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Polygonal Slant | March 29, 2017

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The Passing of Ryan Davis | How Gamers Cope with Loss

The Passing of Ryan Davis | How Gamers Cope with Loss
Imad Khan

The Gaming Community is a Man Down | Remembering Ryan Davis

Last week, Giant Bomb’s Ryan Davis passed away. Many in the gaming community mourned the man who was said to be funny, quick, jovial, and an overall great guy. The real tragedy was the fact that he died so young, literally a week after his marriage. The outpour of support was truly astounding. It showed two things, that one, gamers are very compassionate and empathetic towards the creators they support, and two, the death of a man can still emotionally affect us regardless of how well we knew him.

Gamers are Still Young, We aren’t Used to Death.

The reason our community reacted in the way it did has a lot to do with how young our community is at the moment. An active gaming community has only been around for about thirty years. Many of us are not that old, therefore it’s rare to hear of someone from our community dying. Whenever our community does hear news that one of its members have passed, there is a torrent of support. It could be because we’re not used to having such a loss.

Let us Not Forget | Allow the Fallen to Live on Forever.

WoW Fan What separates our community from others is how we cope. We push for grandiose gestures to honor the memory and life of the recently passed. A great example is last year when Gearbox immortalized Michael John Mamaril, an avid Borderlands fan. Gearbox had the voice of Claptrap, David Eddings, give Michael a heart-wrenching eulogy and made him a NPC in Borderlands 2. Another recent example was that of James Payne, a Total War fan who was also immortalized, in stunning detail, as a NPC. Eleven-year-old Ezra Phoenix Chatterton was taken at a very early age by brain cancer. That didn’t stop the guys at Blizzard from bringing him to the office, having him design his own personal weapon and voice a new character in the game. After Ezra’s passing, his father posted a beautifully written eulogy celebrating his son’s life. It’s gestures such as these that set our community apart. As the media shrugs off gamers as juvenile kids, they fail to realize that we make long lasting relationships and connections with our editors over facebook, twitter, and youtube. When one of them leaves us, it affects us immensely; it’s as if a friend who was always there has now abruptly vacated.

Documenting the Massive Career of One Man on a Forum.

Popular gaming forum Neogaf created a thread dedicated to the late Ryan Davis. As of this writing, Giant Bombthe thread has over six-thousand posts and over seven-hundred-thousand views. It’s quite remarkable that an internet personality so strongly affected so many people. Throughout the thread people discuss their favorite Ryan moments, link to various youtube videos, and share pictures of his funniest tweets. Unlike Michael, James, or Ezra, Ryan probably wont be immortalized as a NPC in a game, but rather the community will continue to add to this forum thread for years to come. Gamers are choosing to celebrate the life of a man rather than lament over his passing. It shows that we choose to handle loss by bringing people together and by creating forever lasting memorials.

Requiescat in Pace.

Please share some of your favorite Ryan Davis moments and also mention other ways the gaming community has handled death in the comments section below.

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