I have a feeling Ryan would be a bit annoyed with the thought of anyone being struck speechless thanks to him. The last thing he'd ever want is silence, even if all someone could say is,
"F*ck! SH*T! What the hell are you talking about? Ryan Davis can't be dead! That's bullsh*t, you lying sack of crap!"
For the last few hours, that's probably the best I've been able to muster, and I'd like to think he'd appreciate the great enthusiasm with which people have responded to his passing. He didn't ever seem to want people to change for him. He just wanted them to boldly be who they are. Express themselves passionately as who they are.
And that was perhaps what I appreciated most about him as a man and an entertainer. It was always hard to put a peg on the magic of Ryan Davis, but if I were to venture my own inarticulate guess, I would say it was a passion for passion. A man driven not only by himself being a truly memorable character but by his desire to see others shine for who they are, as well. It made him an amazing host, encouraging others in putting themselves out there for the entertainment and education of everyone else.
His subtle and not-so-subtle provocations of conversation were a major part of what has made the Bombcast an enduring weekly discussion of videogames and everything else one can imagine. He pushed and prodded in videos, whether with his cutting criticism or unconstrained joy. Nothing appeared "meh" to him. It was "MEH!" Even his boredom asserted an undeniable presence. He was unequivocally himself in everything he was a part of.
Even as a videogame personality I knew strictly through the Internet, I will miss Ryan Davis as though he were an old friend I had truly known. I can't quite explain that. But while his friends and family deeply mourn their loss, I cannot help but mourn with them in my own distant way. I am but another random member of the Giant Bomb community, and perhaps that's why his death is having such an impact. Giant Bomb really is a community, and Ryan was a leader and a major part of what brought us all together.
There would have been no Giant Bomb without Ryan Davis, and Giant Bomb is forever changed by this loss. Ultimately, it is but a small part of what Ryan accomplished in his life, as a man, as a son, as a husband, as a friend... but it is undeniably an important and amazing site and community that he helped build up until the day he was taken from this earth. It's natural for people to wonder what will happen without him here, because he leaves an immense hole that cannot be filled. The Giant Bomb and Bombcast we knew will not be the same as the Giant Bomb and Bombcast in the future, but all of this stands as a tribute to a man who made life brighter for thousands of people around the world.
Ryan lives on in the Commodore 64 classic, Murder on the Mississippi.
At this point, I imagine Ryan goading me to wrap things up, because I cannot help but feel that he would be hesitant to accept just how wide and deep the outpouring of love is for him and all that he has done. He's just some asshole who makes random comments on videogames and does dumb sh*t, he might say, and he and Jeff Gerstmann have never seemed to cease in marveling at the fact that they get to do this for a living. Yet, all of that dumb sh*t culminated in a man who made a real impact on videogame culture and entertained hundreds of thousands more than he would ever know.
Ryan in a parody of 90's FMV games.
As a regular source of joy for everyone who knew him, Ryan was an irreplaceable part of our lives. And while I shed a few tears trying to get all of this out, I can't help but shout, "F*CK RYAN DAVIS." You jerk. You asshole... Why'd you have to make us care so much? Why'd you have such an impact on this crazy community of gamers? You're gonna be missed so damn much.
My sincere prayers are with his wife, his family, his friends, and every fan of Giant Bomb and the Bombcast who has gotten so much from his years of hard work and friendship. May you find some peace in the face of this immeasurable loss.