The past few days have been like something of an information exchange between myself and Tony Ponce over at Destructoid.
Recently, in searching for something else, I came across an article he’d written late last year as a tribute/retrospective to Randy Solem’s Video Game Director’s Cuts. If you’re unfamiliar, I invite you to read the article, but the short of it is that Solem was a Flash animator who created video game parodies which helped bring Newgrounds to prominence.
One of, if not the earliest Flash animation of “Mario vs. Sonic” to gain traction on the internet, as well as the epic four-part “Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom.” Sure, the humor was sometimes a little crude (translation: These may be NSFW if you’re viewing them in a sensitive area), but they were fun all the same.
(You can also view “Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom” in its entirety, along with a few other of Solem’s videos, on the VGDC YouTube channel.)
Anyway, while reading that article, I noticed something odd: No mention of Solem’s saddening departure earlier this year. Checking back, I realized the article was posted a few months before he passed away, and they had nothing else about him since.
So I told Tony, who posted this article, which helped draw attention to the matter from people who were still unaware. In reading over it, I learned that some of Solem’s friends are carrying on his work by moving his website to a new, less spyware-infested location, and also by planning a fifth entry in the “Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom” series.
As a sequel, I remain uncertain; the original ended in such a perfect way. But as a stand-alone tribute to the man, which it’s intended to be (at least the tribute part)? That I can certainly support.
And speaking of support, in his passing, Randy left behind a daughter who is now only two years old. Donations are being collected through PayPal at [email protected] for her future education and to help support his family.
On a personal note: Thank you, Randy. I’ve watched your videos numerous times over the years, and hope many more will in the years to come. You and your contributions to the culture of this thing we call the internet will truly be missed.