Character Select: Thanks, Ryan

Written by on July 15, 2013 in []

I sat down no less than three times this week and tried to write this column. I had a list of topics and every time I tried to tackle one I ended up hating everything and scraping it. Writing about the nonsense of my life just didn’t feel right and I could not put my finger on why. I got to work Wednesday morning and there was a podcast in my feed waiting to be listened to, the newest Giant Bombcast. That’s when the reason for my writing funk dawned on me.

For those of you who haven’t heard or read, Ryan Davis from Giant Bomb passed away on July 3. He was 34 years old. He had just gotten married on June 29. I cried when I read the news last week. I’ve only ever met Ryan once and it was very brief but I still cried for someone who was on paper a stranger but yet not really a stranger to me at all.

I remember when Giant Bomb started back in 2008. I listened to their podcast from the very beginning when it had a very different name and it was just Jeff and Ryan. I had listened to Jeff and Ryan in some incarnation for years when they worked at Gamespot so following them while they started their new venture seemed like a natural thing to do. I quickly came to love their rambling conversations about games and energy drinks. It felt like I was listening to good friends just chat about nonsense which was rare at that time.

Ever since 2008 I have listened to the Bombcast every week. It became a routine. Every Wednesday morning I would pull the episode onto my iPod or computer and listen to it while I worked. That show existed through grad school, two pregnancies, two births, and two maternity leaves. Every Wednesday morning I would have coffee and Ryan’s voice in my ear enthusiastically saying “Hello everyone it’s Tuesday!” Beyond just the podcast I enjoyed watching him host live shows and his voice on Quick Looks was one of my favorites. He had the most incredible laugh I’ve ever heard. It oozed joy in a way that is hard to describe with words.

Beyond just enjoying the content coming from Ryan, the Giant Bombcast was what convinced Leah and myself to start Some Other Castle. We felt like the natural flow of a podcast like that was something we could do ourselves. We were also friends who loved games and had that comfortable conversational nature. If Jeff and Ryan could make it work, why couldn’t we? Ryan’s way of hosting that show helped me figure out how to host mine, how to make it fun and comfortable and silly while still bringing some knowledge and information into the mix.

All of this exposure to Ryan in the past 5 years is what makes him feel like he wasn’t a stranger to me. This is the reason I feel like I’ve lost a friend and an inspiration. I’ve heard his voice at least three times a week for years and the realization that I don’t to hear his laugh anymore, or hear him announce the day of the week in his ridiculous way. I won’t get to hear his raw enthusiasm for games he loved or his seething anger for the ones he hates. To say that I’ve been sad this past week would be an understatement. Ryan had made a bear sized imprint on my life and it was painful to wrap my head around him being gone.

The thing is, I’m not alone in this. Since the news of Ryan’s passing was announced on July 8 I’ve seen the most incredible outpouring of love and support. My Twitter feed on the 8th morphed from unparalled sadness into a stream of the happiest memories I have ever read. People posted their favorite podcast moments, the best Ryan Quick Looks, and their memories of meeting him in person. Developers and other members of the games press wrote fantastic words about Ryan and how he impacted their lives. Over the course of last week the Giant Bomb community grieved in exactly the way I think Ryan would have wanted, by laughing. There was still a lot of crying but I feel like the laughter drowned out the tears. It was magical. I’ve never seen anything like this on the Internet and that is a testament to who Ryan was and how he was able to touch people’s lives.

I woke up on Wednesday, the 10th expecting no Bombcast to greet me. I assumed the guys would need some time and that was ok, I thought I might need some time too. I was beyond surprised when I got to work and iTunes synced a new Bombcast. At first I didn’t think I could handle listening to it. I thought it would make me cry all over again. I’m so incredibly glad I decided to close my office door and listen to that show. What followed was two hours of the most incredible stories about Ryan. His friends loved him and they wanted to make sure every single member of their community knew just how much. I laughed through that whole two hours, stopping only at the end when it was very clear everyone broke. It was maybe the most perfect memorial I’ve ever heard and I’m so glad they turned on those microphones and let us all hear it.

I owe my personal thanks to Ryan not just for his inspiration but for all of the laughter he brought me in some very hard times. He demonstrated how to live life and not be ashamed of who you are or what you enjoy. I’ll miss his voice and especially his laugh and it will likely be a very long while before I don’t get a little sad when I make my morning visit to Giant Bomb. Thanks, Ryan for showing that you can love your job and love your life just as it is. Thanks, Ryan. For everything.


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Author: Elaine View all posts by
Electrical Engineer, podcaster, writer, gamer, tech lover, mother of two children (who are often trying to kill me) and lover of rum, vodka and wine from a box.

One Comment on "Character Select: Thanks, Ryan"

  1. Kelly Brown July 15, 2013 at 7:28 am -

    So true that he has touched so many people. It is amazing to hear that it was The Bombcast that brought you into our ears as a podcaster. I am so glad and happy about that.