Dream Con, the growing anime and video game convention, returns in July

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Anime and gaming conventions are spread across the North Texas calendar, but one convention that has seen tremendous growth and popularity is coming to Arlington this summer.

The Dream Con gaming, anime and pop culture convention, created by popular Denton-based anime and gaming comedy YouTube channel RDCWorld1, returns to Esports Arlington Stadium for a three-day gathering from May 15-17. July.

The comedy group’s annual gathering began in 2018 in Waco as a way to get into the convention circuit. RDCWorld1 has amassed over 5.8 million subscribers with videos and comedy skits that regularly average 3 million views. Nonetheless, major conventions didn’t see the point in the band following, so band member and event manager Johnathan Newton says they just decided to build their own scam.

“It got pretty big, and one of our main areas was anime which is popular with a lot of cons and comic conventions and stuff like that,” Newton says. “It’s crazy that we weren’t invited. A lot of them weren’t showing too much interest in us, basically. We went to see a couple, and it was just too hard. It was the idea of ​​Dream Con. Instead of trying to get into these other cons, why not make one for us?”

July’s gathering will be RDCWorld1’s third Dream Con, and attendance has tripled since their first con in 2018. The first Dream Con was attended by 1,200 people. This year, Newton says, they had to limit the scam to 6,000 people at the Esports Stadium, now owned by esports giant Envy Gaming, “so we don’t know how long it would have been.”

The partnership with Esports Stadium Arlington is one the site has been trying to create since Dream Con began. Newton says they were hesitant to move the con out of Waco, but the growing crowd forced them to find a bigger space to house fans.

“We wanted to stay in Waco because that’s where [RDCWorld1 founder Mark Phillips] comes from,” says Newton. “Then the event started to get a little bigger than we thought it was going to be. There was a big jump in attendance. We really needed a bigger venue, and Waco didn’t have much to offer, and the stadium wanted to work with us so badly.” Dream Con features a broad collection of pop interests that reflect the fandom built by the group’s comedy channel, which satirizes characters and tropes from anime, sports and gaming with a loving respect for form and feel. art medium. The band started making videos while Phillips was going to college at the University of North Texas when subscriber and viewer count on YouTube and Instagram surged through clever sketches like This is how math was created, in which the origins of mathematics are driven by drug-fueled brainstorming. The group moved in together and filmed videos which started to reach millions and created series such as video game house and anime house, in which the most famous characters of the two mediums try to live under the same roof without depriving themselves of life.

A video of NBA star LeBron James’ “hunting blocks” went viral in 2020 when James was caught watching the video and laughing out loud at the impression the group had of him. The next year, Sports Illustrated called RDCWorld1 “the NBA’s favorite content creators”.

Despite the size of the convention and its scope, Newton says the band still likes to keep it as personal as possible with their fans.

“I think the main thing that sets us apart is that it’s a lot more interactive and personal,” says Newton. “Instead of having random guests come out and take a bunch of pictures with people, we talk directly with people and try to inspire people. Being founded by a minority, it’s much more of a unique thing. and that gives it more longevity.

“We don’t know how big it will actually be,” adds Newton. “We keep creating ceilings because we are too scared but we let it go bit by bit.”

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