RTX Sydney 2017: Media Perspective
RTX Sydney was a great experience, building on last year's event in almost every single way. It was better organised, had air conditioning, and the layout of the venue meant that you never had 10,000 people crammed into one spot, although the lines for some of the bigger panels probably felt that way.
Being granted a media pass afforded me some benefits that resulted in a different RTX than most that you might find interesting. For example, throughout the two days of the show I didn't go to a single panel. That's pretty unusual when going to a convention, and it was a vast difference to last year when I had bought a VIP pass and went to literally every single panel that I wanted to see. As a RoosterTeeth fan there were several things I wanted to see but couldn't afford to devote a large chunk of time to.
Perhaps the biggest perk of being part of the media, especially on day one, was that I could arrive at 10am on the Saturday to pick up my pass and still get into the venue before any scheduled events took place. No lining up down the stairs and around the corner with thousands of other people.
I knew that I had some interviews booked on the Sunday afternoon, so as a game-focused website my goal for the Saturday was to get around and play as many of the games as I could, speak to the developers, and generally get an appreciation for what the game felt like. I'll be uploading some related videos to our new YouTube channel in the coming days, so keep an eye out for those.
After mingling with the hard working folks down in the Indie Zone, RTX's version of the famous Indie Megabooth, I walked the show floor to finish off the day, making sure to have a look at Halo Wars 2 and the obligatory Origin PC Gaming setup which seems to be present at every major Australian convention. They were showing off their VR setup, one of four at RTX in a sure sign of the platform's growing popularity.
That night I headed over to the Alienware Theatre to check out what the Achievement Hunter guys were going to watch during Theatre Mode. The Australian slasher flick Houseboat Horror turned out to be a great subject for dissecting, with Jeremy being the star of the show. During the movie I took the following picture, which was later retweeted by Jack Pattillo and subsequently seen by over 60,000 people! Pretty cool, but the best was yet to come.
On the second day I knew I had a few hours to kill before any scheduled interviews, so I took to the floor once again to check out the games I didn't get a chance to earlier. The line to play Breath of the Wild was capped pretty early so I went to check out the other games Nintendo had on display.
I had a chance to play Fast RMX, an F-Zero style racing game which felt nice and weighty as you lean into the corners. Playing on a Nintendo Switch Joycon was an interesting experience, as the controller has a solid construction while being incredibly light. I can imagine the bumpers that are found on the inside edge of the joycon when attached to the portable screen being uncomfortable to use, but with the slide on attachment making the bumpers more pronounced it was nice and easy to use, if a little small for my larger hands.
As I continue walking around, my phone started buzzing like crazy. I thought I was receiving a phone call, but instead I had been retweeted by the RTX headline guest and creator of Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima himself! It was a very surreal moment, and looking at the analytics now it would appear that the tweet was seen by over 160,000 people! It just goes to show how far Mr. Kojima's reach goes on social media.
Sunday afternoon rapidly approached and I had one thing on my mind. At 2:30pm I was scheduled to have a sit down interview with Greg Miller, former face of IGN and currently working his arse off over at Kinda Funny. I knew what I wanted to ask him, but the nerves leading up to the interview were still very real.
Interviews with event 'talent' took place in the specially allocated Media Room, only accessible to those with a media pass. In and around that room, the buzz of the show floor slowly faded away as it was much quieter and everyone had their professional faces on. Seeing the likes of Michael, Gavin, and Joel nearby was as exciting for me as any other RoosterTeeth fan, but I couldn't just gush all over them. I had an image to maintain.
After setting up the camera, Greg Miller walks in and we just start talking. After a couple of minutes it all felt very natural, to the point where it was just like a couple of friends chatting about games and technology. I had managed to shrug off the constant gaze of the lens and in the end I think it was a good interview. I'm currently editing the footage and will be uploading it when I can.
As if talking to Greg Miller wasn't enough, later in the afternoon I had the chance to speak to Jack Pattillo. He's a guy who has been around video production for a while now, so I picked his brain about YouTube and he provided me with some tips that should be useful in the near future. My biggest regret post-interview was not profusely thanking him for retweeting me the night before, but once the opportunity was gone there wasn't anything I could do.
Overall I would say RTX Sydney 2017 was an exciting, rewarding, and absolutely worthwhile experience. The vibe of the venue was a very relaxed and friendly one, with several exhibitors that I spoke to saying the same thing. If you didn't get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. If you can get a media pass then even better, but just being surrounded by the exuding excitement from every person there is enough to make me want to go again next year.
A huge thank you goes out to the organisers of the convention, and in my personal experience a special mention has to be given to Emma from Double Jump. She had the unenviable task or organising the media interviews throughout the weekend and was also the media liaison in general. I saw her very detailed spreadsheet she was using to schedule everything and it looked like a rainbow had thrown up on it with all of the colour coding in place. Congratulations on a job well done Emma!
To recap, having a media pass does afford you a few benefits. I'm sure I could have cut the line at multiple booths, waving around my orange pass like I'm somehow better than a member of the general public, but the bottom line is that they paid for their day/weekend/VIP pass and I didn't have to. There was still the costs of flights from Brisbane and accommodation at the Oaks on Goldsborough, which is handy being just behind the convention centre, but as a converted wool shed the layout is very peculiar. All in all my expenses came to around $950 in total for two people which wasn't too bad, so hopefully that give you some idea on the cost if it's something you're thinking of doing in the future.