Friday, July 4, 2014

Today I’m here not to talk about a review, or some game, or anything like that. Today I’m just here to let out my thoughts and ramble a bit about something that matters to me.

A year ago today was, by far, one of the two most tragic days I had to face in 2013. A year ago today, July 3, 2013, was the awful day that Ryan Davis passed away.

For those of you who may be readers of Zero Second Cooldown, but don’t know who Ryan Davis is (which, if you are one, that honestly and utterly confounds me), he was one of the co-founders and editors of video game website Giant Bomb, a site that I personally love and was a huge reason why Zero Second Cooldown was started in the first place. Giant Bomb and Ryan Davis especially, have been huge influences in my decision to start this site. Alongside that, Ryan Davis and company have been huge reasons why I’m not completely jaded and cynical about video games from my time on NeoGAF.

I first found out about Ryan Davis and Giant Bomb in 2012. While lurking NeoGAF (as usual), I saw a link to a Twitch archive of their Thursday Night Throwdown of Fortune Street. When I watched it, I had no clue what was happening, or who these people were, or why NeoGAF loved these guys so much. Hell, at first I thought Patrick Klepek was some random kid in high school, and I thought Ryan’s name was Vinny! Needless to say, my first view of Giant Bomb was one that was very confused.

But that isn't to say it wasn't great. Watching Ryan joke around with Jeff, Vinny, and Patrick, as they went into this game that none of them knew about, as well as his ability to help lead such an entertaining video of Fortune Street, his wit, comedic timing, and jokes were all fantastic. Rewatching that very Thursday Night Throwdown now, I’m still laughing at all of them.

After that, sadly, I didn't follow Ryan and the rest of the Giant Bomb crew for a while. My next Giant Bomb exposure was the Persona 4 Endurance Run as I started to get into the Persona series, and I’ll always remember “I said Charlie!” from Ryan. It was, at least to me, a big moment from Giant Bomb, and Ryan was there to lead it on through, and help me fall in love with Giant Bomb because of it. From the time of his passing, I had only been heavily following Giant Bomb for just under a year. I watched plenty of Quick Looks featuring Ryan, listened to Bombcasts, and listened to old excerpts from Bombcasts on what was probably a daily basis. I've probably listened to the “Ryan is a narc” story well over two dozen times now, if not more.

Giant Bomb had given me so much entertainment on a daily basis, that it had far surpassed fighting game streams in terms of hours of entertainment. I had rushed home after work one day to watch them use the Wii U on the launch. I watched them crack jokes at the Driveclub guy. I watched them absolutely flabbergasted at the Xbox One reveal, and watched them be some of the first people to hold a PS4. Everything was awesome, and then Ryan passed and I didn’t know what to think. I wanted to hope that it was just some strange, awful practical joke, but with all of the tweets, and realizing the gravity of the situation they were talking about, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t. I still remember that day- I just cried. Here was this person that I had never met, who I only watched through the internet, and I was sobbing.

Earlier in the year, my dad had lost a friend, and while I wasn’t close to him, it still hit me pretty hard and I was shaken up over it. But with Ryan passing, I felt like a mess. And this wasn’t even to say of how others in his life had/have felt about it. There are days where I feel like it’s hard for me to entirely grasp that he’s gone, and it makes the feeling all the worse when I realize that he is still gone, even a year later now.

It makes me really sad that I ended up getting my dad into Giant Bomb after Ryan’s passing. My dad has been listening to the Bombcast weekly since about August of 2013, but aside from best of compilations and some videos that I’ve shown my dad, he’s had barely any exposure to Ryan. When I’ve played some old Bombcasts for him and Ryan has spoken, my dad would ask “Who’s that? Is that Ryan?” and it just makes me sad that he wasn’t able to listen to him—that he doesn’t know who he is until I can confirm it for him.

Even though he’s gone, and as sad as that may be, I always make sure to keep him in my memory, and know that others do the same. I know for years to come, I’ll keep watching his old videos, listening to old Bombcasts, and I’ll introduce those to others, be it friends and hell, probably future kids and partners. It may sound silly to some, but, as I said earlier, Ryan Davis and the rest of the Giant Bomb crew have been a huge influence and inspiration for me. They’ve been a huge rejuvenating force to help me truly love video games again.

Matt Rorie talked about what happened at Ryan’s wedding, where he called Rorie a “human piece of shit”. In a way, as harsh as that sounds, knowing what I know about Ryan, it was meant in a very positive way. It’s a way that, after hearing about it, how I feel about my best friends (and believe me, if you know what I’m talking about, it’ll all make sense). It’s something strange, but something I can relate to, and it’s that sort of thing I know I’ll miss from Ryan.

In a way, I wish I had more to say. I wish I had experiences where I met him that I could talk about, but I don’t. All I really have to pull from is just me watching his antics on the internet. Whether it’s him narc’ing out some potheads or reading some of his seven paragraph Yelp review in the most hilarious voice, or him just screwing around with a Kinect, I’ll never forget Ryan Davis, what he did for Giant Bomb, what he did for the video game industry, or what he did for me personally, even if we never met.

So I just wanna say… thanks.

Thanks Ryan Davis.


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