By ElectricBoogaloo 1 Comments
Well, it finally happened.
I suppose the timing is fitting, coming a week after he sadly left us, but tonight I finally shed tears for the best friend I never met; the king of the Summerjams, Mr. Ryan "Taswell" Davis. The podcast did it, which is probably of little surprise to those who have listened to it. The heartfelt thank you's of those who are feeling this the most (along with his wife and family) were enough to reduce me to a blubbering mess. I've been in a state of shock, I guess you could say, since the news broke on Monday. It didn't seem real, this is Giant Bomb, these guys are immortal! When something is such a constant in your life for so long you can't ever imagine it going away, not least until they were old men and this whole videogame thang had run its course. But that podcast provided that closure, the finality that a part of something I love so much was gone. Hearing that from the rest of the guys made it a reality that was too much to take.
Almost every waking moment since the news broke I've thought about Ryan in one way or another. All the wonderful things he's done, what he's meant to me throughout the years and how unequivocally sad I am that the show must come to an end far too soon. I've gone to bed feeling like shit and woken up feeling the exact same way, all for someone I've never met who lives on the other side of the world. But Ryan and the rest of the crew let us into their lives and for that I am eternally thankful. It has allowed so many other people from all over the world to connect with Ryan and this ragtag group, resulting in an outpouring of love and emotion from every corner of the internet. Giant Bomb feels like a family and that has been none more evident than this week. For all the bad things I've felt, rattling these feelings around in my brain, the Giant Bomb community has been here to make me laugh, and celebrate Ryan's life with the kind of joy he lived it. It's been hard, and I can't see it getting any easier for a good long while, but seeing how adored he was, and how he touched so many lives helps in a big, big way.
For me, it started in around 2003 I would say. I was still in school and without owning my own PC I never really used the internet that much - I used to go outside more back then! I read plenty of gaming magazines but absorbing that sort of content on the internet wasn't something that ever really occurred to me. I'm not sure how I stumbled onto Gamespot but it ended up being the only gaming site I would ever use, and it wasn't long after that that I started writing my own reviews and posting them up on GameFAQs for whatever dumb reason. They were terrible but it was a start and finally gave me a sense of purpose, a goal to strive for and something to note down when so many teachers at school would ask what I wanted to do in the future.
I got big into Gamespot when the hype train for the next-generation of consoles started rolling in 2005, and it was then that I really started to take note of Ryan, Jeff, Brad and all the others. They gave me the inspiration to apply for a media studies course at college, and this subsequently led to me joining a volunteer-run independent videogame website after I had finished, to better myself, learn and build a portfolio to try and make this a career. That was 2008, and in that same year I discovered Giant Bomb. I was devastated when Jeff was fired from Gamespot and promised to always keep an eye out for whatever he had in store. But I lost faith in Gamespot at that time and without the advent of the likes of Twitter it took half a year before I had even heard of Giant Bomb. When I finally did it became my little home on the internet, and served to reaffirm my ultimate goal of making it into this industry.
Ryan was someone I looked up to, an inspiration in so many ways. I won't rattle off all the reasons why because many others have done so and know so, but I will say he's a reason why I have over 90 user reviews on this website. This is what he meant to me, a role model, both in his profession and humanity, and someone I haven't gone a week without listening to or seeing in some dumb video since 2008. The ways and locations I listened to the Bombcast and consumed all of this content means he's almost engrained into every part of my life, reminding me everywhere I look. That's why this loss hurts so bad. Next to my own family or friends passing this is the worst thing that could have happened. Giant Bomb has been that constant in my life, somewhere I could go when I felt like shit and know I would leave with a smile on my face every single time. Ryan was a massive part of that. For a website all about the personalities, his was the biggest - and I'm talking about a site with Jeff fucking Gerstmann on it. I know the site will carry on - nothing stops the Bomb - and I'm confident and passionate enough about it that I know it will come back stronger than ever. But there will always be that void, that hole that can never be filled, and that's tough to deal with.
Sorry if this is a bit rough and doesn't always make sense but I just needed to get this out there. I've been struggling with what to say for the past two days because no words can match the man. I just wanted this on the record, so if he's up there connecting to the literal cloud - that sounds dumb as shit! - he'll know how much he meant to me: another random guy on the internet who loved him to bits.
I still have four episodes of the Bombcast on the backlog. I may never listen to them, partly because I fear it will be too difficult but also because it almost feels comforting to know there's still new Ryan content out there. Bittersweet.
RIP Ryan, and thanks.