There is a little backstory but trust me it will all come together. My history with video games dates back to the early 90's. While I played the NES my formative years in games came along with the SNES. My relationship with games was very casual until 2004. Before 2004 I played games and occasionally I got really into a game (StarCraft, Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Shenmue, etc.) but outside of these I purely played games with friends in very social settings.
Then in 2004 I was about to graduate high school and my life changed. I got in a serious car accident that dislocated my vertebrae in my neck and paralysed all my muscles below my chest and a ton of muscles in my arms. Obviously something like this affects people completely differently which leads them to finding different ways to deal with their emotions. I lost my self in video games and grew an appreciation for games in many different genres that I rarely played before. This lead to me searching for new games to play that I would not regularly have played or older games that I should try. Eventually to find this stuff I turned to video game websites. By this time it was 2005 and podcasts and videos were just starting to take off and 1UP and GameSpot were really leading the charge and had a ton personality.
This leads to Ryan Davis and the rest of the staff at Giant Bomb and a few other people on different sites. With my accident I fell into some dark places and because I grew up in a small town basically all my friends left town to further their education. This resulted in a one sided friendship that I had with a lot of these personalities and I looked forward to the weekly podcast and video shows. Despite being a one way conversation I viewed this stuff as social gatherings.
Ryan Davis became a very real friend to me even though he didn't know it. Ryan (and the other Bombers) helped me through the darkest period of my life. Listening to The HotSpot and watching On The Spot helped power me through each week. When the Jeff stuff happened at GameSpot a piece of me died, I felt like I had lost friends. After a few months Jeff and Ryan started to do the Arrow Pointing Down podcast and this felt like a meeting your old best friend again. When they announced Giant Bomb I followed right along and a new chapter in my life was starting. I moved, my mental state greatly improved, and I finally came to terms with my disability.
Jump ahead 5 years and everything is seemingly going great. Out of all the websites I followed Giant Bomb is the only one I continue to visit largely because the crew has stayed together. Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week since the Bombcast is always there and the live streams are weekly treats. I always knew one day the catastrophic harmony that is Giant Bomb will have to end, someone would leave for greener pastures or decide that San Francisco is not where they want to be. Patrick and Alex both decided this but the core 4 was there and I did not foresee that breaking up any time soon. And then I went to Giant Bomb on Monday.
At first I thought it was a bad joke; then thought he decided on a different career path after getting married. After reading the news I was simply in shock, which then lead to denial, and finally confused acceptance. A man I never met or communicated with past away and I felt damaged. I think the worst part was how unexpected this was, I had prepared myself for one of the 4 core guys to leave the site but to never hear or see any of them again was unfathomable. I have come to terms with this event but I don't know when I'll feel better.
I can't imagine what Ryan's friends and family are feeling since I have not lost someone that unexpectedly. They have my condolences. Ryan helped me when I needed it the most even without knowing it and for that I thank him. Jeff, Brad, Vinny, Drew, Alexis, Patrick, Alex, Rorie, and Dave you guys have done so much for me over this time; you have been my friends for years and for that I thank you. I just wish I would have let Ryan know how important he was to me.