By amorbis 7 Comments
I should've walked up to Ryan Davis and said hello last year at PAX, but I was too shy. Davis was a personality in my mind, a charming, affable personality that I couldn't believe existed in a real human being. He was the voice and the figure I had spent hours listening to and watching on Giant Bomb. I didn't want to ruin the image I had of him.
My only interactions with him were small. He "blocked" me on Twitter for revealing that I liked the banana-flavored Runts exclusively, and he private messaged me once to inform me I had won a copy of Dragon Age 2. The private message's subject was simply, "dragons," because that's how he rolled--reduce the most arbitrarily complex things into what they really were about.
That's something I took away from his (too) few reviews on Giant Bomb. His ability to choose the perfect, perfect words to express specific things about a game, left me feeling inadequate. I can only hope to one day write at a level he did.
And that was just the writing. His personality reminded me of my father's. (They both even had the same beard!) My father, like Davis, didn't understand the concept of "breaking the ice". For him, the ice was broken for everyone. He would talk to anyone like a long-time friend, grounded and humble. My father spent the last few years of his life in and out of a hospital. You'd think it would be constantly depressing and stressful, but not with my father. Every nurse would know him by the end of his stay. Like Davis, he would pick on people, call them out, but never in a mean way. I think he used it to bring people down to their real selves, to ease them from any kind of social anxieties.
Unlike my father, I'm quiet. Yet, he never tried to force me to open up more. Instead, I wanted to be like him by example, his personality was contagious, and I can't think of anyone that didn't like him. That's special, and I wish I had that ability.
I had been listening to the Bombcast a few years before my father passed away. When he did, it was Davis that reminded me of him every week on the podcast, and eventually every day as I consumed more and more of Giant Bomb's content.
When I glanced over at Davis and Jeff Gerstmann at the Double Fine panel during PAX last year, I wanted to get up and meet him. But I couldn't do it. I don't know if I was scared or nervous, or both. It would be like seeing my father again for the first time in two years and I didn't know if I could handle that. I had planned to get over it and meet him this year at PAX.
I never met Davis, but he still had a considerable impact on how I view games and in many ways, life. Like my father, I admired him by example.
But I've made a mistake if I let him stay an example. Ryan and my father would have went over to say hello. They wouldn't have anything to regret.
So, I'm not going to make the same mistake again.