Mourning the Loss of Ryan Davis: A Fan's Perspective

I am more upset about the passing of Ryan Davis than I have any right to be. I did not know Ryan on a personal level. I knew Ryan just as most everyone else did - through his internet personality. It is not for me to decide whether or not his online "persona" was indicative of who he really was, but that doesn't matter. As cold as it sounds, I'm going to miss his online persona - the persona that has been a big part of my life for over a decade.

Like a lot of people, I first learned of Ryan during his days at Gamespot. I wish I could remember the first time I saw something that Ryan had done, but things that stand out in my mind are his video reviews with bleach blonde hair, his enthusiastic appearances on The Hotspot and On the Spot, and his random offshoot videos with Jeff (such as the spoof swag infomercial).

It was a bit strange to me when Giant Bomb formed. It was as if they made the website specifically for me: My favorite Gamespot staff went on to create their own site, completely uncensored and away from the rest of the staff that tended to bore me. It also couldn't have come at a better time. Giant Bomb was formed at a time when my life was becoming rather difficult, and, as cliched as it sounds, seemingly came right around the time that I needed it. Whenever I was sad or just needed a pick-me-up, I always had the four guys there having a good time. Listening to their joy and laughter made me forget about what was going on in my life and definitely helped me through some dark times. Maybe I'm crazy, but based on the timing of all of those things, I developed a connection with them.

As my life turned for the better, I stuck by Giant Bomb as it had stuck by me in my time of need. Every day, I looked forward to seeing what the guys had uploaded. Before the "Upcoming" feature, there was no other way to know if a new video was coming until you checked. I would watch Ryan yell, swear, laugh, jest, and so on at his colleagues and that was just the right note that I needed on most days. Ryan just seemed like a cool, funny guy to be around. There would be times where I would watch sections of Quick Looks on repeat just to hear Ryan's reactions again because it was just too funny. I'll still go back and dig out an old Ryan video just to get a good laugh when I need one.

I was always a bit nervous when it came to meeting people I looked up to. I wouldn't say I ever get "star struck," but I get worried that meeting people who I deem as celebrities won't turn out like I want it to. I had always heard Ryan say "If you're at PAX and you see us, say 'Hi!'" but I had never truly believed it. I got my chance, though, when I was walking around the show floor at PAX East 2011 and saw the Giant Bomb guys talking to Greg Kasavin at the Bastion booth. I decided to go for it. Ryan was the closest, so I got his attention. He immediately showed interest and seemed genuinely excited to hear from a fan, and it made the experience of talking to all of them just that easy. He even got the guys to pose for a picture with me (which I have unfortunately lost). Even though they were busy, they still took the time to talk with me. Vinny and I talked about cities in New York and their weird little quirts - I was currently living in Rochester where they have this specialty food called the "Garbage Plate." When Ryan overheard us talking, he couldn't resist. "Who the f*** would eat something called a Garbage Plate?" If it were anyone else, it might have come off the wrong way, but you could tell it was all in good fun and we all shared a good laugh. I shook all of their hands, Ryan took out his sweat rag to wipe his forehead, and I left to go wander the rest of the convention center.

The years have come and gone and Giant Bomb has been a huge part of my life. It's a routine now to just check Giant Bomb when I have a free moment and get excited when I see I have something new to watch. No matter the day, I never got tired of watching Ryan and the gang play video games and do stupid, incredibly entertaining stuff. And now that part of my life - however small it may be - is over. I will never see a new piece of content from Ryan Davis, and that saddens me to the core. I know I didn't necessarily know him, but this person who I've somewhat spent countless hours spanning nearly half of my life with is not gone forever, whether it be the "real" Ryan or not. Obviously, life goes on, but I can't say I was done being entertained by him yet.

I realize this isn't the most eloquently worded "tribute" or what have you, but it's strange feeling sadness for the passing of someone who you don't even really know on a personal level. All I can say is that if he has had this big of an impact on my life with the limited interactions that he has had with me, I can't imagine how the people who are close to him feel right now.

My heart goes out to all of Ryan's friends and family. He will be deeply missed.

-Randy Fluharty

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