I hardly ever post but when it comes to Jeff I really feel the need to say something. I honestly wouldnt be the person I am today without Jeff Gerstmann. That sounds kind of insane (it even feels a little insane to write it out) but its true. I started following game coverage when I was 7 years old in 2000. The only reason I started following games was because I accidentally put gamespot.com instead of gamestop.com and im so fucking happy I made that mistake. I've always had a tough family life and games were the first of many hobbies I delved super hard into. The whole idea that people that were older and wiser (at least in terms of games... Im happy my culinary palette goes beyond domino's haha) people that understood this hobby that most people dismissed was amazing and really helped me get through some tough times. But Jeff's game coverage is completely secondary to who he is as a person, and that is truly what I love about him.
Jeff was the first to show me that you could be whoever you wanted and still love games. That sounds like a super small thing but considering we still see bullshit like gamergate today and the toxic culture that existed (and still does exist in many circles) in forums and other game discussions; the fact that Jeff was always Jeff and didnt sink to those levels had an impact on me. I could play games all the time and hang out with people who didn't like games. I didn't need to argue if sega or nintendo or sony was better because none of that stuff really matters; it was all about playing awesome games. I've always had lots of friends and barely any of them were "gamers" but still awesome people.
Finally Jeff has always stood up for what he believes in and been upfront about it. The whole Kane and Lynch debacle in the grand scheme of human history is ridiculously minor. Hardly anyone in the world will know what you are talking about when you if you try to mention it. To me though, it showed me something that has been invaluable to me as a person and I still take what it taught me to heart. You should stand up for your beliefs and sacrifice basically everything in order to do it. Jeff believes in the sanctity of game reviews and telling the consumer what he believes. He never sacrificed that and that is super inspiring.
The best part of all is that through his struggle, which undoubtedly a very tough period in his life, he created Giant Bomb. Now I don't need to tell you that GB is the greatest gaming site ever... but it really is. If Jeff didn't stay true to who he is it never would of existed. He got his best friends to join him and changed the world. I don't think that is even hyperbole because to Jeff games are definitely one of the most important thing in the world to him. They have the possibility to be to the 21st century what film was to the 20th century. Think how much coverage has changed since GB has launched. How much video coverage out there emulates what GB does? Its everything from what "traditional" games coverage has done to the whole communities dedicated to Let's Plays on youtube (there are surely earlier examples but at least to me GB introduced to me thing like this). Its all the people that have emanated and filled my life with joy and knowledge that I have been introduced to because of Jeff. Its more things than I can even articulate because the more I think about this the more I come up with.
So thanks Jeff for everything you have done. I wouldn't be the person I am today without you. Its easy for people that don't understand to say you just write about games but let me assure you that through that you have had an influence on my life that goes so far beyond games. I hope I can have 10% the impact on the things I love. Im really really proud of you Jeff and the rest of the GB crew just as a stranger following you since I was 7. I can't even begin to imagine the love and respect your father had for you in his life. Im so sorry you have had to go through so much Jeff but all I can say is im so happy you have been around for me and so many others. I still keep in contact with people I met on GB from the early days. I owe a lot of who I am and the awesome life I've lived so far to you. Im definitely a very different person than you are, but you taught me so many lessons such as people that play games include all sorts. So Jeff if you read this, I just want to say thanks for everything. These words I write cannot possibly convey how much I appreciate you. I have never written anything for a stranger like this in my life but just always remember im one of many who share this love for you.