Even though we both had Petaluma addresses and crossed paths at video game industry events, I had never formally met Giant Bomb’s Ryan Davis, who died July 3 at age 34. But I followed his entertaining Twitter feed and, of course, knew of his and Giant Bomb’s history and popularity. Video gamers are all poorer for having lost him, and he’ll be especially missed by listeners of the Giant Bombcast, the weekly podcast he hosted. (The latest episode is a tribute to Davis.)

Davis’ Giant Bomb colleague and friend, Jeff Gerstmann; father, Richard Davis; and wife, Anna Davis, talked to Press Democrat Staff Writer Sean Scully about the online celebrity many Sonoma County residents may not have known was in their midst.

An excerpt:

Video games “would be 45 minutes in the podcast, but we’d go on for three hours … we wanted to expand beyond geek culture,” Gerstmann said.

Davis was a breakout star, with his big laugh and broad humor and his eclectic interests, including music, unusual clocks, hummingbird feeders, and a weirdly intense love of his New Balance model 574 shoes, a love so passionate that podcast followers would send him photographs of their own pairs, his wife said.

“There was something inherently genuine about the way he carried himself on camera and in the podcasts” that helped him connect with an audience, she said. “I think that showed or resonated with people.”

As his fame among gamers grew, she said, people would recognize him on the street and ask for autographs and pictures. Davis was always friendly and cooperative, but he would often confess later that he was uncomfortable with all the attention, such as the day he was recognized in line for the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland, where the couple went every year to celebrate Anna Davis’ birthday.

You can read Ryan Davis’ Press Democrat obituary here.

Side note: I have worked at The Press Democrat for more than 12 years, and this is the first time I can recall an obituary photo in which the subject was pretending to be a pirate.

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