Jeff Giant Bomb

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Jensonb

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Edited By Jensonb
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When Jeff Gerstmann was fired from GameSpot, a Blog Post by Rich Gallup recalled a time when Jeff, frazzled from working hard during GameSpot's customarily intense E3 coverage, had accidentally misstated his own name as "Jeff GameSpot." It was in reality a simple slip of the tongue for "Jeff Gerstmann from GameSpot," but as Rich pointed out at the time, it was also symbolic of just how inexorably linked Jeff Gerstmann and GameSpot were. For me, the quintessential example was Jeff calling in to On the Spot using Xbox Live Video Chat to demonstrate it on his week off.

And then all of a sudden, he was just gone. I remember sitting in the canteen at work on a lunchbreak in my first job, reflecting on how this crazy sequence of events had suddenly played out and how this huge part of my childhood and adolescence was just gone in an instant. "GameSpot," Jeff had recently told us while trying to make up for the ESA's then-current efforts to destroy E3, "is still crazy." And then all of a sudden, it wasn't.

But before long, there was some hope. Jeff Gerstmann, it seemed, was still a threat. Soon joined by the beloved (and now sorely missed) Ryan Davis, we had Arrow Pointing down before we knew it. And shortly thereafter, the proto-Giant Bomb - a WordPress Blog - was born. I vividly remember sitting in the Giant Bomb Justin.tv Chat on the day the true site was to go live, as we waited for the real Giant Bomb to begin. Chatting about Batman (specifically The Dark Knight) and what user names we would take in this exciting new venture.

From thee, it was a wild ride. I spent years in the Giant Bomb Unofficial IRC Channel. I joined Matt Bodega, Tokyo Chicken and Disgaeamad to produce the Officially Unofficial Giant Bomb Community Podcast, Bomb Should Have A Face. We had the pleasure of having Jeff, Brad & Dave Snider join us on there. I remain incredibly grateful for their time and cherish even that brief opportunity to talk to these guys who had such an impact on my life.

In the years since, there have been ups and downs. Whether it was my interest in games peaking and troughing or things like the departures of great contributors like Dan or Patrick, or more recently Alex, Vinny & Brad, the loss of Ryan...It hasn't always been smooth sailing, but Giant Bomb was always there. Jeff Gerstmann was always there.

Even in the midst of three of the core five staff members leaving at once, I could always take solace in the fact Jeff Gerstmann was still here, Giant Bomb was still crazy and as long as that was the case...Giant Bomb was still a threat.

Jeff Giant Bomb was still a threat.

Because while Giant Bomb may always have been more than "just" Jeff...In every meaningful sense, Jeff Gerstmann is Giant Bomb. Especially as Ryan Davis is sadly no longer with us. To reduce the loss to Giant Bomb of Jeff Gerstmann to "just another cast change" as the unsigned news post hastily announcing (and then glossing over) his departure does is to fundamentally and completely misunderstand what Giant Bomb is, who Jeff Gerstmann is and the 14 years of history behind this site.

Even more than "Jeff GameSpot" was inexorably linked to GameSpot, "Jeff Giant Bomb" is inseparable from what makes Giant Bomb...Giant Bomb. It's Jeff Gersmtann, it always has been. He's been the heart and soul of the whole thing throughout - not always alone, but definitely continuously. To have him here one day and gone the next with just this soulless press release style blog post?

It's clearly wrong. So "Giant Bomb" may persist. And I wish no ill will to the remaining core staff, who I like. But this isn't really Giant Bomb any more. And to make this change in this way is disrespectful and offensive not just to Jeff, but to the audience who helped make this site what it is under his leadership.

And so, after all this time...

Duder, it's over.

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KillEm_Dafoe

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Very well said. All of it. It feels so wrong for the site to just breeze past this monumental shift. I truly do like everyone on staff and wish them the best, but I don't think there's any bouncing back from this. Jeff is the heart and soul of GB, there's no escaping that. Trying to ignore that fact doesn't help this situation at all.

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mcbisquick

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I guess I'm a little more on the sympathetic side for the remaining staff right now. They could have put more into understanding the gravity of Jeff leaving and how to deliver that message, but I can also understand trying to put out a confident statement of like, "Hey, he's leaving. But we have a lot planned for the future of Giant Bomb. Stay tuned." They have a monumental job of trying to keep a brand alive when they don't have the original people who made that brand what it was, and circumstances dictate that whatever they do will likely have to be a whole new approach from the original idea of the site.

But yeah, Jeff leaving would have been a huge hit even if the site were in a better, more stable place content-wise. But considering the way things have been, I don't really see what the future of this site looks like. I don't think it has to be the end of Giant Bomb...but maybe it should be? I guess we'll see what they do.

Anyway, Jeff Gerstmann was fucking great on here, huh? What a funny dude.

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Candivore

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Conflict

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If that post was truly written by the staff, then not even they know what Giant Bomb is and means to fans. If that's the case why would anyone continue following this site? It's just Game Site X in a sea of competitors now with no real reason to anchor here.

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LonelySpacePanda

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Excellent summary. I wasn't into Gamespot -- for some reason I was a GS hater back then -- but got into GB during their first annual GOTY awards in 2008. Been a daily visitor and listener/watcher since. I plan to start listening to On the Spot in 2025 when it starts to be its 20-year anniversary so that will be fun.

Maybe I'm just weird but I get so much enjoyment out of revisiting content that I don't get that bummed about the changes. Plus there is Dan, Nextlander, Waypoint and my favorite MinnMax (which doesn't share GB staff but somehow feels closest to the site's original spirit).

Main thing I want from the site is for them to either secure the old content "somehow" (impossible probably) or just confirm they won't so people can start archiving.

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csl316

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Jeff's super important to GB's history, but people move on. The fact that so many core members stayed on for so long is a rarity.

Companies move on after founders leave, it's the way of things.

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splodge

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#8 splodge  Online

@Haz_Kaj no company changes its name because their founders are no longer with the company. Especially such a recognisable name. There's no need for hysterics.

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LyndBako

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I will wait for Jeff and the rest of the crew to speak further before making any assumptions. I feel like nobody is considering the possibility that Jeff didn't want a big maudlin farewell stream and that this kind of quiet exit is perhaps what he wanted.

People are too quick to assign blame and ill will.

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Haz_Kaj

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@splodge said:

@Haz_Kaj no company changes its name because their founders are no longer with the company. Especially such a recognisable name. There's no need for hysterics.

ITs not a company is it. ITs a website. ITs not fucking Apple or Sony or Nintendo not even IGN or Gamespot.

REtire the name. GB Belongs to JEff and Ryan.

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splodge

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#11 splodge  Online

@Haz_Kaj get a hold of yourself.

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TurtleFish

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While @Haz_Kaj might be a little too emotional about it, I do appreciate the sentiment -- because to me, Giant Bomb isn't a company, or a website -- I feel like it's a rock band, because the personalities and the talents they bring that make up the group are so damn important to its success.

Now, the last original member of the group has left -- so, is the band still the band?

However, I still think Giant Bomb should still be named Giant Bomb -- there's enough continuity here that other people deserve their shot. But I can certainly see the argument that with all the original band members are gone, it's not the band anymore, don't keep the same name.

And moving to different branding would also mean the people here now wouldn't have to deal with all the legacy GB has either. Because (and this is why I don't envy people), for the next year, everything they do is going to be compared to what Jeff and the old crew did, with expectation of financial success looming in the corner. It was bad enough during the past year -- but now? Keeping the name will only bring the focus in closer.

There are few things more damning than having to meet the expectations of past glories.

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servernode

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Jensonb

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@lyndbako: A quiet exit is one thing, but the tone of that Blog Post is just miles off in any respect. Is it understandable they want to set expectations for the future? Sure. But “A new era of transparency” can’t be started by an unsigned note handwaving the departure of the site’s remaining founder and glossing over the fact that does matter. There’s also something quite unseemly about the way it implicitly ties Jeff’s tenure here to any apparent lack of transparency, as if “big, bad Jeff” was the reason things were being kept from us and now they can finally speak freely. I think it’s fine if you are happy to wait it out and hear more, but I do think you shouldn’t be quite so dismissive of people’s concerns just because you don’t share them. Whatever the situation is - and maybe it is better than it seems right now, entirely accept that’s possible - it’s not been handled well so far. And with it being so abrupt, that has all the more impact.

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Rich666

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Jeff Gerstmann is the heart and soul of GB... RIP Ryan Davis... That's all I have to say.

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OsheaDiesStupid

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The site has been lacking in quality for quite a while for me. But Jeff’s comments and insight have remained interesting. I’ve been on the site since the beginning, and looking forward to seeing its future. I also hope Jeff’s next venture will be something neat, like starting an indie studio and making a video game.

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PanburgerPartner

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@jensonb: I’m inclined to agree. I don’t feel unpacking the statement line by line for hidden meaning seems particularly useful, but as someone with at least a casual interest in writing, taken as a whole, it did feel very tone deaf.

That said, opening with talk of new transparency implicitly suggests one did not exist perviously, which I also found very odd. That’s all though. We’ll presumably know more in a few hours either way, and if there was/is any genuine acrimony, maybe in the days and weeks ahead too.

The range of possibilities past that are frankly numerous and very potentially exciting for all the parties involved. I know that what I’m rooting for.

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marcusofadown

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Jeff moving on, whatever the reason, means GB is finally and sadly done for me :( Like so many smarter and better spoken people than me have said before – GB was ALL about the personalities, the games just happened to be what they all had in common. The soul of the site was lost when Brad, Vinny and Alex left but Jeff tried to hang on. Now he's leaving too and I don't feel at home on this site anymore.

I really dislike most of the new stuff that is non-gaming-centric. Too many faces on the site makes the building of personalities that much harder. A smaller, tighter crew made Giant Bomb what is was. It's not a site that should be expanded just for the sake of expansion. Leave that to Gamespot, IGN, Polygon and the like.

With that said, I feel the need to stress how much I appreciate what the newer additions has tried to do. They all clearly love the site and it's not their "fault" that they weren't around when Giant Bomb was built back in the day. I really wish them all the best with whatever comes next, I just wont be a part of that.

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T0FFE

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Jeff moving on, whatever the reason, means GB is finally and sadly done for me :( Like so many smarter and better spoken people than me have said before – GB was ALL about the personalities, the games just happened to be what they all had in common. The soul of the site was lost when Brad, Vinny and Alex left but Jeff tried to hang on. Now he's leaving too and I don't feel at home on this site anymore.

I really dislike most of the new stuff that is non-gaming-centric. Too many faces on the site makes the building of personalities that much harder. A smaller, tighter crew made Giant Bomb what is was. It's not a site that should be expanded just for the sake of expansion. Leave that to Gamespot, IGN, Polygon and the like.

With that said, I feel the need to stress how much I appreciate what the newer additions has tried to do. They all clearly love the site and it's not their "fault" that they weren't around when Giant Bomb was built back in the day. I really wish them all the best with whatever comes next, I just wont be a part of that.

This pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole situation. I wish everyone involved the best but what the site has become really isn't for me anymore and have made me cancel my membership earlier this year after 12 years.

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Rich666

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I knew I cancelled my sub for a reason. So fuckin sad about this. End of the best era in video games journalism. Jeff is a legend. Goodbye Giant Bomb. Was a hell of a ride.

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hermes

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It is a pretty sad day indeed, and the lack of warmth in the announcement, with a blog post signed by a general account, referring to giantbomb like an entity onto itself, recounting "core crew members" without even naming them, just adds harm to the injury.

If anyone that wrote that post reads this (tough chance, I know, but I can hope) you need to understand this: people here don't give a rat's ass about "giantbomb". The name means nothing without the people behind. They care about personalities, not brands. Most people here know who I am talking about when I say Austin, Ryan, Drew or Patrick, and they haven't been with us for over a decade. We followed Dan to Fire Escape, Vinny to Nextlander or Austin to Polygon, based on those names alone.

I have nothing but love for Jeff Bakalar, Jan, Jess and all the people left behind, and I know I am not alone here. We love you and have your back, whatever you wish to do moving forward. But I have no love left for "giantbomb", the page, or the bomb mascot. Without the people, "giantbomb 2.0" is just an empty husk.

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apewins

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#22  Edited By apewins

Just to give an opposite opinion, I think Giant Bomb would have definitely been over had Jeff stayed for longer. This is absolutely no disrespect to the legend that he is, but for the past several years it has been obvious that Jeff just hasn't been 100% in it in a way that a site revolving around personalities requires. Yet he is too strong of a personality to take a side role on the site either. This gives Giant Bomb a possibility of a clean break to do something better (even if they end up failing), and that in my book is better than being a lumbering zombie of a site trying to make it another year just in the service of remembering the good ol' times. To continue the band analogy some in this thread have made, I get very little pleasure of seeing touring bands that haven't recorded new material in decades doing the same show over and over again. I'd make another analogy of a fan-favorite athlete that tried to play one or two seasons longer than he should have.

Jeff has been a warrior for staying on as long as he did. But the site has been going downhill for a long time, the signs were there even before Covid happened. And it would be unfair to Jeff to demand him to stay as opposed to letting him go to pursue his dreams, whatever they may be.

I will miss Jeff and hope that he continues to stream at least occasionally, but only because he wants to, not because he has to.