Remembering Ryan Davis, a jolly industry great that left us way too soon (1979 - 2013)
The video game industry lost one of the true greats on July 3, 2013. Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb and GameSpot fame passed away at the age of 34. When one of your idols dies, it's hard to really grasp it. I had a hugely busy and hectic day when the news surfaced, and I didn't find out about the tragedy until literally moments before I went to bed. It was one of those things where I just happened to check Facebook of all things on my phone before turning in, but it was crushing to discover that one of the most charming and knowledgeable figures in all of video games was no longer with us.
I had the privilege of meeting Ryan in 2010. It was at E3, immediately following Nintendo's press conference. I saw Ryan a few feet away, and I contemplated whether I should approach him or not. I was just a few months into my writing career, and I wasn't even getting paid for it yet. I was but a mere volunteer writer — why on Earth would the Ryan Davis care to take the time to talk to me? Well, despite my nervousness and newness to the business, he did exactly that. He was likely in a hurry to get to his next stop, but he took the time to shoot the sh*t with me about video games, and it was one of the most awesome moments for me as a writer and as a fan.
I got to snap this picture of the Giant Bomb dudes at E3 2010. Meeting Ryan Davis is one of my career highlights, no doubt.
I told Ryan the huge part he and the rest of the Giant Bomb crew played in me wanting to write about video games professionally. He shook my hand, called me “sir,” and said, “Thank you.” There was an evident respect there that not only made me admire Ryan more, but I immediately felt that there was not a single condescending bone in that man's body. You could probably already tell just how awesome he was by simply reading or watching his work, but meeting him in person only helped to prove that fact further for me.
I never got the chance to talk to Ryan again after that. I did, however, see him about a foot away at E3 this past year at Ubisoft's booth. I found it a bit odd that his press badge read “GameSpot.” Then I realized that neither GameSpot nor Giant Bomb made Ryan — Ryan made Ryan, and he was integral in making those websites as awesome as they are. That's the profound effect he had on this business. He wasn't created by it — he helped create it.
While I never knew Ryan on a personal level, it's obvious that he touched a lot of people's lives. His wife, family, and friends have lost a major part of their heart, and on behalf of GameZone, our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to them. Ryan Davis, sir, you will be missed, not only for making the video game industry so much fun to be a part of, but for everything you were.
Rest in peace, and thank you.
Here are some of my personal favorite Ryan Davis pieces. Enjoy.
A pleasantly awkward, cardigan-sporting Ryan during his early GameSpot days reviews Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour:
Ryan, now a seasoned industry veteran at Giant Bomb, reviews Braid, makes a mistake, and uses time travel to re-review the game:
Ryan's review of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, one of the best written pieces I've ever read, due largely to its positive energy.
Lastly, here's Ryan's Top 10 of 2011 for Giant Bomb. Gaming and gun-slinging — Ryan could do it all: