Giant Bomb's Ryan Davis, 1979-2013
We were all shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Ryan Davis, a longtime games press veteran who left GameSpot to co-found Giant Bomb. After discussing it together, many of us felt we had our own stories we wanted to share about why Ryan had such an important place in the games industry and a personal impact on so many of us. We've shared our thoughts below. Rest in peace, Ryan — you'll be missed.
Well, this is frankly stunning news to wake up to. One of the two founding editors of Giant Bomb, Ryan Davis, passed away on July 3rd. He was 34 years old.
We’re writing this to pass along our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones, because that’s what you do in a situation like this. And even though fans like us got to know him by hearing his voice boom out “HEY EVERYONE IT’S TUUUESDAY” every week, there are people truly close who are undoubtedly hurting right now.
But we also want to share our view because Ryan helped shape what we have become on this site in a way. I’ve personally listened to the Giant Bombcast since 2008 and while no individual took the spotlight, it was always Ryan Davis’ show. That combination of humor and knowledge stood out in 2008 and 2009 amid the more staid shows and web sites. Who cares about this up-to-the-second breaking stuff on a news page? These guys at Giant Bomb were having more fun and still delivering good analysis and well-crafted thoughts on what was happening. Giant Bomb “got it” just like how 1UP “got it,” and that’s what made them special to me and the rest of the Sasquatch crew.
In the years since then I’ve listened to godknowshowmany hours of Giant Bomb coverage, mostly in podcasts but also in the Quick Looks and video coverage that became the site’s signature. After that much time, you begin to feel like you know somebody, that you develop a one-way relationship with the person based on their work. I’ll miss Ryan’s views on the Bombcast, both in terms of games and life. It is because of how open-ended the Giant Bombcasts were and how open about life the hosts are that I know about Ryan’s life and the fact that he was just married, making this all the more tragic. And while my own voice may not be as naturally comedic as Ryan's was, it's what I'd love to be. He was an inspiration and northern star by which we could find things that were fun and "dumb" in gaming.
Ryan Davis was a central figure on one of my favorite websites because of that easygoing nature and willingness to do just about anything to get a laugh. I will miss his work, and send my thoughts to those who will miss the man in their own lives. Rest in peace.
-- Doug Bonham
I remember when Jeff Gerstmann was canned by GameSpot in 2007. I didn’t know it then but, as the event (colloquially known as “Gerstmanngate”) unfolded and I kept tabs on the master plans of Jeff and the others who left GameSpot, I would come to know Mr. Ryan Davis by proxy.
We never talked, and we certainly never met in person. Hell, I never commented on an article of his or tweeted something at him — I wish I had. Today is too late to realize this, but there it is.
Our staff idolizes Giant Bomb, and I mean that most sincerely. The impression Giant Bomb and Ryan have made on so many games journalists, so many human beings, is obvious in the beautiful tributes being posted since the news broke this morning.
Their outlet, a place crafted by Ryan’s hands and the burly laughs he crooned on so many podcasts, is aspirational. His work makes me want to be a better writer. That’s the most appropriate form of remembrance I can give him: write, podcast, laugh and love my heart out.
Life’s short, right?
I regret that I never had a beer with Ryan Davis, but I was lucky enough to know of him.
Rest in peace, sir.
-- Aaron Thayer
Ryan Davis was the happiest man in video games. He made the video games industry a fun and exciting place and brought so many people to the industry. He brought a sense of fun and humor to an industry that, in his words, was just "weird" at times. By coining phrases like "China don't care!" and "Don't buy a racing wheel!" he made video games a fun and friendly place to be. He built an awesome place to learn and talk about video games. He will be sorely missed.
I met Ryan Davis just once.
It was right after the end of the live Giant Bombcast at PAX Prime 2010 in Seattle. Ryan was certainly exhausted from the whole ordeal of playing ringleader to an absurd (even by Giant Bomb standards) live podcast/performance/awkward conversation, but you couldn't see it in him. He walked out into the hallway outside the theater to chat with fans, and he was clearly overjoyed with the positive feedback he was receiving from all angles. Still, he took the time to engage in conversation with everyone around him, offering his sincere gratitude for their support and joking along with them about the weirdness that had just taken place onstage.
I knew he was pressed for time, so I summoned my courage — no mean feat for someone who gets twitchy with anxiety from talking to anyone whose work they admire — and I thanked him for all the work that he's done with Giant Bomb.
"I just wanted to say that I really respect your work," I said, probably. "What you guys do is honestly a real inspiration to me as a writer."
Ryan replied with a firm, genuine handshake and a wide smile. "Thank you. That really means a lot."
It was brief, but years later I still remember his expression and that handshake, even after the rest of PAX has dissipated into a muddled mess of memories.
I kept thinking back to that short meeting all throughout today ever since I learned about Ryan's passing. The news hit me hard — surprisingly hard, I think, considering I didn't know him personally and only briefly ever interacted with him. But there was something special about Ryan.
Games writers are a ubiquitously passionate bunch, but Ryan wasn't just passionate about games. He really, deeply cared about the people he knew and the work he did, and it was plain to see. I've been lucky enough to meet a good number of games writers who inspire me (another fond memory: getting into an hour-long discussion with Jeremy Parish about Japanese RPGs over drinks at GameWorks) but I never met anyone who really got what made all of this stuff so special.
If nothing else, I'll always think back fondly on what I consider to be Ryan's greatest professional legacy, the Giant Bombcast. With apologies to Ira Glass, it's the only podcast I've listened to every single week since I discovered it in 2009. I've had my ups and downs since then, but I always had two or three hours of ridiculous banter to look forward to every Tuesday about junk food and bad movies and — once in a while — some video games.
I've probably heard Ryan speak more than just about anybody I've met in my life, and while that's kind of weird, I think it's also a pretty wonderful thing. Without Ryan's hard work in shaping a unique and wonderful podcast, it's pretty much a given that I wouldn't have ever taken a stab at podcasting. The Bombcast showed me just how engaging a group-format podcast about games could be, and it gave me something to keep working toward.
My sincerest condolences go out to Ryan's family, friends and colleagues. He will be missed. -- Nick Cummings