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Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Gaming wiki, video game journalism, online community, comedy
Registration Optional (free and paid)
Owner CBS Interactive
Created by Jeff Gerstmann
Ryan Davis
Launched March 6, 2008 (blog)
July 21, 2008 (full website)
Alexa rank
positive decrease 3,203 (February 2015)[1]
Current status Active

Giant Bomb is an American video game website and wiki that includes personality driven gaming videos, commentary, news and reviews, created by former GameSpot editors Jeff Gerstmann and Ryan Davis. The website was voted by Time magazine as one of the Top 50 websites of 2011. Originally part of Whiskey Media, the website was acquired by CBS Interactive in March 2012. Ryan Davis died on July 3, 2013.

After being terminated from his position as editorial director of GameSpot, Gerstmann began working with a team of web engineers to create a new video game website. His intent was to create "a fun video game website"[2] that would not heavily cover the business side of the game industry. The site's core editorial staff consists primarily of former GameSpot editors. Giant Bomb was unveiled on March 6, 2008, as a blog; the full site launched on July 21, 2008. The Giant Bomb offices were originally in Sausalito, California, and as of June 26, 2010, they were moved to San Francisco.

Content on Giant Bomb is split between its small staff providing videos and written articles in a video game journalism editorial capacity and its community expanding upon it by creating and interacting with the website's tools and functions, namely a video game wiki-database, open to editing by all registered users in which they create content. The Giant Bomb staff reports on video game news and reviews new releases. Their weekly podcast, the Giant Bombcast, is posted on Tuesdays and covers recent news and releases in the video game industry, as well as happenings around the office. Giant Bomb produces a number of regular video series including Quick Looks, 20-90 minute unedited looks at recently released games.


  • History 1
    • GameSpot departures, origins under Whiskey Media (2007–11) 1.1
    • Acquisition by CBS Interactive (2012) 1.2
    • Davis, death and tribute, new hires, departures and expansion (2013–14) 1.3
  • Main features 2
    • Editorial content 2.1
      • Video 2.1.1
        • Quick Look
      • Podcasts 2.1.2
        • Giant Bombcast
      • News 2.1.3
      • Reviews 2.1.4
      • Game of the year awards 2.1.5
    • Community content 2.2
      • Wiki-database 2.2.1
    • Paid subscription service 2.3
  • Corporate affairs and culture 3
    • Employees 3.1
      • Jeff Gerstmann 3.1.1
      • Ryan Davis 3.1.2
    • Business practices, ethics and associations 3.2
    • Humor 3.3
    • Charity work 3.4
  • Development 4
    • Whiskey Media Django build (2008–11) 4.1
    • CBS Interactive PHP build (2012–14) 4.2
  • Reception 5
  • Criticisms and controversies 6
  • Impact 7
    • Industry impact 7.1
  • References 8
  • External links 9


GameSpot departures, origins under Whiskey Media (2007–11)

Jeff Gerstmann was terminated from his position as the Editorial Director of GameSpot on November 28, 2007.[3] After his termination, rumors began to circulate around the Internet that his dismissal was a result of external pressure from Eidos Interactive, the publisher behind the video game Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Gerstmann had given the game a negative review[4] while Eidos had Kane & Lynch: Dead Men advertising on the website. Both GameSpot and their parent company CNET Networks stated that his dismissal was unrelated to the review.[4] In what was labelled as the 'GameSpot Exodus' by Joystiq, Alex Navarro, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker and Vinny Caravella all left GameSpot. Davis announced his departure from GameSpot in February 2008, citing Gerstmann's firing as one of his reasons for leaving.[5]

Jeff's firing just destroyed me, and I think it shed a light on the other stuff that I had been kind of rolling along with. It's just that I had been at the job for a long time, and a lot of the stuff that made the job fun for me has dissipated. Sometimes you don't love the job, but you make your way through it by focusing on the good stuff. GameSpot is also a huge site, and an organization of that magnitude comes with a fair amount of bureaucracy, and everyone ultimately ends up spending a fair amount of time doing stuff other than producing the content. I realize that the big story is the nasty management team and their dirty dealings, but honestly before Jeff's firing, I had very little contact with upper management, and I had no reason to believe that they didn't know what they were doing, I think the Kane & Lynch thing gets way more weight in this story than it deserves. Any disagreements about that game strike me as a symptom, not a cause.

Ryan Davis, February 5th, 2008[6]
Jeff Gerstmann felt that video game news had become "stale".

Gerstmann ultimately decided he did not wish to work in game development or public relations and began to work with Shelby Bonnie's Whiskey Media to begin developing a new site.[3] Talking with Tyler Wilde of GamesRadar, Gerstmann said that their intent was not to make a site that would compete with GameSpot, but rather create "a really great and fun video game website…that we like and that we would use, and that users will have a blast using as well."[3] In the process of deciding on the name for the website, over seventy different domain names were considered. Gerstmann wanted the website name to be catchy and original, saying there were too many video game websites with the word "game" in them.[3] Giant Bomb started as a WordPress blog, which opened on March 5, 2008.[7] The full site launched on July 20, 2008.[8] In addition to Davis, who recorded early episodes of the site's podcast, the Giant Bombcast with Gerstmann, former GameSpot editors Shoemaker and Caravella joined the site in June 2008.[9] Navarro left his post as Community manager for Harmonix Music Systems to join Giant Bomb and its sister-site Screened in May 2010.[10]

Unlike most video game websites, Giant Bomb does not heavily cover industry news from a business perspective. During an interview on X-Play, Gerstmann said that he thought video game websites had become too focused on the business side of games, and that game news had become "stale" in the process. "We want to get out there and talk about games, because we like games…and it seems like there's an audience out there, and they like games... and their needs aren't being met by what's out there right now."[2]

We're still just four guys, and we still feel that there's plenty of places to get 'coverage' out there. Our focus will be on commentary and perspective on the significant goings-on in video games. And, you know, fun! We don't want to run sales numbers stories. There's enough business out there in the game press, everyone trying to be Serious Journalists. I've got big respect for the way guys like N'Gai Croal and Stephen Totilo carry themselves, but no ... I'd rather do stuff that makes me laugh. ... I'll be honest, I wasn't 100% sure this was going to work before we launched, but the response we've gotten so far has been so overwhelming, I'm confident that we're doing something that no one else really is.

Ryan Davis, August 23rd, 2008[11]

After working for, MTV News, G4 and Electronic Gaming Monthly, known video game reporter Patrick Klepek made contact with Giant Bomb in October 2010 regarding Klepek's desire to work for Giant Bomb.[12] Klepek, known for breaking the story of the 2010 employee firings, departures and lawsuits between Infinity Ward and Activision[13] cited the website as "the singular bastion of a truly independent voice" in video game journalism.[12] In 2011, Gerstmann commented that the industry was now "not getting as much news from the news sites as [it] used to, but the post count from these sites just seems to go higher and higher."[14] In order to establish its own brand of "honest, original reporting" news, Giant Bomb hired Klepek as News Editor in April, 2011.[14]

Acquisition by CBS Interactive (2012)

The Giant Bomb homepage in August 2013.

March 2012 saw Shelby Bonnie sell Whiskey Media in two deals, splitting the company's websites. Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun's BermanBraun bought the company, its publishing platform and websites (Tested, Screened and Anime Vice). Giant Bomb and its comic-book sister-site Comic Vine were sold separately to CBS Interactive, the owners of GameSpot and its parent company CNET. Gerstmann explained that behind the scenes Giant Bomb had been looking for new ownership in order to facilitate the website's growth and that talks between themselves and CBS Interactive had started as far back as December 2011. Staying in San Francisco, the Giant Bomb and Comic Vine editorial staff, along with designers Dave Snider and Alexis Gallisá, moved to the CBS Interactive building where Gerstmann, Davis, Shoemaker and Caravella had worked for GameSpot.[15]

As part of the new deal, the non-disparagement agreement between Gerstmann and CNET was nullified, allowing Gerstmann to openly talk about the reason why he was fired from GameSpot in 2007. Gerstmann was interviewed by GameSpot, appearing on the website for the first time in 4 years. Rather than simply being fired for his Kane & Lynch: Dead Men review, Gerstmann revealed that the firing was a result of a much longer stand-off between GameSpot's then-management division and its editorial staff. Gerstmann had been "called into a room" three times between October 23, 2007 and November 29, 2007. The first time concerned one of GameSpot's reviewer's scoring of 7.5 for Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction - for which Sony Computer Entertainment America had threatened to pull advertising money. The second concerned Gerstmann's infamous 6.0 Kane & Lynch: Dead Men review - which provoked further threats by Eidos Interactive. On the third call, some time after the release of the review, Gerstmann was informed that his contract was terminated.[16]

Davis, death and tribute, new hires, departures and expansion (2013–14)

In July 2013, the site revealed that co-founder and long-time fixture of the website, Ryan Davis, died July 3, 2013, at age 34, days after his wedding to Anna Davis.[17] Davis's father Richard Davis confirmed that the death was of natural causes.[18]

I think whether they realized it or not, most people who write about video games kind of wanted to be Ryan Davis. I know I did. Ryan was that rare voice that was able to be brutally critical and frank and funny, and still be well-liked by basically everybody. How could anybody walk the line that well?

I've been doing this for years now, and with every word I've written or said, I've become more convinced that it turns out I was right about one thing: The trick was a simple one. The secret to being as good as Ryan Davis was just this: Be Ryan Davis. Not a stunt that me or anybody else can pull off, but I'm honored I got to see it in person.

Justin McElroy of Polygon, July 8th, 2013[19]

The gaming industry paid tribute to Davis through social media, written articles and video. Gary Whitta, Michael Pachter, Sean Vanaman and Greg Miller were among the prominent names to voice their thoughts on Davis's death.[20] During the recording of that week's episode of Bonus Round for Game Trailers, Geoff Keighley hosted a memorial episode dedicated to Davis's death along with guests Pachter, Jessica Chobot and Kyle Bosman.[21]

Giant Bomb announced two opening vacancies in 2014 for senior editor and video producer positions. At the same time, Caravella announced that he was moving from San Francisco to his home-town in New York following the birth of his second child.[22] In addition to the two new staff members, Caravella and Navarro would open a new studio in CBS Interactive's New York offices.[23] The reasoning for expansion stemmed from having the two offices recording simultaneously to increase the variety of content and subsequently not competing for studio time and people, while also giving the opportunity for the new staff members to establish themselves and freshen up the content being made in San Francisco.[22] The new hires were announced as Game Informer staff members Dan Ryckert and Jason Oestreicher,[24] who had worked at Game Informer since 2009 and 2011 respectively.[25][26]

In December 2014, Klepek announced his departure from the website.[27] In his final post, Klepek thanked the staff and the Giant Bomb community, saying "Until Giant Bomb, I held a devil-may-care attitude about my employment, and no place kept my attention very long. It's not to suggest I've never cared about my work before Giant Bomb, but I never loved where I worked until strolling into the Whiskey Media offices back in 2011." Klepek later announced that he would be joining Kotaku as a senior reporter.[28]

In May 2015, Austin Walker joined the editorial team at Giant Bomb, working out of the New York offices alongside Caravella and Navarro.

Main features

Editorial content

Giant Bomb's editorial content is described as lighter and looser than the traditional news and review video game websites, focusing on video content with the intent of being humorous and entertaining.[29][30]


Tim Schafer and Brad Muir appeared on Thursday Night Throwdown for the launch of Trenched, but at a subsequent appearance at 2011's The Big Live Live Show: Live! it was announced that due to legal troubles the game was to be renamed to Iron Brigade

Giant Bomb videos are produced by Caravella, Drew Scanlon and Jason Oestreicher. Videos are hosted on YouTube and are embedded into the website. Videos are also available as a free channel on digital media streaming devices such as the Roku.[31] This Ain't No Game (TANG) was a weekly series throughout 2009 in which Davis would review movies based on video games, based on Davis' intention to, "challenge [himself] to watch and assess every video-game movie ever made."[32] Despite TANG criticizing the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation film, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon said the episode in question was kind to it, considering its critical response.[33]

The Endurance Run was a daily video feature in which Caravella and Gerstmann played the PlayStation 2 role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 in real time, with their own commentary over the video. The idea for the Endurance Run stemmed from Gerstmann and Caravella's own interest in playing Persona 4, a game they were both curious about but didn't have time to play.[34][35] In 2010 Gerstmann, Caravella, Davis and Shoemaker split into teams and concurrently played through the Xbox 360 budget action-adventure game Deadly Premonition.[36][37] After the show ended, Deadly Premonition creator Hidetaka "SWERY" Suehiro visited Giant Bomb in 2011 and 2013.[38][39] Speaking at sister-site's 2011 24-hour charity podcast in aid of Child's Play, Davis and Klepek revealed themselves as the players of the 3rd Endurance Run, playing the Super Nintendo Entertainment System release of Chrono Trigger.[40]

Thursday Night Throwdown was a live weekly multiplayer show. Members of the editorial team played a game with and for users to watch and interact via Tim Schafer and Double Fine was in attendance for the episode featuring Trenched, now known as Iron Brigade.[41] The change in name was said to be due to trademark conflicts and was announced by project leader Brad Muir in the Giant Bomb offices during the 2011 The Big Live Live Show: Live!.[42] Preceding the release of the 2011 video game Bastion was the video diary series Building the Bastion, a collaboration with Giant Bomb and the creators of Bastion, Supergiant Games. Documented events featured include the in-house development of the game, public showings at PAX Prime 2011 and eventually gaining Warner Bros. as a publishing partner.[43] Giant Bomb chose not to review the game.

In December 2011, prior to the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the website streamed Star Wars Galaxies during its final 5 hours before being shut down. Kotaku reported events as they happened on the Giant Bomb stream, including a Player versus player event between the Star Wars factions the Galactic Empire and The Rebels, as well as an appearance from the Force Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi as depicted in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.[44][45]

Quick Look

The site regularly posts Quick Looks, videos showing unedited gameplay footage of a single game, featuring uncensored commentary from staff members playing the game, or simply watching another play. Video game YouTube celebrity John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, who modelled his own video series WTF is... after Quick Looks, describes this new video format as a mix of both entertainment and critique, combined with the essence of a Let's Play video.[46] The feature has been used to profile highly anticipated games,[47] give mention to lesser-known games,[48] or to intentionally showcase bad games for humorous purposes.[49] Quick Looks by Giant Bomb of lesser-known games are often more publicized by their respective developers[50] or communities, such as the fighting game community,[51] as a sign of mainstream recognition. In covering Quick Looks, Dave LeClair of MakeUseOf focused on the format only on the entertainment merit of the Giant Bomb staff playing a given game, citing Quick Looks of Euro Truck Simulator 2, Wipeout: The Game and the Trains Vs Zombies downloadable content of RailWorks 3 as games LeClair had no interest in playing but recommended as fun viewing in a Quick Look.[30]


In April 2012, video game localization company 8-4 announced that they would be entering a partnership with Giant Bomb in which the website would become the new host for the bi-weekly 8-4 podcast.[52] In September 2014 it was announced that Giant Bomb entered into a partnership with Midroll, a podcast advertisement company.[53]

Giant Bombcast
Giant Bombcast
Hosted by Brad Shoemaker
Genre Video gaming
Language English
Length Approx. 150 min.
Production Brad Shoemaker
Debut March 11, 2008
Provider Giant Bomb
The opening and closing theme of the Giant Bombcast

The Giant Bombcast is Giant Bomb's weekly podcast, released on Tuesdays.[54] The show is hosted by Shoemaker, with weekly guests Gerstmann, Scanlon, and Ryckert as of 2014. Nicholson Baker of The New Yorker described the podcast as "charmingly garrulous" and compared it with Car Talk in 2011,[55] with The A.V Club also commenting on it during its review in 2012 as "resembling a conversation among gaming enthusiasts listeners are overhearing."[56]

The show's weekly format includes discussion of games played over the weekend, industry news, recently released games, and e-mails sent in by listeners. The site's staff have also recorded shows in Tokyo, Japan for the Tokyo Game Show, as well as during the Electronic Entertainment Expo and the Penny Arcade Expo.[54] In 2011 the podcast was said to have over 100,000 listeners.[43]


Giant Bomb's news is written by news editors Walker and Navarro. Articles produced aren't limited to general gaming news, but also include investigative journalistic pieces about the industry, such as the controversy surrounding the developers of

  • Official website

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In the same month in 2012 in which CBS Interactive acquired Giant Bomb, Ziff Davis acquired IGN, immediately announcing lay-offs for the website,[126] with further lay-offs in February 2013 along with the closure of, UGO Networks and GameSpy,[128] Gamespy had just announced now Giant Bomb product manager Matthew Rorie as their new executive editor only a month earlier.[129] Lay-offs and closures have continued through to 2014 with Game Trailers and Computer and Video Games having similar downsizing.[130][131] In 2014 during the opening of two vacancies at Giant Bomb which would lead to the hiring of Dan Ryckert and Jason Oestreicher, CBS Interactive laid off the majority of GameSpot's writing staff, prompting discussion on Reddit as to whether Giant Bomb was outperforming GameSpot.[132]

This is the reality of the current industry we are in and it’s something that Jeff Gerstmann predicted back in the day when he talked about the byline and the fact that the person writing the review was just as, if not more important, than the actual text of the review itself, or of course the video of it. It seems that some sites are attempting to adapt to the modern landscape by either creating personalities or pushing already existing nascent personalities on their staff. Either the most camera-friendly person or the most interesting person, giving them a show or along those lines. We see sites like GameSpot doing that a lot, they’re really chasing after the dream of what Giant Bomb did years ago and it’s the reason why Giant Bomb is extremely relevant at this point because they saw that coming.

TotalBiscuit, September 9, 2014[89]

Giant Bomb is credited with being an innovator within video game journalism, avoiding many of its downfalls and continuing growth where other companies in the medium have had to downsize or close down completely. Due to ad filtering, the advertisements that have been common in video game journalism websites are becoming less viable. Websites such as Giant Bomb, ScrewAttack, and Penny-Arcade have received praise for their success in their paid subscription models.[85] In addition, as print-based gaming journalism was superseded by web-based gaming journalism, large websites such as IGN and GameSpot are now under threat from YouTube celebrities and video game players creating their own live-streaming channels on Twitch.[127]

The turmoil is larger than just [video game] journalism, it's the Internet. We're at a time of great change, what advertising means on the Internet is changing in a very big way, sort of like you're seeing on television with DVRs making standard ads obsolete. Business is going to have to change, and we're all going to have to adapt to move forward and keep going for the years to come. People that stand by as existing ad formats get less and less useful are going to feel the brunt of stuff like this.

Jeff Gerstmann, March 16, 2012[126]

Industry impact


During an interview with MSNBC on MSNBC Live, Wu called upon Giant Bomb and IGN to provide coverage of the Gamergate controversy on its website.[121][122] An article by Patrick Klepek detailing Wu's Gamergate-related harassment was posted that day,[123] as acknowledged by the BBC on its BBC Online service in their coverage of Gamergate[124] and Wu herself in a subsequent interview with PBS's PBS NewsHour.[125]

Critics including Brianna Wu and writer Samantha Allen lamented Giant Bomb's hiring of Dan Ryckert and Jason Oestreicher in July 2014 regarding gender representation in video games and other minority groups, citing Giant Bomb's 100% white, male staff personnel.[118] Allen received sexual harassment via Twitter.[119] In October 2014 in an op-ed for XoJane regarding the Gamergate controversy, Wu described Allen's harassment as carried out by the same people behind the Gamergate-related video game sexual harassment with the same "playbook" of political strategy tactics as herself, Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian had experienced.[120]

Criticisms and controversies

In voting the website into its Top 50 websites of 2011, Harry McCracken of Time magazine described Giant Bomb as having, "news, reviews and video — all looser, funnier and more opinionated than much of the stuff on game sites owned by larger media companies."[29] In January 2012 it was announced that Vox Media had hired several names from gaming journalism to launch Polygon including Editor-in-Chiefs of Joystiq and Kotaku, Chris Grant and Brian Crecente. When asked why he thought there was room for another video game website, Grant said that, "The only site I would really look at and say they have enviable technology is Giant Bomb; nothing else out there has anything that's really attractive."[88]


With the sale of Whiskey Media and its publishing platform to BermanBraun in 2012 the Giant Bomb and Comic Vine websites, acquired by CBS Interactive, under went a PHP-based redesign by CBSi engineers which launched on February 12, 2013.[114] Tools implemented in the remake include the Symfony web framework, the storage and retrieval database, NoSQL, and the Node.js framework.[115] Website additions included histories, rollback functionality and upgrades to searching capabilities for the wiki-database, expanded forum moderation tools and API filtering and sorts.[116] Redesigns included the user profiles with new activity stream feeds, the handling of on-site image galleries and new wiki-database editing tools including the ability to create new pages as users are editing existing ones.[116] Davis and Gerstmann released a one-time relaunch public service announcement podcast with regards to any changes listeners would experience with the transition from the old RSS feed to the new rebuilt one.[117]

CBS Interactive PHP build (2012–14)

Giant Bomb was designed by Whiskey Media, an online media company based in San Francisco, California. The technology that ran the original version of Giant Bomb, as well as its sister sites Tested, Screened, Comic Vine and Anime Vice, included the web framework Django, the database management system PostgreSQL, Solr, and MooTools, a Javascript framework.[112] In 2011, Whiskey Media's Sean Coonce updated their engineering details, moving from Mootools to JQuery and introducing the use of the message broker software RabbitMQ, the key-value data store Redis, the document-oriented database MongoDB, and the memory caching system, Memcached.[113]

Whiskey Media Django build (2008–11)

The Giant Bomb homepage in February 2011.


Giant Bomb participates in the annual charity event Extra Life, in which fundraisers stream 24-hour video game marathons while viewers donate for sick children.[108] After raising a cumulative total of $122,972 in 2013 the Giant Bomb team, consisting of the Giant Bomb staff, Iron Galaxy Studios and community members, passed its set goal of $175,000 in 2014.[109][110] The primary streams of Giant Bomb and Iron Galaxy featured four separate 24-hour streams, accumulating to 96 hours total stream time that week.[111]

Charity work

In October 2014 Giant Bomb released a video in which Gerstmann and Ryckert held a video game competition to see who could get the furthest in the video game Super Mario Bros. 3 while riding the Medusa roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California.[104] Each player had a Nintendo 3DS strapped to both of their wrists and played the game via Nintendo's Virtual Console while experiencing the roller coaster's inversions and g-force.[105][106] Ryckert introduced strict rules to the proceedings, banning the use of the game's hidden items, the warp whistles, as well as declaring that neither of them could continue to play the game if the roller coaster was not moving.[104] In keeping with the comedic nature of the video, The A.V Club commented on the efforts of Ryckert and Gerstmann during the competition by quoting the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy's We choose to go to the Moon speech, saying “[We do these things] not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”[107]


Alex Navarro made an appearance at the 2015 Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) charity event.[100] Navarro did a speedrun of 2003 video game Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing,[101] a game he reviewed for GameSpot in 2004,[102] giving it one of GameSpot's four 1/10 reviews in its history.[103]

Molyjam or What Would MolyDeux? was a worldwide 48-hour game jam in March through to April 2012, founded by Double Fine Productions' Anna Kipnis, Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek and Idle Thumbs' Chris Remo. Based on a parody account of known video game developer Peter Molyneux on Twitter, both professional and amateur game designers and developers in over 30 cities created games based on the parody account's comedic "emotional" and "innovative" tweets. While Kipnis, Klepek and Remo ran the main game jam at the Giant Bomb and GameSpot CBS Interactive offices in San Francisco, Molyneux himself visited the London game jam. Various video game journalism websites reported that almost 300 games were created.[97][98][99]

January 18, 2012 was the Protests against SOPA and PIPA, a collective effort against the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act. Many websites including the English WorldHeritage went on a 24-hour-long blackout against the two proposed laws. Giant Bomb was also in opposition against SOPA and PIPA and ran an impromptu comedy show that day.[96]

The website had several interactions with Buckner & Garcia, creators of "Pac-Man Fever" in 2011, starting in June when Giant Bomb ran an in-office Pac-Man tournament on Thursday Night Throwdown. The show featured an interview with Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia who were promoting their first set of Pac-Man Fever songs releasing on the Rock Band Network via Ozone Entertainment. Davis would later joke about wanting "Buckner & Garcia to write a song about this stupid website," the following week on the Giant Bombcast. Found me the Bomb, written and performed by Buckner and Garcia, would release as a new track with the 2nd set of Pac-Man Fever songs in September.[92] This would be the final song the duo would create with the death of Gary Garcia on November 17, 2011.[93][94][95]

Business practices, ethics and associations

Co-worker Matthew Rorie said of Davis that, "for someone who could be so acerbic at times, and despite knowing him for almost a decade, I honestly don’t recall ever actually being mad at him. He had an unconventional type of kindness that expressed itself more strongly the longer one knew him, and despite his teasing nature, he always managed to make his close friends feel loved when his attention turned towards you."[17]

Davis died on July 3, 2013, of natural causes, shortly after his wedding to Anna Davis.[18] His death was revealed five days later on the Giant Bomb website.[17] In addition to Anna Davis, Davis is survived by his father Richard Davis, mother Rebecca Davis, stepmother Anne Davis, brother Robin Davis and uncle Ron Felkner.[18]

After the dismissal of Gerstmann in 2007, Davis departed GameSpot and joined Gerstmann under Whiskey Media to launch Giant Bomb. Becoming the primary host of Giant Bomb, Davis was the host of the Giant Bombcast as well as video content.[91] Davis was described as having an ability to connect with viewers due to an "inherently genuine" on-screen presence.[18]

Recruited by Jeff Gerstmann, Davis began working for GameSpot in 2000. Initially starting in tech support work, Davis joined the editorial team, writing reviews for the website, eventually becoming involved in its video and podcast content, working on shows like Time Trotters and On the Spot and the Hotspot podcast.[91]

Ryan Thomas "Taswell" Davis (June 4, 1979 – July 3, 2013) was an American video game journalist and Internet personality. He was formerly a journalist of the gaming website GameSpot and the co-founder and editor of the gaming website Giant Bomb.[17][18]

Ryan Davis
Born Ryan Thomas Davis
(1979-06-04)June 4, 1979
United States
Died July 3, 2013(2013-07-03) (aged 34)
United States
Nationality American
Occupation Video game journalist, Internet personality
Notable credit(s) GameSpot journalist (1996–2007)
Giant Bomb co-founder, editor (2008–2013)
Title Editor
Spouse(s) Anna Davis
(m. June 29, 2013–July 3, 2013)[18]

Ryan Davis

Working for GameSpot as Editorial Director until 2007, Gerstmann, GameSpot and its parent company CNET was involved in a controversial incident when Gerstmann was fired for what was later revealed to be a stand off between GameSpot's editorial and management teams.[3][16] Gerstmann would join Whiskey Media and launch Giant Bomb with Davis, Shoemaker and Caravella in 2008.[9] Gerstmann is one of the members of the VGX awards advisory council responsible for nominating and deciding on winners.[90]

Jeff Gerstmann

Current Employees
Name Position Years
Jeff Gerstmann Founder, Editor-in-chief 2008–Present
Vincent "Vinny" Caravella Video producer 2008–Present
Brad Shoemaker Senior editor 2008–Present
Drew Scanlon Video producer 2009–Present
Alex Navarro Senior editor 2010–Present
Matthew Rorie Product manager 2013–Present
Jason Oestreicher Video producer 2014–Present
Dan Ryckert Senior editor 2014–Present
Austin Walker Senior news editor 2015–Present
Former Employees
Name Position Years
Ryan Davis Co-founding member, Editor 2008-2013
Dave Snider Product manager 2008-2013
Ian Kelly Web engineer 2011-2013
Alexis Gallisá Creative technical director 2011-2014
Patrick Klepek Senior news editor 2011–2014


Giant Bomb is known for its alternate method of video game journalism, described as, "not looking to take over the world, they've got a very small editorial team that's very focused on covering the things they want covered and that's it."[88] This concept is based on focused, personalised coverage and giving the byline added importance as opposed to the accepted industry coverage that generally existed prior.[89] Gerstmann has described their approach of competing with large established gaming websites as focusing on the top percentage of games editorially while functioning in a curator role to direct users to lesser known games through video features and the wiki-database pages.[79]

Corporate affairs and culture

Giant Bomb's paid subscription service launched in September 2010.[83] In June 2011, Whiskey Media's Mike Tatum reported that they were nearing 10,000 premium members.[84] The paid subscription model has become Giant Bomb's primary source of income in the wake of ad filtering services such as Adblock Plus.[85] In addition to video games, subscription content features other industries including professional wrestling and Formula 1 podcasts.[86][87]

Users gain wiki points for editing pages. Submissions by users with less than 1000 wiki points must be approved by appointed wiki moderators before being accepted. Users with more than 1000 points forgo this process. Users with more than 5000 points are able to create new pages without approval. Categories within the wiki-database include video games, video game franchises, characters, locations, things or objects and concepts, as well as people and companies in the video game industry. "Concept" is considered a miscellaneous term, ranging from a fictional species, character abilities and different types of gameplay.[82]

The Giant Bomb video game wiki-database, which opened with the full site launched in July 2008, combines a structured wiki with a relational database and is editable by registered users of the site. Its design has been described as built around the interactivity of video games in contrast to existing wiki models.[11][79] TechCrunch compares the wiki-database to Wetpaint, Engadget and its own Crunchbase, which was based on a predecessor of Giant Bomb, Whiskey Media's now retired website Political Base.[80][81]


Users on Giant Bomb have the ability to create blogs, keep track of their game collections, and add information to game entries. Additionally, the site has message boards, saying that "building a community of a big part of what Giant Bomb is all about".[76] Giant Bomb allows users to contribute to collaborative wiki-based game guides.[77] In Quests users earned experience points and level up in a social gaming element that, "give users incentives to create more content."[78]

Community content

The annual game of the year awards features multiple podcasts which are live-recordings of the staff's deliberations.[69] Additional comical awards created by Giant Bomb include the Best Use of Nolan North, otherwise known as The Northies, an award North himself acknowledges.[70] During the awards week, individual top 10 games of the year are posted from each staff member.[71] Celebrity top 10 guest game of the year articles from outside of the video game industry include horror and science fiction film director John Carpenter and World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestlers Stardust and Xavier Woods.[72][73][74][75]

Cody Rhodes, currently performing in World Wrestling Entertainment as "Stardust" is said to be a fan of The Legend of Zelda series. Rhodes wrote an in-character article for Giant Bomb as Stardust detailing his top 10 video games of 2014.

Game of the year awards

Video games on Giant Bomb are rated on a scale of one to five [11] During a video game reviews conference on Rock, Paper, Shotgun in 2008, Gerstmann outlined his approach to reviews. Emphasizing the idea of reviews now being more subjective and less objective from the seventh generation video game consoles onwards, due to the audience of video games and video game culture becoming more widespread, Gerstmann said that assisting readers on a given game rather than giving a definite view of it is the direction in which video game reviews are moving towards.[68]


In 2013 Microsoft unveiled their eighth generation video game console, the Xbox One. The Xbox One's pre-release reception was subject to strong criticism following its announcement of functionalities such as the always-on form of digital rights management (DRM), barring consumers from playing purchased games if their Xbox One could not connect to the internet once every 24 hours.[61] On June 19, 2013, Giant Bomb broke the story that Microsoft would reverse these policies and not feature them in the console.[62][63][64] After Klepek's article Microsoft announced the changes later that day.[65]


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