A bunch of random Ryan Davis memories on this weird and tremendously sad day:
- I sat next to Ryan Davis at GameSpot for three years. Well, not right next to him but close enough that I was privy to practically everything he ever said (for better and worse). Right now, however, I can't remember a single thing he said (and he would talk practically ALL DAY). Instead I remember his wondefully infectious laugh.
- Ryan Davis convinced me to play Katamari Damacy. Ryan loved golf games and always seemed casually bemused with how seriously I took the games and the sport. Same with racing games.
- I didn't review many games in my time but I always had Ryan's writing voice in my head when I did. He had a clear economy with words and a straightforward, inviting voice that still managed a level of sophistication. Infinitely knowledgeable, but never in your face about it.
- Most embarassing memory: Mistakingly IMing Ryan with a love note that was meant for my wife (whose IM window was opened next to his). I was mortified but, to his credit, he never brought it up again.
- Just after the Kane & Lynch ordeal, Ryan was still at GameSpot, thought it was clear his heart wasn't really in it. Nonetheless, I had a idea for a dumb video about pencils for one of our sports shows. I wanted Ryan to star in it and he graciously agreed. And he made it so, so funny in a way that only he could. To this day, it's one of my favorite things he ever did.
- We had a weird and ongoing in-joke/contest to see who could create the greasiest, most hideous character in tennis games. Each time a new Top Spin or Virtua Tennis game would come out, we'd immediatley hit the character creation and giggle over one another's flea-ridden creations. A few years after I left GS, Ryan tweeted me, showing off his most recent creation and basically saying "Wish you were here."
My old colleague Bob Colayco said it best on Facebook today: "That generation of GameSpot writers was a unique brother- (and sister-) hood and Ryan was a big reason I felt privileged to be a part of it."
When I started with GameSpot in 2004, I was immediatley struck that it was unlike any place I'd ever worked before. Everyone was smart. Everyone was funny and opionated and, for lack of a better term, pop culture-fluent. Coming from the stodgy newspaper world, this was intimidating and thrilling for me. Ryan was at once the most intimidating and friendly guy in the whole buildling. It felt strange to look up to someone who was nearly a decade your junior, but I certainly looked up to Ryan.
I was proud to sit next to him for all those years, and prouder still to have called him a friend.