Thank You, Ryan Davis

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Shadow

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This has been a long time coming. But it isn’t about to be LESS late, so you’ll have to bear with me here.

Way back in 2007 when podcasts weren’t even really a thing yet, I discovered them. Specifically, I discovered Hotspot. Up to that point, my audio entertainment had basically been nothing. So this was a huge improvement. And over a few months, I ran through years and years of content.

I had been on the Gamespot forums up to that point, but I didn’t pay much attention to anything the website actually produced besides the specific numbers assigned to review scores.

So I gradually got to know the normal cast of folks that would talk at me for a big chunk of any given day. Rich was the fun, energetic host. Vinny took over eventually, slightly less energetic, but way more sarcastic. Jeff was the hilarious, easily provoked dude who it was both of their job to keep on topic. Brad was sometimes there too. But by now, I mostly just remember the voice. And Ryan was…just kind of a dick. Especially to Brad.

But then Jeff got fired. And that was a whole shitstorm. And I was in it with everyone else, pissed off that this guy I felt like I just made friends with, was just sort of tossed away by the website that he was basically the face of.

In the proceeding months, everyone who had worked with him, for the most part, gradually found other stuff and left Gamespot as well. I thought this was so amazing. All these people who I’ve grown to like, even respect, put on a massive show of integrity and loyalty, re-affirming everything I’d thought of them. Even if it meant leaving a job that I was INSANELY JEALOUS of them for having.

Except Ryan. Ryan, who was one of the first to leave. Everything I could find about what he said, did, everything, painted a FAR different picture than the one in my head.

So I went back and listened again. And sure enough, he was kind of just being a dick a lot of the time. But then I looked at what people were saying in the comments. And I finally started to put it together. It was a joke. He was usually a great guy on the surface (and ALWAYS a great guy in spirit), but he would occasionally dip into this long-form improv bit where he would just sort of adopt the viewpoints of the roiling mass of idiot that is the internet.

I didn’t get that at first. But once I did, Ryan quickly became tied with Jeff as my favorite part of the website. And he far ECLIPSED Jeff as the person I most identified with.

Except they weren’t even ON a website anymore.

Except then they were.

And I started riding the Giant Bomb train obsessively. No, really. I’m pretty sure it was VERY unhealthy. Eventually, I graduated college, got a job, and had different priorities. But I would still be on Giant Bomb multiple times per day. I would still watch every video.

I even remember finding this glitch in the video system where you would press a button and it would just play a random video. But as they eventually found out and fixed, the pool it pulled from INCLUDED those locked behind a premium membership. Which I couldn’t afford. So through reroll after reroll on that…’feature’…over months and months, I really HAD watched every video. Oftentimes more than once.

But then Ryan died. And I was devastated. I never really posted about it before now. I don’t know why and I won’t get into all the self-deprecating possibilities. But years and years later, it came to mind again.

I recently started writing a fantasy book. In that, I’ve found a well of creativity in me that had been totally untapped.

That is, except for one time I can remember.

Less than a year into Giant Bomb being a thing, and a few months after LittleBitPlanet came out, I got the inspiration to make a Giant Bomb level in it.

I loved the idea so much that I went all in on it. Over the period of a week, I put what must have been well over 50 hours into writing, and setting up this story using LittleBigPlanet assets to tell a crazy over-the-top version of the story of Giant Bomb all the way from Jeff getting fired, through to E3 2008, which pretty much marked the point of when it stopped being four dudes hanging out playing video games, and started being a professional...ish website.

I had so much goddamned fun making this thing.

It played like utter garbage. I mean it was basically just a flat plane where you would move an inch, and that would trigger dialog in the scene. Then it would zip back to Sackboy, you would move another inch, and you would get another line of dialog. Once you exhaust all the dialog, you move to the next scene. Rinse and repeat forever.

But that dialog though? I loved writing it. And the visual gags. I managed to fit in every possible callback to 2008-era GB stuff that made me laugh. I even remember when I posted about it and people started playing it: https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/littlebigplanet-44/my-giantbomb-level-is-finally-completed-226275/

So what the fuck does this have to do with anything?

Well, along with remembering making that level, I remembered something else.

I remembered on the Bombcast that week, it got brought up. By Ryan.

And he loved it. He got all the jokes. He recognized what I was doing. Even the not-so-subtle way that everyone in the level constantly shat all over brad, despite him being nothing but cool the whole time.

Actually if you look at any comments about it the few times it was ever brought up again, people just thought I was bullying Brad.

But Ryan got it.

And they never talked about it again. Ever since the real story of Jeff's firing came out, I've been convinced that was because I put that whole thing together a little TOO well, and it could have been seen as Jeff endorsing this thing that talked about that thing he legally wasn't supposed to talk about

But regardless of why anything happened, it made me so happy to hear him say those things about something I made.

So thank you, Ryan

Thank you for letting ME make YOU laugh for once.

And thank you for everything else.

I miss you.

We all do.

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MichaelPeterson

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I miss Ryan too, found the level i’ll check it out if my ps3 still turns on http://lbp.me/v/pf915s

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Much has been said of the topic so the only thing I'll add is that I was also amazed at the time at the incredible show of solidarity with all those folks leaving after Jeffs unfair termination. At the time I was in college and working a fulltime dead-end job at a movie theater at night to pay the bills and remember looking around and thinking "would anyone ever stand up for me if I was unfairly fired?" and then I remembered that others at my job HAD gotten terminated for petty reasons and no one, myself included, did anything about it. Their dedication to a friend, to leave a big industry job (at the time) to work on this rinky-dink website that was supposed to somehow compete with behemoths like GameSpot and IGN.. always really admired them all for doing that.

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Shadow

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I miss Ryan too, found the level i’ll check it out if my ps3 still turns on http://lbp.me/v/pf915s

If you check it out and you can't find it, let me know.

I half-suspect it got taken down at some point.

I'll probably check on that myself eventually.

But that's just so much work to set it all up again!

And I'm just so lazy!

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LOVE

RYAN

DAVIS. <3

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kronixi

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Ryan Davies the hero while Jeff is the anti hero. Loved the chemistry