Goodbye To An Inspiration, And A Friend


By Tony Walter | Jul 11, 2013

It was the second half of 2006, I was fresh out of high school and I was out making my first attempt at being a functional adult. I moved out of state and started school studying game design. The area was unfamiliar, the school wasn't what I had dreamed of, and I was lonely. I don't spend a lot of time these days reflecting back to that period of my life. It wasn't exactly a happy time. But when I do think back, that time spent alone was made easier during the hours I spent listening to GameSpot's old podcast, The HotSpot. That was the first time Ryan Davis made things a little bit easier in my life. It wasn't the last.

A couple years later I followed the man from GameSpot to the realization and creation of Giant Bomb. It's been about six years since Giant Bomb got its start. I've read every word he's written, watched every video that he's been in, and listened to each of the obscenely long podcasts that he's produced. I don't need to do the math to say that I've spent more time listening to him speak than any of my coworkers, almost all of my friends, and most of my family. And I won't even project about his influence on what I am doing now. Without Ryan Davis, without the group that made up The HotSpot, the crew that makes up Giant Bomb, I would not be doing what I am doing right now. And it's not an exaggeration to say that these guys have been one of the only constants in my life, and have helped me get through some of my darkest periods.

Earlier this week I received some horrible news. Ryan Davis had passed away on July third. He was only thirty four, and less than a week married.

I can't emphasize how thankful I am that I had the honor of speaking to the man a few times over the past year. In some weird way the work that I've been doing here - in no small part thanks to him - is what allowed me that opportunity. I'll always remember when he re-tweeted the sarcastic remarks I made on his Twitter posts. He's the type of guy you want to think you're funny. And the time he laughed at my goofy tactics while playing Twisted Metal during one of the community events he hosted. I'll be re-watching the archived footage of that later tonight. Or that time he analyzed my Xbox Live Gamertag and gave me shit. Shut up, NachoBoss. Simultaneously, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to forgive myself for passing up the opportunity to meet the man in person earlier this year at PAX East when I opted to wait for PAX Prime instead. 

You said you'd be there. Now, I'll never be able to make good on that drink I promised you.

He was the charming type of asshole.
I can't help but feel like he'd be giving me shit right now for this sort of trite reminiscing, but he was the type that you wanted to make fun of you. He didn't make you feel bad. He made you laugh. Heck, even when I disagreed with him about games, movies, or music, he still made me think, "oh, huh, that's a good point, but Marvel Ultimate Alliance still isn't that damn great."

Maybe I'll play some Marvel Ultimate Alliance later this week.

I've never in my entire life been struck so hard by losing somebody who I had never met. In fact, I can't think of the last time I was struck this hard by losing somebody I had met. Ryan had a way about him. He wasn't just another internet celebrity, that loose term doesn't really fit his style. He was your drinking buddy, your gaming partner, somebody who you shared jokes with, your colleague, your friend. You didn't just follow him, you knew him. And, if he had the chance, he knew you. Many people who had less interaction with him than I have had, feel just as strongly about this as I do. That's not just because they thought they might lose their favorite podcast or miss out on some reviews; they lost somebody, they lost a friend.

On July third we all lost somebody. Whether you read about video games, you write about video games, you make video games, or if you just play video games - even if you don't know it - you lost somebody that day. Ryan Davis was an inspiration to me, and a friend. If you've ever enjoyed anything I've written, you owe him a thanks.

Here's to you, my friend. As I drink this Scotch I can't help but wonder if you'd approve.


  1. Genuine post.

    Thanks to Ryan Davis for motivating/inspiring you to write.

    1. Thanks for reading.

      Yeah, he was definitely a big part in getting me interested in writing. I've been following most of the guys over at GiantBomb since the early 2000's. Only really started paying attention to their work later on, probably around 2005 or 2006. I've been following them all since. I've been lucky enough to have had a few conversations with some of those guys. Ryan was probably always the most willing to talk to fans though.