You may not have been his friend, but he was yours: saying goodbye to Ryan Davis
Reading that Ryan Davis had passed away felt like being punched in the gut. This is the weird nature of the gaming community; we travel all over the world to see the same 100 or so people everywhere we go. I had only met Ryan Davis a few times, and I'm not sure if he would know me by sight, but he was an ever-present part of the gaming community.
Anyone who says that things like Twitter, and online gaming, and even podcasts or online video are solitary pursuits are full of shit. I'm not sure I've said more than few words to Davis in my entire career, but I invited him into my home over and over and over again. He was a part of my life, and likely a part of yours.
Twitter today was gaming's version of the 21-gun salute. People were sharing stories, and talking about their favorite memories of Davis. He was something of a force of nature, and even before he was taken from us, no one ever had a bad thing to say about him. He loved stupid, fun shit, and he loved it in a pure, all or nothing way. It's amazing how often we lose sight of how much fun games and talking about games is supposed to be, and how our world is so often filled with dour, over-serious discussion of often goofy stuff.
I have never seen so many great people in gaming say so many amazing things about one person. The fact he was 34 only makes that fact more amazing, and also more unbelievable. Ryan Davis should have been immortal. This isn't the sort of thing that happens to someone like him.
When someone who is this loved dies, especially in a world as connected as gaming, we all feel it, and that emotion is spread like a shock wave. Even people who didn't know him, knew him. Have you ever been to a Giant Bomb panel or event, anywhere? Those guys love their fans in a way that's rare in this business, and their fans love them right back. There is nothing else like Giant Bomb in this industry, and no one like Ryan Davis.
I didn't know Ryan Davis that well, but he was such a powerful presence in our collective lives that it's hard to imagine what it's going to be like without him. When we wake up tomorrow there will be a small hole in our lives, and it will be impossible to ignore or forget. That hole won't grow, but neither will it shrink, and it will remind us that a great man once did very silly things to the delight of a great many people.