had a blast though and the art style looks to continue the trend Bastion and Transistor have set as some of the most stunning art design in gaming. In support of that, I decided to pick up some Supergiant merchandise from their booth and committed to returning Sunday to wait in line for the demo.
But at this point, I was drained and worn down so I actually retreated to the hotel for a few hours to relax and squeeze in a nap, while other members of the group hung out on the show floor, went to a place called Gordo’s featuring sandwiches/burgers made with doughnuts as buns, and generally hung out. My nap was real nice, though.
I awoke to a message from Xyger saying they were actually going to skip the Cards Against Humanity panel that Kinda Funny was taking part in in order to be the first in line for the Screw Attack vs. Kinda Funny panel that night. On my way to join them, I stumbled across Barbara Dunkelman of Rooster Teeth walking down the street (talking to a friend or co-worker?). She was immediately stopped for a picture and it was just one more reminder of why I felt a bit out of place. So many people at that convention would have loved to be in my shoes in that moment: to walk a few steps up, ask her for a selfie together, and go on their way. But there was no desire to make that ask myself.
Even with the Kinda Funny guys, I have enough pictures with them that I don’t feel the need to stop them on their way to something for one more. If I’m asking them for a picture at this point, it’s because I’m treating it as a picture with old friends. After the Screw Attack Panel, a lot of the Best Friends were hanging out in the lobby bar and the KF guys came through and stopped to chat with people for a bit. I hung back, as I usually do at this point in order to give the fans that haven’t met them before that little extra bit of precious time. They know me well enough and if I ever really want to bend their ear, I have the means to do so. Greg and I even talked about it a bit, as he acknowledged that I just kind of hang around on the edge of his interactions at this point, letting everyone else have that moment that I first got with him back at the first PlayStation Experience. And that’s very much the kind of guy I try to be in these settings, I want everyone else to get those great Kinda Funny introductions that I was blessed with. They don’t need to win me over in terms of engaging with me. I’m already in the 1% of the 1% of fans that are crazy enough to travel to all of these things to hang out with friends and support them. Perhaps somebody getting that extra minute with Greg or photo with Tim or Nick will lead them down the same path I’ve taken.
Another reason for feeling the outsider that I identified was the overwhelmingly “young” audience in attendance. Yes, there’s the ongoing joke that I’m “Daddy Trevor” and play the role of responsible adult in the community. But most of the friends that I’ve made are probably mid-20s and attending the Kinda Funny events on their own. When compared to the teenagers in attendance at RTX with their parents, it was a bit jarring. It’s almost scary to realize that the 15-year-old sitting next to me doesn’t actually put it together that the “rivalry” between Screw Attack and Kinda Funny is fabricated in the face/heel-stylings of a WWE feud. So when they continually repeat, in their pre-pubescent shouting, that they want to fight Greg Miller in a parking lot, it hammers home the idea that Kinda Funny plays largely to a (somewhat) more mature audience, at least based on what I experienced.
But enough waxing philosophical, eventually the guys did leave to another engagement. A bunch of us continued mingling around the bar for a bit, before heading over to Voodoo Doughnuts. Judging from the line out the door and the word of mouth that led us there, it was a pretty safe bet the doughnuts would be good. I had an “Old Dirty Bastard” featuring chocolate icing, Oreos, and peanut butter. And holy hell was that rich. Might have been the most filling meal I had all weekend. More great conversations ensued and we decided to part ways for the evening, with Xyger, Frank, and I returning to our hotel room. Joe had returned pre-Voodoo because he needed to be up early in the morning to volunteer at the Superfight booth again.
Xyger, Frank, and I all visited for another hour or so and discussed the morning plans for checkout, when we would go to the show floor, and when we’d all be heading to the airport.
I still ended the day feeling somewhat disjointed from the convention itself. But my friends helped ground me in the notion that I was still where I was meant to be.
Day Three Recap
And so, my first RTX comes to a close.
After feeling somewhat melancholic from my views as an outsider on Day Two, my time at the show rebounded nicely in the end. I still walk away from RTX thinking it’s probably not a show I need to return to next year, though I’m sure it’s incredibly likely I will anyway to spend time with friends again. But all in all, I had a great time with some of my best friends in the world, so who cares if it made me feel like a crotchety old man.
The day started, as all have this weekend, with a bit of a later start than intended. Fortunately, I kept my snooze button to a minimum and was able to get us up and moving in time to get everyone out as necessary. Since we needed to check out of the hotel, we got ourselves all packed, got ready for one last day in Austin, and walked downstairs. We left our luggage with the front desk and headed to our morning Kinda Funny signing appointment.
As I touched on yesterday, I’ve reached the (admittedly fortunate) point where I view the Kinda Funny guys as friends more than celebrities so I’m pretty much beyond(!) the point of needing them to sign anything. Sure I could have given them my badge or something but there were concerns about time anyway so I skipped that. Instead, I gave them the custom Kinda Funny LEGO Dimensions figures I won in a Toys for Games auction a while back benefiting Take This, got my picture with them, gave Greg an awkward me standing/him sitting hug from behind, and left them to continue signing and taking pictures.
From there, I made a B-line straight to Pyre. And of course, the line was the longest they’d seen yet but whatever, I only had to wait about 30-40 minutes to sit down with the 25-minute demo. I’ll be writing up my full detailed impressions tomorrow in my usual Recap Games post but the long and short of it is I wound up gushing about it to people for the next couple hours. The praise I had read in various bits of PAX East preview coverage was incredibly justified.
Anyway, because the line was a bit longer than anticipated, I ended up running late for the RT Games panel. I rushed upstairs to go support Andy Cortez and the team he’s been working with as they discussed RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, which launches Tuesday on Steam and will be coming to consoles (hopefully by the end of 2016, they said). A lot of the Kinda Funny Best Friends were in attendance to support Andy, which kind of made me feel a bit bad because I was trying to place who went to Greg’s Let’s Play panel going on at the same time.
After the panel, a bunch of us went on a pilgrimage for barbeque. Alex Aziz, as one of the prime Austin locals, took us to a place near the convention center, only for us to find it was closed Sundays. So we looped around, headed over to the JW Marriott again, and went to a second BBQ place right around the corner. And damn was it good. The brisket felt like it was melting in my mouth.
Bellies full, we returned to the convention center one last time for the H1Z1 Battle Royale among the Let’s Play teams to support Greg. I’ve never played the game, but I used to watch Alfredo Diaz stream it. So I at least understood what I was watching and could follow along pretty easily. All in all, with a bunch of my friends in attendance, and a lot more watching from home on the Twitch stream, it was a pretty great way to end the convention.
We said our goodbyes to everyone and Christian was gracious enough to drive Xyger, Frank, and I back to the hotel to grab our stuff and then over to the airport. With the three of us all flying out in the 8 o’clock hour, I wanted to make sure we had ample time to get through security on the holiday weekend when a convention was just letting out. I didn’t think it would only take five minutes for us to get through security. So to all the people who keep saying the TSA is having huge issues with 2 hours of waiting in line, I’m pretty sure we’re just dealing with very different airports.
Anyway, with our ample free time, we enjoyed some pretzels and lemonade as we decompressed from the weekend we’d just experienced. With Xyger and Frank much bigger fans of Rooster Teeth, they obviously had a better time all-around but even I chose to highlight the positives of the weekend.
Eventually, Frank and I parted ways with Xyger, boarded our half-full flight home, got some rest on the plane, and said our goodbyes back at Sky Harbor airport; already talking about when our next trip together might be.
As I said at the beginning of the year when I was asked, I don’t think RTX is the show for me. I had a great time with friends, but if I find myself having to cut out events next year in order to make room for something like E3, RTX is probably the first one on the chopping block. As it is really only tangentially-related to the industry I’m aspiring to crack into (specificially games media the likes of IGN or Gamespot), attending something like RTX feels a bit too emotionally selfish. Instead of investing in a trip to an industry event where I can continue to put myself out there with the people who might hire me, this one winds up being exactly what I thought it would be at Kinda Funny Live 2: a chance to get my friend fix between then and PAX West.
That said, I wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything.
Stay tuned over the next couple days for more detailed coverage of the games I played (because, unlike PAX, I actually played games this time) and the panels I attended.
The Games I Played
So the last time I did one of these event recaps connected to games I actually played and didn’t just watch offscreen was the PlayStation Experience. But not this time, I didn’t even anticipate playing games at RTX but play them I did. So here are my impressions on the three titles I played this weekend:
Livelock is a co-op shooter in the style of Helldivers or Alienation from Perfect World and Arc Games. Designed for one to three players, you play as a Capital Intellect machine in a war against other robotic foes in an effort to revive humanity.
Admittedly, I only came across the game because my friend Amanda from Lipstick Nerds works for Perfect World and was working the show floor. So when my friends and I swung by to say hi to her on Day One, she convinced us to try the game out (and gave an excellent pitch if her or her bosses happen to ever read this).
In my group of three, it was Xyger playing as Vanguard (the tank character), me playing as Hex (the ranged shooter pictured above), and a rando playing as Catalyst (the healer). We didn’t have a ton to go off of but we started using a lot of experience points to level up some of our attacks and gear before jumping into the demo mission. Once in game, it did feel very much like a top-down shooter. We each have a few different attacks in addition to our standard one. Xyger led us across a bridge, punching enemies as they got in his way. I followed behind a bit, picking off smaller enemies before they could reach him or adding my firepower to his for some of the larger machines. And our third followed behind both, healing us as needed.
The demo didn’t serve as a tutorial so much as it did just drop us in the action so we were all a bit unclear on what we were supposed to do outside of shooting and killing everything. For example, there were some pickups along the way that I would try to collect but I’m not quite sure how they played into the game. I’m assuming they would have factored into the leveling up system but I’m not sure. Even thrown in blindly, though, the game was a fun little shooter so I’ll probably try to give it a go when it launches August 2nd (UPDATE: August 30th) on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Based on the Rooster Teeth video series “Million Dollars, But…”, this Cards Against Humanity-style game benefited from a very successful Kickstarter campaign recently and was available for purchase on the show floor. So Frank picked up a copy for himself and one for Joe (who was working the Superfight booth at the time). With a few adult beverages on hand, we sat down to play it for a bit on Friday while waiting for the Mario Party panel that night.
The game featured the four of us in the room (Xyger, Joe, Frank, and myself), as well as our friend Jared, who we were hanging out with pretty much all that day. The game is pretty straightforward. There are two types of cards: black trigger cards and golden rule cards. The trigger cards are basically “Million Dollars But…every time this weird thing happens” and the rule cards are “You suffer this horrible experience.”
So each player has a combination of black cards and gold cards. One player is the Judge so all the other players try to come up with the worst possible combination from their hand. The Judge reads the cards (e.g. “Million Dollars But…every time you accidentally burn yourself you have to wax your entire body below the neck”). The players and Judge all debate the pros and cons of each combination and ultimately the Judge chooses the one they are least interested in doing. Whoever played that combination gets the point and becomes the judge for the next round.
The debating part is where I often find I’m in my element, trying to use my words to convince people why the other options really aren’t all that bad or why mine is clearly the worst thing out there. But I also managed to score points on a couple of the things I thought were mostly throwaways.
I wound up winning so that was certainly fun. As for the game itself, like most of them in this style, the mileage will vary depending on the humor of the people you play with. And I imagine the long-term viability of the game will come from how regularly Rooster Teeth releases new card packs. Every RTX bag included a sample of 6 cards from the game (2 triggers and 4 rules). I opened mine the day after we played and all 6 of my cards had come up the previous day so I imagine if you play with the same people enough, the debates will start to grow stale without a healthy influx of new cards.
Million Dollars, But… The Game has been shipping out to Kickstarter backers and was available for purchase at RTX, but I haven’t been able to find when the game will be available for sale in the regular Rooster Teeth store. (EDIT: As if they read my post, the RT store now has the game available for order)
Pyre, the next game from Supergiant Games (Bastion, Transistor), was announced the week before PAX East and was playable on the show floor. But PAX East had like a million people and the Pyre demo was about 25-minutes so I wasn’t exactly interested in hanging around in line for hours to play it when I could be spending that time with friends.
So when I saw that they were at a significantly smaller show like RTX, and that the line wasn’t nearly as long, I figured I’d find the time to try it out. So after the autograph signing on Day Three I swung by the booth.
Pyre puts you in the position of the “Reader,” a rare figure in the world who can read the arcane texts that instruct you of the Rites that can restore your status as an outcast. When the demo opens, you are rescued by a trio of outcasts: Hedwyn, a roguish male, Jodariel, a horned woman, and Rukey, a talking dog creature. This band of misfits shows you an old tome they’ve found. As described above, this text introduces you to the games Rites, which play out sort of like 3-v-3 basketball games.
In the Rites, each team has a lit Pyre with what are effectively health points. And there is a magical orb that can help put out the Pyre, reducing hit points. Each player has a protective aura: Rukey has a small aura, but is extra fast, Jodariel has a large aura but slowly lumbers around the playing space, and Hedwyn is the middle ground character. If you have the orb, your aura disappears. If an opposing player’s aura touches you, the orb goes loose and you’re player is temporarily “banished” from the match for a few seconds, giving the opponents a potential advantage. On offense, you can dash, jump, or fling the orb and you’re trying to get it to the opponent’s pyre to put out the flame. On defense, you can attack the opponents either by connecting your aura to them or by “shooting” your aura at them. Lastly, if you “score”/get the orb to the opponent’s Pyre, its health drops depending on who scores (if the slower Jodariel scores, it takes 3 health away, whereas faster Hedwyn and Rukey only take away 2 and 1, respectively) and your character is temporarily banished until the next score, making it a 3-on-2 match-up.
That’s a whole lot to explain and it makes so much more sense just playing through it, the movement feels like the combat in Transistor. I had a great time in the two Rites in the demo. I look forward to seeing how character progression ties into new active or passive abilities (I leveled up Jodariel after the second Rite just before the demo ended and my options were to increase her aura radius or decrease her cool-down time).
In between these segments, was the exploration of the overworld. In your caravan, you have a limited amount of time to get to the next Rite and a limited amount of fuel as well. At each stop along the way, you’re given a few options of how to spend you’re free-time. Will you forage the area for resources or train one of your characters to increase their experience?
And the route you take to the right might give you different items based on if you’re visiting a place where Rukey knows someone who owes him a favor compared to a location where Jodariel has a history. The story, and many of the interstitial scenes that unfold based on these choices are told through written text (while the characters speak an unintelligible language). Certain choices are given to the player to color the narrative and there are often key words and phrases highlighted a different color from the rest of the text. These words can be hovered over for extra context on the lore of the world and they are also sometimes interactive. For example, the characters will initially discuss you as a male character but you can interactive with the text to correct them and change your Reader to a female one.
All told, I had a great time with my demo and look forward to seeing where the games goes from here. The art direction is just as visually striking as Bastion and Transistor were and the gameplay feels fresh and fun. I’ll especially be curious to see if there winds up being a multiplayer component to the game where players can create their own teams of outcasts to duke it out in the Rites in PvP competitions.
Pyre is slated for a 2017 release on PC and PlayStation 4. No word on if it will eventually make its way to Xbox One, as well.
The Panels I Attended (Part One)
Since I went into RTX with very little knowledge of Rooster Teeth, my panel selections were mostly designed around heading to wherever the Kinda Funny guys were going to be. So with that in mind, here are the panels I attended in Austin.
Kinda Funny: We Injured Gus Sorola (Friday, 1pm)
After a joke stunt went slightly awry at last year’s RTX (Greg smashed a candy breakaway bottle over Gus Sorola’s head and cut him open), Rooster Teeth decided to sacrifice former Achievement Hunter Ray Narvaez, Jr. (aka Brownman on Twitch) to Greg, Tim, and Nick.
As a Rooster Teeth outsider, this was a great way to kick off the convention for me. The Kinda Funny lunacy that I’ve grown so accustomed to was on in full force here and I got to immediately see most all of my friends who were in town for the event at this panel.
I felt a little bad for Ray as it definitely felt like a Kinda Funny crowd so he was just kind of off to the side for most of the panel. Greg very quickly took off his shirt. And we got a series of prank calls. Greg got Sisqo on the phone (who actually answered…and after only a ring or two). They talked about trying to get Sisqo a PlayStation VR set so Greg told everyone to tweet Shuhei.
Greg also got a hold of last years victim Gus Sorola for a slight variation to an age old classic prank call:
Greg: Hey Gus, I know this is way too small of a thing for you but I just wanted to ask is the app running for you?
Gus: The app? Uh, hold on let me check…
Greg: Yeah is the app running?
Gus: …Yes it-
Greg: WELL THEN YOU BETTER GO CATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
He tried calling Adam Kovic from Funhaus too (as they were in competing panels at the time) but it just went to voicemail so Greg left a message saying our panel was better (insert crowd yelling in approval here) but he was hoping to merge the two into a giant panel.
Geoff Ramsey was hanging out at the panel in the back and Greg and Geoff both wound up without their shirts on opposite sides of the room exploring what it felt like rubbing up on their respective chest hair.
Then they took questions from the audience, as is often the case. It was a solid mix of funny, heartwarming, and inspirational stuff.
Perhaps the best part, though was the ample amount of time they had to stick around after and meet fans. I got to visit with Kevin and Gia, which is always delightful, before talking with Tim and Nick about the new studio. As I mentioned in the Day Two recap, I let a lot of the new friends in attendance have their moments with Greg, really only sharing a passing nod that first day.
Eventually, though, they had to meet up with other friends and were off on their way, as the rest of us scattered to grab food, visit the show floor, etc.
Mario Party After Dark (Friday, 11pm)
Friday night, after enjoying some Million Dollars, But… The Game, I got my first taste of ScrewAttack and their community at the Mario Party After Dark panel that Greg was a part of. Gus was the other special guest and the two of them played a 20-round game of old school Mario Party in front of a ballroom of fans.
As we had arrived fairly late, we pretty much sat all the way at the back of the room. Looking back on the whole weekend, this is probably the panel I was the least engaged with. I know even less about ScrewAttack than I do Rooster Teeth. The breadth of my knowledge pretty much begins and ends with knowing Destin Legarie used to work with them before going to IGN. As such, this was the most out of my element I felt the whole weekend.
That outsider feeling I described in Day Two really stemmed a lot from this. At one point during the drunken Mario Party festivities, Greg called Xyger up on to the stage. When Xyger returned, this kid in front of us who had been shit-talking Greg and Kinda Funny all night, began telling Xyger that he wanted to fight Greg outside and that Xyger should tell him as much.
I really wanted to punch this kid.
He just kept spouting that same thing over and over, about how he wanted to fight Greg outside and I just bit my tongue from going off on the kid how we wasn’t worth my time, let alone Greg’s so shut up and just enjoy these drunk idiots laughing and cracking jokes about video games.
Which reminds me of another thing…a lot of people talked at the RTX panels. Both in the Kinda Funny panel and this one, and most others throughout the weekend, people just had a lot of side conversations so I ended up not even hearing what was going on half the time. It was weird. Normally, at these things it feels like Kinda Funny (or the other panelists) are the stars of the show and everyone is laser-focused on them. This show, instead, felt very much like it was just the backdrop for friends to get together, hang out, and catch up. And admittedly, that’s pretty much exactly what it was for me too, but I’m still a courteous enough audience member that I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to chat it up while people are “performing” onstage.
The highlight of the panel for me might have come from afterward, when Frank Bozzani told me he suddenly had a newfound appreciation for how lost I felt at Let’s Play Live in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. The inside jokes that the ScrewAttack audience was eating up flew right over our heads, just like a rap about the Tower of Pimps had flown over mine at Let’s Play Live.
Superfight! (Saturday, 2pm)
After lazily enjoying the show floor and grabbing lunch with friends, Superfight! was the first panel of the day. I remember watching the equivalent panel from last year’s RTX with the Kinda Funny Guys against people like Meg Turney and Freddie Wong.
This time out, it was Greg, Tim, Nick, and Meg battling it out over the soon-to-be-released digital version of Superfight! Geared specifically toward Twitch-streaming, this version of the game allows viewers to vote on who they think should win the battle in the Twitch chat, with a flurry of hashtags flying across the screen.
The game appears to start with a very limited supply of cards though as the same fighters and feature cards kept appearing multiple times. As you play the game, you unlock new cards and fighter introduction titles, but for this panel the full deck wasn’t unlocked. That led to some awkwardness like a Sloth with No Arms fighting on at least two separate occasions over the course of the hour.
The fighting itself was often very entertaining though. Each set of battles was treated like a bracketed tournament: two 1-v-1 fights with the winner of each advancing to the final round. And I think in three of the four sets they went through, it came down to a battle between Tim and Meg.
The problem with handing something like this off to Twitch though is that they just go with who they like more, not who gives the better argument. As evidenced by the flurry of votes that would appear on screen before the fighters even began arguing. It’ll definitely be interesting to see this kind of game pop up though alongside the likes of your Jack Party Pack games like Quiplash and Fibbage.
Panels continued in Part Two…
The Panels I Attended (Part Two)
Continued from Part One, here are the rest of the panels I attended in Austin.
ScrewAttack vs. Kinda Funny (Saturday, 8:30pm)
Probably the best panel of the weekend for me.
Starting with the fact that my friends snuck in three cases of Coors Light to drink in line for the show or during it, the bad taste of the Mario Party After Dark panel from the night before washed away pretty quickly. (It probably also helped that I had a really lazy afternoon and slept the few hours before the panel). We pretty much all even skipped the guys’ Cards Against Humanity panel going on right before this one in order to secure the best seats.
The one perk that came out of Kaylie being unable to attend was that Xyger gave me her VIP Pass to use so I wound up front row for this panel and got to sit next to Xyger, Andy, and Sean. Unfortunately, when wound up sitting on the wrong side of the stage from the Kinda Funny guys but because pretty much our entire group followed suit and was sitting in a very tight-knit company, we probably gave a much stronger impression of support than the room’s ratio would actually suggest.
The panel kicked off with a pre-produced package explaining the history of the ScrewAttack vs. panel which has traditional been targeted against Mega64, leading into this year’s feud with Kinda Funny. They then played the Kinda Funny response video but had a serious delay in the audio. They tried a second time but with no improvement so they just let the video play with the video and sound about 5-10 seconds out of sync. ScrewAttack managed to out-garbage truck on fire Kinda Funny. No easy feat.
With the stage set, each team made their entrances, with the Kinda Funny guys coming out in the same Aerobics Champions entrance they did for Kinda Funny Live 2.
The rules were set that the panel would be a Best of five series. The games on the docket: WWE All Stars, Crash Team Racing, Wii Sports Tennis, Gone Home, and Gang Beasts.
(Apologies up front, I have no idea the names of the guys from ScrewAttack outside of Craig. Though, as was pointed out by a few friends, the crowd seemed to be cheering for Sean/Shawn a lot so I’m guessing I could just say Sean and be right half the time).
WWE All Stars was up first with Greg playing as The Rock and probably Sean playing as Stone Cold Steve Austin. Greg joked about having not played the game since reviewing it for IGN back in 2011 (he gave it a 7.0). Considering it was one of ScrewAttack’s picks, I anticipated they would dominate. But Greg got a very quick 3-count to win the match. The ScrewAttack guys then came in to say that it was supposed to be a best of three competition but they forgot to mention it up front. Greg went along with it and got another surprisingly quick 3-count. Made me think the ScrewAttack guys were throwing that first match because I gotta believe he wasn’t even trying to break the pins.
Up next, Tim’s choice: Crash Team Racing. Tim battled other Sean in a winner take all cup race of (I think) four courses (they kind of all blurred together). Sean won the first race, then Tim, then Sean took the last two, tying the competition up at 1 to 1. I think that’s how it went down at least. It was a few days ago and it’s a bit of a blur. The general theme though was that they both had a mutual love and respect for each other because they felt this game was better than the Mario Kart of the time.
Third, we got Nick versus Craig in Wii Sports Tennis. Knowing he wouldn’t be good at the game, Nick just went all in on trying to make the crowd laugh, repeatedly putting the Wiimote down his unitard and always keeping the microphone in his other hand (unless he was also putting that down his unitard). Craig easily beat Nick. ScrewAttack up 2 to 1.
Then came the oddball choice: Gone Home. Greg specifically requested a “Mitten’s Speed Run” race for the game where you go through the game as quickly as possible, getting Mitten’s hidden diary and completing the game. Greg was up first. For some reason they decided to start timing from when you hit start, which meant Greg got stuck behind 30 seconds of a loading screen to start the run. But he went through opening doors and turning on lights in order to chase down the optimal route. He got hung up throwing stuff to knock the ball down in the garage though as it took him three tries with a milk carton before he got the ball in hand. Finally, he got upstairs, dunked the ball, and raced toward the attic coming in at 4 minutes and change. Third Sean followed, only got a 13-second load screen, and talked about taking a longer route but also not wasting time turning on lights and such. He had a somewhat smoother run and got Mitten’s ball on the first try. Looking like he was going to lose, Greg started on the microphone with a teary-eyed thank you to the SGC fans for letting them come do this before he doused third Sean with baby powder in his eyes, debilitating him and pushing him past Greg’s time, securing the Kinda Funny win and tying it up 2-2. Loved that they brought in this kind of nonsense from something like PAXAMANIA.
So that brought everything down to Gang Beasts. Team Kinda Funny vs. Craig and probably a couple of Seans from ScrewAttack. Except right out the gate, Tim Gettys pulled a double-cross and switched over to team ScrewAttack as Craig gave him an SGC @RTX shirt and everything. But at some point during the first round, while I was tweeting out this news, Craig apparently accidently killed Tim, so he took the shirt off and switched back to Team Kinda Funny. The insanity of not knowing who was on which team persisted until it was down to just Greg versus one of the Seans. And sadly, the fearless Kinda Funny leader was defeated, with ScrewAttack securing their victory.
Everyone thanked the crowd and made their peace until a member of Mega64 came out and “knocked out” Craig, demanding that at next year’s SGC, it be a triple threat match: ScrewAttack vs Mega64 vs Kinda Funny. Overall, a ton of fun, and definitely something worth tuning in for next year.
Rooster Teeth Games (Sunday, 12pm)
In a great show of solidarity for the community that Kinda Funny has helped develop, myself and a lot of other fans attended this Rooster Teeth Games panel to support Andy Cortez and his team working on RWBY: Grimm Eclipse over the Let’s Play panel featuring Greg and other members of the Let’s Play team.
The team was excited for all of the hardwork that had gone into this fan-made-game-turned full-fledged-release. Having been in Steam’s Early Access program for few months, yesterday marked the official release of the game.
The RT Games team also mentioned that the game is being ported to consoles (hopefully by the end of 2016, they said). They mentioned that Dave Fennoy is the main antagonist of the game, which got a bit of a pop from the Kinda Funny fans. And they told the story of the Million Dollars, But… card game basically being designed and pitched overnight.
Then they went into an audience Q and A portion and discussed things like other ideas they might be interested in as a team, trying to cut down on the “Triple-A-ness” of the game (which playfully sounds like “triple anus,” of course), what it was like working with the RWBY team, and more. All in all, Andy was definitely having a great time up there, cracking jokes, and getting a great response from the admittedly biased crowd.
H1Z1 RTX Showdown (Sunday, 3:30pm)
Last but not least, a bunch of us gathered together for the H1Z1 RTX Showdown panel, which served as the lead-in to many of the group’s goodbyes. The story behind this panel was that one member from the Let’s Play teams (ScrewAttack, Achievement Hunter, Creatures, Funhaus, and Kinda Funny) would be the team captains and would each have a team of 11 other players in charge of protecting them (1 in person onstage and 10 playing from home in the private server).
Especially exciting was knowing that Alfredo Diaz and Jackie Butler were on team Kinda Funny and basically calling all of the shots, since I used to watch Alfredo stream this game (and that’s really the only reason I know anything about H1Z1). The panel was set up for two rounds, with the winner being the team who’s captain survived the longest.
With all the teams teleported together to different placed on the map to start, both games actually started out pretty slow, with all of the teams gathering supplies. And with everyone onstage focused on the game itself, the audience was left in the hands of the two broadcast hosts, which was less than exciting. They seemed to know very little about the people playing the game so they just kept talking a lot about the game itself and trying to give the slightest bit of color commentary.
Eventually though, the gas started forcing the players together and the chaos started to ensue. Greg and Alfredo’s plan in the first round was very much centered around Alfredo chauffeuring Greg around pretty much the entire time. And it largely worked as a strategy with Greg survived to the final two captains and only dying when he and Alfredo were flanked and forced off a cliff. Greg jumped out before it exploded but was killed shortly thereafter.
Round two went largely the same way except that this time Jackie drove Greg around while Alfredo actually went on a bit of a rampage, managing to take out at least two of the other team’s captains by himself. Finally, as it did in the first round, the match came down to ScrewAttack and Kinda Funny. But in this second round, Greg came out on top, as a rogue member of the Creatures team avenged their fallen leader by going on a rampage again (probably still Sean) from ScrewAttack.
So rather than do things scientifically like comparing the standings in the matches themselves, the commentators threw it to the crowd to determine which of the two winners would take the overall match, and the prize plaque that came with that victory. And despite what I thought was a bigger response to Greg, they gave the win to ScrewAttack.
Oh well, it was still way more fun than I thought I was going to have.
And with that, we said our goodbyes and Xyger, Frank, and I headed off to the airport to return to our normal lives.
See you in a couple months PAX West.