Sometimes it’s not just friends or family that drift away, but personal interests too. And sometimes, the effect can leave as strong an impact on you as if they were real people.
Gather ’round, boys and girls. Today is story day.
Today is the 11th anniversary of Rooster Teeth. For those that don’t know, Rooster Teeth is a community website that makes comedy and gaming related videos. Most people know it best for their web series Red vs. Blue, and indeed, that’s how I became familiar with the site. Way, way back when I was a high school freshman.
Summer vacation just started. It was either late June or early July, and I was playing a game one of my friends lent me. Strangely enough, another friend from school called me up out of the blue and wanted to hang out. We weren’t particularly close, but I thought it would be fun so I said okay. His mom picked me up (neither of my parents were home and I honestly can’t remember why we just didn’t hang out at my house) and drove me back to his place. We didn’t do much, mostly just played more video games. However, after playing Halo for the first time, he showed me a funny video that had manipulated gameplay in Halo to make it look like the characters were talking.
I thought it was hilarious. I’d never seen anything like it before, and I was pretty impressed. Using Halo‘s multiplayer mode, Rooster Teeth made a team of incompetent red and blue soldiers who fought each other “in a boxed canyon in the middle of nowhere.” When I got home that night, I looked through all of the videos they made so far (which I think was about 10). They offered to download them, and I immediately downloaded all I could. I spent a lot of time that summer showing each of my friends those videos, and they loved them as much as I did.
The friends on my bowling team loved them so much, we decided to order shirts from Rooster Teeth’s store to wear as team uniforms. At the time, there were shirts for sale that had the color of each character with the name on the back (I was Simmons, the nerdy guy with the maroon armor). I actually still have my shirt, and it surprisingly still fits. It’s extremely faded, though, and has a couple of holes, so I mostly just use it as an undershirt or when I’m staying home all day.
We quoted lines from the show to each other constantly. Some days that’s all we did for conversation, just exchanged quotes with each other. Some lines still stick in my head to this day, just randomly popping up in my thoughts.
“Grif… why in hell would you give somebody CPR for a bullet wound in the head? That doesn’t make a lick of sense!”
Classic. And that continued throughout high school. Red vs. Blue was a major source of inside jokes and entertainment for a lot of us. I even bought a messenger bag with their logo on it when my old one broke during senior year. I used that bag throughout college and even now, when I bring my laptop to the library or coffee shop to write.
Unfortunately, when my friends and I had a falling out after high school, the inside jokes faded, and Rooster Teeth became more of something I experienced by myself rather than with a group of people. Which is strange, because Rooster Teeth eventually became a huge community site where I could have connected with tons of people that loved their material as much as I did. Sadly though, I was always hesitant about meeting strangers on the Internet, and never actually joined. My loss, I guess.
However, Rooster Teeth started doing more projects as time went on. The first big one I remember was RT Comics, which started around the time I began college. 2 or 3 days a week, a comic written by Griffon Ramsey and drawn by Luke McKay would be posted on the website. They would usually involve recent gaming news or the lives of the Rooster Teeth staff, and I found myself particularly loving the latter. This was the first time I got to know the people behind Rooster Teeth a little more.
Around the time I transferred to my four year school, Rooster Teeth started producing Rooster Teeth Shorts, short skits involving the Rooster Teeth staff. Like Red vs. Blue and RT Comics, I loved them. I constantly rewatched them and started to become a little envious that these guys could make a career creating content like this. Shortly after, I also started listening to their podcast. I would download it to my mp3 player each week and take it with me on my walks. Some of my better memories of my college days involve those long walks around town while listening to the Rooster Teeth guys basically hang out and call each other assholes. It was supposed to be a gaming podcast, but more often than not it was about funny stories from their lives. And in a time where I didn’t really have any friends and I was struggling to make some, they helped fill a big void in my life. Yeah, as strange as that sounds, listening to this group of coworkers and friends every week put something in me at peace.
Yeah, for a while, Rooster Teeth was a pretty big part of my life.
These past couple of years, however, I feel like we’ve drifted apart. Why?
Well… despite that I enjoyed many of Rooster Teeth’s projects, there are also a number of other series that don’t really capture my interest. Most of them involve gaming news, videos explaining how to unlock achievements or trophies, etc. And as some of you may know, I’m not really a gamer anymore. I mostly just like my older games these days, and because so much of Rooster Teeth focuses on newer games, there’s not a lot for me to be particularly interested in.
RT Comics ended almost three years ago, and Rooster Teeth Shorts became less consistent, with the original staff members appearing less frequently. Rooster Teeth has taken on a lot of new employees during the past few years, and it’s not that I don’t like them (in fact I really love a few of them), but there was something about the original team that connected with me more. Maybe it’s because they were older, maybe I was just more familiar with them and I didn’t want to get to know a whole new group of people. Or maybe it’s because I have a lot of respect for them and just missed seeing them in videos. I mean, these were a group of guys that made videos for a small website and eventually made an entire company revolving around creating content. As an artist, I’ve got to say, it’s a dream job. They made the dream happen.
Some of my favorite people stopped showing up on the podcast, too. When I was able to return to school for my last semester of college, I didn’t have a lot of time for walks, either, so I stopped listening to it as much. By this time, the podcast was usually two hours or more, which fit my walks perfectly. But since I wasn’t walking as often, I didn’t have a convenient way to listen to it. I couldn’t really listen to it while doing schoolwork because I couldn’t put my concentration into both. Sometimes I listened to it on my long commute, though.
But even after I graduated and had more time, I found myself not getting back into the podcast. I still don’t walk as much as I want to, and when I do, I usually feel like listening to music instead. I haven’t been checking out Rooster Teeth as a whole, either (which is strange because it’s still my home page). There were some other projects they’ve done, like RT Life and RT Animated Adventures that I enjoy, but I don’t check them out as often as I like. And again, I’m not sure why. It’s not like I don’t have the time right now. It’s just… I don’t know. Like I mentioned, a big thing I loved about Rooster Teeth was that they took something they loved and made a living creating content based around it. And during the past few years, I’ve discovered a lot of other people that were able to do the same. And honestly, I’m feeling more connected with the stuff they’re doing than I am with Rooster Teeth. And that’s hard to say, considering how much it’s influenced me growing up.
So it’s been 11 years since Rooster Teeth began making their first series, Red vs. Blue. Lots of memories. I went from loving what they made, to loving their growth as a company, to loving the people themselves, to just sort of not keeping up with them much anymore. It’s something I’ve noticed for a while, but I’m glad I finally got it off my chest. It’s like being friends with someone for a long time, but you’re not really hanging out anymore. Oh sure, you see what they’re up to on Facebook, and you don’t have anything against them, but… well, you’re into different things now. You’ve grown apart. You want to connect again, but deep down, you know you’re probably past the high point in your relationship.
At any rate, I do want to check out what Rooster Teeth’s been up to lately. Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ll probably be spending more time outside, so maybe I’ll trying listening to the podcast again. And if memory serves correctly, a new season of Red vs. Blue will be starting within a couple of months. Considering that that’s the only show I really go out of my way to watch on Rooster Teeth, maybe I’ll take some time to check out some of their newer projects, too.
At any rate, always remember that you can drift away from interests as easily and naturally as you can drift away from people. But unlike people, you can usually try to reconnect without any awkward moments. Just personal realizations about what you really like. 🙂