I’m now going to talk about a video game website. A website about video games. It’s meant a lot to me, and it’s now changing, so I wanted to take a moment and share what it meant and share what it was.
Giant Bomb is a video game website created in 2008. Many people
have come and gone over the years, but there has always been a core of people who’ve been there from when they all worked together at Gamespot, and moved to create the site in 2008. They were all “video game
journalists”, reviewers, reporters, media industry folk covering the game
industry. But now they wanted to make something different.
What they made then, was special. It wasn’t another Gamespot. It wasn’t another big, business-focused website, targeted at a huge audience. It was four guys in a basement, shooting video on a hastily set up green screen.
I’ve gone back to this video regularly (it’s 2 minutes long, you should watch it). It so well encapsulates what Giant Bomb was, is, and has been, even though it looks much different today. It is messy. It’s silly. It’s nonsense. It’s fun. It is intensely unprofessional. It’s got intentionally bad acting. The audio pans incorrectly. It’s poorly framed. But they’re having a great time. I’m having a great time watching it.
I didn’t discover Giant Bomb until November 2009. I remember
the first video I ever watched: It was the Tony Hawk Ride Quick Look.
Which starts with a skit of them being "shitty California Skater bros”, and
then shifts into them playing Tony Hawk Ride, and mostly disliking it (it’s not a very good game).
And yet it just felt… fresh. Friendly. Welcoming. Fun. And honest. Genuine. They weren’t hiding what they thought, and they were having a good time talking about it.
And they were just… playing the game. And chatting, like friends.
Remember, this is before YouTube Let’s Plays! This is way before Twitch! The idea of just… playing a video game on the internet and talking about it was unheard of. Internet videos longer than 15 minutes was considered a terrible idea. And here they were, uploading 30 minutes of raw, uncut gameplay, while talking casually over it. No script. No outtakes. No editing. Just people.
Since then, I’ve watched their videos and listened to the Giant Bombcast, their weekly podcast, every week, without fail, since 2010. Let me make that super clear: Every. Single. Week. For my entire adult life. I started listening to Giant Bomb before I was 18. It has obviously shaped who I am. To explain this website to my parents I said: “When you heard Californian voices in my room, that was Giant Bomb.” And it was.
And I’m now writing this blog because three of the people at
the core of the site announced that they are departing Giant Bomb as of this
week. Brad, Vinny, and Alex are now gone. 3 of the voices I've listened to every week will no longer continue to be there.
It’s been a home. A rock. A place that helped me through so
many times, so many lonely moments, so many changes in my life, and
they’ve continued to be there. So many laughs, so many smiles, so many joyful hours.
It was comfort when I was in high school. It was comfort when I was alone. It was comfort when I had to do new things that scared me. It was comfort when I moved to London. It was comfort when I moved to America. It has always been a safe place. No matter how anxious or worried or terrified I felt, no matter how stressful the world was, no matter how much everything fell apart, I could always turn on a Giant Bomb video and relax.
Imagine you had a group of friends you’d hung out with every
week for 10 years. You know all the jokes. You know all the references. And
they’re always there.
And no, they are not my “friends”. I’m no one special there.
My biggest claim to Giant Bomb fame was that the duders played my game from the
first Giant Bomb Game Jam (and enjoyed it), which is and was a ludicrous
moment to me.
I’m, mostly, a viewcount to them. But to me, they have been a landmark around which I swung. I could always return to Giant Bomb when the rest of the world was too much.
So yeah, this news hurts. A lot. Especially now, especially
here, as I’m vulnerable and alone, in a new country so far away from home.
Especially now when my life revolves around online friendships, around online communities.
One of those communities—the one I’ve relied on the longest—just got torn
apart. You bet I’m emotional about 3 people who play video games on the
internet. This is my life right here.
It's been a tough week.
I know most of what I know about video games and the video
game industry from Giant Bomb. They’ve fueled my interest in the medium,
immensely. It is not an exaggeration to say that I’m doing what I’m doing, in
large part, because I happened to watch a video about a bad skating game in 2009.
I've learned so much. They've inspired me so much. On top of their humour and goofs they are also incredibly smart and insightful and respectful.
I cannot name all the joy they’ve given me. All the E3s. The Game of the Years. The Big Live Live Show Lives. The Endurance Runs. The impromptu live streams. Dave’s Apocalypse Radio Show. The Big Red Phone. Contradiction! Project B.E.A.S.T. Hitsmas. Mario Party Parties. Breaking Brad. BioForge. The PAX Panels!
Here’s some more if you want some shorter clips (Yes, Blinking White Guy is from Giant Bomb).
And that content is all still there! (ok, most of it, some of the old stuff wasn't archived) Ready to watch! I’ve shared as many links as appropriate here but there are thousands and thousands more. You could watch a new Giant Bomb video every day for the next 10 years and not run out.
The site is not dead. There are still good people at it, who I trust to make something great. But it will from now on be something else.
And for the people leaving, I doubt this is the last I’m seeing of them. Every single person who left Giant Bomb went on to do amazing things. Cloth Map. Waypoint. Noclip. Who knows what these three will do?
But that doesn’t matter right now.
This blog is about what Giant Bomb was. And what it was to me. What it will be is unknown. I have faith in Jeff Gerstmann, who is now the only remaining founder. He’s led this strange, rickety ship for way more than a decade at this point. If there’s one person I’d trust with relaunching a video game website, it’s him. So we’ll see what Giant Bomb will become.
Right now, I just wanted to write down how much a silly website about people playing video games on the internet has meant to me. And how I’m sad it is changing. I hope it made some sense, at least. And I apologize for the references you didn't get, but they mean a lot to me, and therefore they are here.
Good luck, and have batman.
Top banner from https://www.giantbomb.com/articles/the-community-spotlight-10292016/1100-5501/, by user Supernormalstep