Ryan Taswell Davis, a tribute

Today's news of Ryan Davis' untimely passing come across as a huge shock. It is almost as if I feel I lost a friend, although I never met him. The only interaction I recall was, and it is rather strange how I remember this, was that I sent in a question for one of the NBA Live games while a developer was showing the game off and Ryan selected and read it promptly to be answered. I was appreciative of this gesture and Ryan began to garner my attention as his take on gaming became more a foundation of how I approach and regard my favorite hobby in general. He carried that frank and sensible perspective in reviewing games and while making evident his preferences and personal tastes, tried hard to prevent those from becoming a domineering influence for the sake of objectivity. All of these qualities he used very effectively and only legitimized his persona that cemented his credentials. In a way he was a unique personality who paved his own way to becoming well known and liked, didn't vie for unwarranted attention while being cordially accessible to many.

I recall him from his days of dyed platinum blond, soft spoken editor who did video previews and interviews at Gamespot. He was a cornerstone of the site, one of the founders that had kept up with Jeff while he was running a blog in preparation of what eventually became GiantBomb. Not bashful of the opportunity to promote the site and managing a lot of the most popular contents including Quick Looks, Endurance Runs, TANG, weekly TNTs and most of all podcasts, he was a tireless worker fully in his element in front of camera and brought a lot of good in terms of community participation and content, and instrumental in making the crew cohesive and focused. A lot of what set GiantBomb apart from others would be emulated and admired by the rest of gaming journalism outlets, with video content heavy editorials and personality directed gaming content now becoming more a norm, and Ryan's charismatic personality and work had a lot to do with advancing the medium. His quick, incisive wit, and well heeled and timed responses were second to none and helped to create a synergy of consistency and personalities meshing so well to a professional result.

Now that he is gone, it is as if my history of gaming experience overall has taken a setback, losing that nostalgic lustre; after all, as private and isolated gaming as a whole tend to be like due to the type of games I am most invested in, it is the surrounding network of conversations and interactions with others about the hobby in question that takes it to another level altogether. An experience that is more engrossing and personal, interactivity beyond the confines of game menus and worlds taking it to social relation and participation, courtesy of that sounding board where your initial, formative thoughts about certain aspects become more concrete and eventually emerge as a guideline in a sea of choices and consequences, Ryan served as an important factor in my gaming enjoyment and appreciation. And now he is no longer with us. It is still hard to believe and accept.

His stature on this site was as large as his convivial, physical self, and I have no single shred of doubt in my mind that he enjoyed to the last minute so preciously and regrettably allotted on this earth to the fullest extent. I hope the site to come back even stronger, striving hard to fill the shoes that Ryan occupied, which he would certainly wish upon us and not have it any other way, but GiantBomb will never be the same. It is a true telling sign how loved he was and how missed he will be that so many goodwill condolences and outpourings of sadness upon the news of his passing have seen many partaking in the loss and thereby lifting the weight that I feel by even the tiniest amount. God bless you Ryan, you and your hearty laugh will live in our memories, which you have given so many that it will be the most natural and constant response while we mourn the tragic loss. Once again thank you Ryan, and God keep you and bless you.

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E3 2011 Nintendo Conference Live Impressions

BONUS: WiiU can be used with Wiimote. WiiU controller screen is not native 3D. Useful application for party games such as 'Chase Mii', Simon Sez, and hide and seek type games. The problem here could be some latency between WiiU screen responsiveness and the action displayed on TV display. There is a base unit. 
10:14 AM This is overall an exciting introduction of a new Nintendo platform, and it will definitely generate revenue upon its release, probably being manufactured furiously at a Foxconn factory somewhere in China. There are more questions to be answered yet. 
10:11 AM Reggie walks on again to conclude the conference. He asks to consider all the current platforms, but Wii as a platform will suffer the same inglorious fate that the Gamecube met when Wii was first announced.
10:08 AM The CEO is exuding about the HD quality graphics and with the uses of the portable screen, expanded social network features.  
10:08 AM But how much would this cost? EA CEO on stage now.
10:05 AM game demoes being shown, being run on the actual WiiU hardware? The graphics look at least on par with the current generation consoles from MS and Sony. A new Metro 2033 game to be ported as well? a new Ninja Gaiden game shown last as the highlight of the reel. 
10:02 AM bevy of developers interview laying out what they envision for the future of WiiU. DarkSiders II, Tekken, Batman Arkham City, Ghost Recon Online to be released. Namely to appeal to 'hardcore' gamers. These titles will be developed on more traditional platforms first, probably, to be ported to the WiiU later on with expanded features.
9:59 AM 'Super Mario Mii' combined your physical action possibly corresponding with the characters on screen...getting vibes of the Kinect 'controller is you' philosophy but with something concrete to anchor your input. The controller seems to work with the Wiimotes, and has a base unit that looks similar to the Wii console but horizontally laid down. Lego City Stories from Tt game will be one of its (confirmed) launch titles. 
9:57 AM Reggie delves deeper into the ability of the new console. A tech demo of a bird flying through cherry blossoms... somehow poetic? 
9:54 AM Iwata outlines the changing situation in game development. A new Smash Brothers game for WiiU and 3DS to work on both platforms with cross compatibility from the producer of Kid Icarus.
9:53 AM Controller can also access online, possible to serve as a media server? Could this work with the Wiimote in tandem? A lot of possibilities.
9:49 AM 6.2 inch touch screen is the size of the controller. All Wii game and accessories are compatible. Two trigger buttons, two shoulder buttons, two analog sticks, a microphone, stereo speaker included in the unit. Not to be used as a portable console. Latency issues? How heavy would it be? How long would the battery last? How would the sacrifices made to maneuverability of the Wiimote translate to Nintendo game development?
9:45 AM Wii U controller looks like a revamped Gameboy color unit merged with Wii industrial design. Has a central screen that can substitute for second gaming screen, a tablet hardware, possibly capacitative touch sensitive. Also has a camera that can interact with the main game display. Can act as a multiple functional accessory or versatile portable display as gameplay sees fit. The controller also has a port that can support other plastic accessories / attachments. Possible application for video chatting. Hand gestures that could interact with the image displayed on the controller. I'm guessing it could also double as a digital picture frame...audience rather excited.
9:44 AM Wii U is the name! The trend of mystifying name conventions continues...
9:43 AM Reggie is going to introduce the new home console. The suspense is palpable.  
9:40 AM 3DS system update will unlock game trailers. Virtual Console for 3DS launched, with classic portable games from Gameboy era. No Virtual Boy titles? A 3D update of classic is part of the library. 3D update to previous pokemon games in 'Pokedex' allows various means of collecting the Pokemons for use with miscellaneous 3DS functionality such as camera. 
9:37 AM Reggie mentions various developers that support the 3DS platform: Capcom in Resident Evil, Sega with what else, their Olympic game featuring Sonic, Namco and its Ace Combat game, NIS' Cave Story 3D, On Rail shooter Resident Evil, Driver Renegade from Ubisoft, a Pac Man game from Namco, Tekken 3D, MGS Snake Eater 3D from Konami...
9:36 AM Luigi's Mansion 2 revealed for 3DS. Suck the ghosts in with a vacuum a la Ghostbusters. Seems a bit derivative. Several new locations 
9:33 AM a new Kid Icarus game. Kid Icarus Uprising. Looks to combine some Space Harrier rail action. Obvious showcase for some 3D effects. Multiplayer features for up to 3 by 3 players (team-based?) using various weapons and lock-on system. Card based fighting also revealed. 
9:31 AM a new Mario game for 3DS announced. An original adventure named 'Super Mario 3D'. Has all the varied platforming action expected of a Mario game with occasional 3D effects and fixed camera perspective depending on sections. The Raccoon suit is back. Possible holiday season release. 
9:30 AM StarFox for 3DS announced. Buttons or gyroscope 'yoke' for controlling mode. How that would translate in maintaining the necessary 3D effects isn't clear. The microphone will record the voice in multiplayer sessions, with camera capturing the faces of participants. Release date September.
9:28 AM New Mario Kart game for Nintendo 3DS announced. Something to notice, is rather surprisingly lack of velocity to the action. Features the usual cast of characters and vehicles. Underwater sections, drifting, the usual Kart gameplay. To be released this holiday season. 
9:26 AM Reggie Fils-Ame introduced. Extols the tried and true formula of its handheld platform and is confident that Nintendo has something for everyone. He goes back to promote new 3DS content, while teasing the new home console.  
9:23 AM Nintendo wants to 'serve every player'. They would want to provide a platform with hardware capability high enough possibly. The new platform is coming next year. Iwata defers momentarily to 3DS with new contents being introduced in the form of new Super Mario game, new platformer game featuring a gun toting winged character, and a new Luigi's Mansion title.
9:21 AM Saturo Iwata, global president of Nintendo next up. He starts to explain the changing demographics of the gamer population since the introduction of DS. Iwata has previously expressed doubt about the prevalence of downloadable games on mobile phones. He wants to bridge the gap between this different population by proposing a deeper and wider approach of the new gaming experience to be provided by Nintendo's new platform. 
9:20 AM Orchestra begins to play another Nintendo ditty
9:17 AM Takashi Tezuka, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Agia Onuma (?), introduced as Top Men of Nintendo. 
9:16 AM Miyamoto cuts a rather confident presence...he is very measured in connecting whilst speaking in Japanese, he is clearly in his element, excited to showcase his projects to worldwide audience. He promotes Club Nintendo by providing the OST release of soundtrack to be included with some of the benefits, as celebration of the anniversary. Wonder what they'd come up with 30th anniversary?   
9:15 AM DSI will have free four player coop Zelda game in September. Skyward Sword will be launched for Wii, using Wiimote control motions, and special gold wiimote will be available as bundled-in extra.
9:13 AM Zelda for 3DS, Wii, and possibly the new console. The Links Awakening to be one of the launch lineups for E-Shop. Next week Zelda for 3DS will launch, a remake of Ocarina of Time.  The new game will come with some extras such as Boss mode. 
9:11 AM Miyamoto requests Orchestra to play some memorable snippets from Zelda soundtrack, on cue the orchestra abides. I do not understand the point of this exercise.
9:10 AM The 'translator' does not know Japanese, he is obviously reading from a teleprompter, leading to some strange simultaneous presentation in both languages. Problem with some video feed.  
9:08 AM I must confess that I have never played a Zelda game, but it is apparently 25th anniversary of the franchise. Its creator is being introduced on stage. Possible Zelda game reveal for 3DS. Miyamoto decides to forego translation...oh wait forget it. 
9:07 AM The Zelda montage traces the franchise back to its NES roots. The official Nintendo feed however painfully subdues the audio presentation.  
9:05 AM Nintendo bringing out all the stops to make the conference a talked about one, Zelda orchestral OST in full swing to preface what seems to be yet another installment to the long running franchise.


Wait is over.

It is like returning to what made game journalism earnest and insightful. Hope the gaming in general follows suit.
The force is strong in this one.