It's really hard to find the right words to say in this situation. I first became familiar with Ryan and his work while he was still at Gamespot, and ended up following him here to Giant Bomb following the great forum exodus. Consequently, his contributions to the site have been a small part of my life over the past five years. I can't say I really know him, though from the Bombcasts and following him on Twitter, I felt like I got a good picture of him. It's strange to think of him as having passed away; I'm only a couple of years younger than he is, and when something like this happens, it always reinforces the fact that we'll all be following along at some point.
But rather than dwell on all of that, I'd like to remember the few times I've been able to interact with Ryan directly.
The most direct time was a chance encounter at PAX Prime several years ago. It was the morning after the Bombcast panel and I was headed into the convention center when I saw Ryan moving along the same path. So I introduced myself and we had a quick chat. Nothing particularly major, but as it has unfortunately turned out to be my one and only chance to talk with him, I'm glad I took the opportunity when I had the chance.
The second, less direct interaction (really, barely an interaction at all) came through Twitter. Ryan had started a goofy game where people tweeted him ridiculous concepts for Seinfeld episodes set against the backdrop of the Occupy Wall Street protest. He ended up retweeting the one I submitted. Again, nothing special (though I did manage to avoid his itchy blocking finger, so there's that). Really, Ryan's Twitter account was one of the most consistently entertaining feeds I've followed. He was a man that seemed very well aware of his audience, even when he donned hummingbird masks or related his experiences at a sleep clinic.
And the third interaction, really more just me getting a reaction out of him, was when Patrick opened the mailbag I sent in. As Patrick read my letter, in which I offered up Romance of the Three Kingdoms to any of the guys that wanted it (yes, that was me that sent it), Ryan, behind the camera, chimed in with a "Not it!" That gave me a good chuckle.
This is a lot of rambling and talking mostly about nothing, so I suppose I should cut it off here before I drag on for too long. Rest in peace, Ryan. You've been a major part of this site from the very start, and if the response on Giant Bomb, Twitter and elsewhere is any indication, you've touched a lot of people in a lot of ways, big and small.
I hope that wherever you are, they have D-Box seats.