By aurahack 45 Comments
A few years ago, back when I was still a directionless GameStop employee, I had conditioned myself to a pretty sporadic sleep pattern. I’d go to bed at 3 AM only to wake at 7 the next day to open the store. I’d then go to bed even later that day to wake up at 2 PM on the next. I’d then start my next shift which was at 5 PM. It was pretty unhealthy for me to do that and I should of stopped one week in but that went on for a while. I felt like crap every “morning”. I... was a dumb kid.
Yet every time I’d wake up, I’d have a giant smile on my face. The day was starting properly. Why? Because of my alarm.
“Hold on, am I sitting at a table with three people that are gonna sit here and defend Renny Harlin movies? Let’s do Cutthroat Island next if we wanna do that. Come on. Come on! John McTiernan! Master of modern fucking actions movies, the guy made Predator, God dammit. If you’re gonna sit here and say Renny Harlin made a better movie than him, you are all assholes, I don’t want to work with you anymore.” - Giant Bombcast, 07-21-2009
Every morning, I would wake up to that audio clip, one of my favorite moments from the Bombcast. Of course, I made sure it was cut long enough to let Dave say “I can’t wait for a year from now when we are having the same conversation and two out of four of us are wearing night vision goggles”, so that it could end on Ryan’s loud, infectious laugh.
I joined the site when it was in its earliest of early forms in 2008 and have tried to be/been one its most dedicated members. I had followed the crew through the Gamespot days but beyond watching their stuff, I didn't go on the forums or interact with the community there at all. Giant Bomb changed that. Here, the community was small and devoted. We were all here because we all loved Jeff, Ryan, (with the eventual addition of Vinny and Brad) and video games. Everyone on the forums started knowing who everyone was and, like many others, I’ve had the great fortune of making some friendships through here that will last me until I, too, breathe my last breath.
Though videogames united all us, the staff on the site was the bonding agent that made us stick, smell weird, and be potentially hazardous to children under the age of four. We essentially grew to become accidental members of a cult of personality, only no one involved really has any power over anything. The guys at the top who act like idiots on camera send love our way with content we can’t get enough of and we return the love with in-jokes, bizarre Tumblr posts, and a personal bond that I, for one, don’t regret a single bit. The relationship all of us share with each other and with the Giant Bomb staff is unique in its existence. The absolute flood of love towards one another on Twitter that continues as of this writing is a prime example of that. When we need it the most the site is there, be it staff or community. We are one big family and this domain that sports an excited-about-exploding bomb is our home.
On the 3rd of July, 2013, we lost one of our family members. I’ve unfortunately never met Ryan but the effect he had on me was profound and meaningful, enough to characterise a good portion of who I am today. His enthusiastic love for all things “dumb” has fueled the ironic appreciation I have for terrible music, movies, and games. His boisterous energy in any argument he threw himself was so amusing and entertaining that it made me love to argue on even the stupidest of topics. Even if I was wrong, I brought the biggest smile to my face by simply being as energetic about the argument as he would have been.
The image at the very top of this post is a scan of a school project I did. We had to do a black and white, high-contrast portrait on Scratchboard. (A material that is entirely black which you can scratch/carve to reveal a white undercoating.) I had many options for my subject but I settled on Ryan, figuring that it would probably be really hilarious when I’d be done with it. Sure enough, it gave me a laugh every time I looked at it. That portrait began a long-line of jokes from my classmate Anna who whenever she’d see me watching Giant Bomb content or photoshopping some stupid bullshit involving Ryan would be sure to tell me: “Oh my god, why are you so obsessed with Ryan?!” It was just coincidence every time but I laughed regardless. I suppose I was, to some extent. Maybe the "personality cult" is just so strong that I don’t really realise it myself.
My plan for the scratchboard was to go to PAX East 2013 and give it as a gift to the man himself. It was the least I could do for the endless hours of entertainment that he, and Giant Bomb as a whole, had provided me through times both easy and tough. I was unable to go this year, due to school and money problems, so the planned changed. Next year, I’d have enough money saved up to go to PAX East 2014 and I’d have the scratchboard to give to Ryan and a poster of the Daily Dota to give to Brad, Matt, and Matt. (and Crispy? I don't know if he attends.) It seems the plan’s changed again. I’m not quite sure what my ‘Plan C’ is.
I’ve cried more today than I have in an extremely long time. This loss... it’s not easy. I’m still trying to grasp the reality that I will never hear or see Ryan ever again. It’s unfathomably difficult to accept. And this is just me, a 20-something year old jackass in a Montreal suburb, saying this. My brain lacks the processing power to understand how crushed his wife, his family, his friends, and his coworkers must feel. I take comfort knowing that to him, they were all just one big group and he was his enthusiastic and expressive self to them all.
In some bizarre way, I looked up to Ryan. If I could reach out to 1% of the amount of people he’s affected with what I do for a living, I would die a happy and complete man. The world has lost one of its most special duders.
May it forever be Tuuuuuueeeeesday! in heaven, Ryan. You will forever be missed.