For those out there who read this blog, you’ve no doubt noticed that there are certain other internet sites that I reference more than others. Giant Bomb is one such favorite that I like to mention (find the site here ). Of all the video game review sites out there, Giant Bomb is my personal favorite. The Quick Look feature allows for a level of gameplay understanding not found on other critical gaming sites. I’ve picked today to celebrate the genius that is Giant Bomb, yet recently was the saddest day in the web site’s short history. We mourn the loss of co-creator, Ryan Davis.
I am saddened that I never had the opportunity to meet Ryan or to speak with him. To understand the man we will look back at Giant Bomb’s history; at its creation and the principles that the site stood for. Yes, I video game review site can have principles. In 2007, the world of video game critics was kind of a joke. As I have mentioned before: AAA games were pretty much guaranteed a good review. Gamespot.com was one such site where the AAA found a certain unfair favor.
Enter Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Not one of the worst games ever made but by no means good, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was your typical bargain bin fodder. A game that comes out and goes from sixty dollars to twenty dollars in a matter of months. However, this game was made by Eidos Interactive, a large video game developer who paid Gamespot a lot of money to advertise on their site. Imagine how red their faces must have been when video game critic, Jeff Gerstmann, delivered the negative review.
In short: both Gamespot and Eidos were displeased with the review and Jeff Gerstmann found himself out of the job. However, he did not vanish quietly into the night. The firing of Gerstmann triggered what would become known as “the Gamespot Exodus” wherein multiple individuals abruptly resigned the company at the same time. Among these were Alex Navarro, Brad Shoemaker, Vinny Caravella and Ryan Davis. This team of men would go on to create Giant Bomb.
A unique genesis to make a unique site, Giant Bomb was the breath of fresh air in a market that was too heavily controlled by fixed critical reception. To this day, I still trust Giant Bomb more than any other site. Places like IGN and Gametrailers are good for their quick reviews, except that video games aren’t over quickly. They are a continued experience.
If I may, there is one example that showcases how important a site like Giant Bomb is for the consumer. Remember Resident Evil 6? A lot of people (including me) were really wondering about that game when it came out. Resident Evil 4 stands as one of the greatest games of recent memory while Resident Evil 5 was… not so much. So which game would 6 be: more of 4 or more of 5? I’m a big fan of the series and was ready to fork over sixty dollars if the new one was up to snuff. I looked on Gametrailers and saw this. Doesn’t look too bad right? Not “game of the year” but not bad. I was getting ready to go out an buy it. Then I watched the Giant Bomb Quick Look. I am so glad I watched that before wasting my money.
Giant Bomb also has a tendency to cover many of the smaller, frankly more interesting indie releases out there. Products that other websites are slow to get to, Giant Bomb does in a hurry. Yeah, they’re indie and there’s less money involved but honestly, a lot of those smaller games coming out on Steam look a lot more fun to play right now than the AAA titles; and I base a large portion of that statement off of my experiences watching Giant Bomb.
As the audience, you can’t help but trust them. They don’t come off as paid critics but rather as passionate individuals doing what they love and luckily making a living while doing it. That is their charm and Ryan Davis encapsulated that as an individual. He came off as nothing but a nice guy whose charm earned him the benefit of many close relationships in the industry.
Giant Bomb will continue and hopefully maintain their unique flavor of critique. Yet Ryan will be missed. I’m going to take this moment so give a few examples of just how many people Ryan touched with his passion and sincerity.
And finally, the last and most fitting tribute: Giant Bomb.
On a side note I would like to apologize for my unscheduled absence over the past two weeks. However, my unexpected vacation is now over and regular posting should resume. So… yay that.