It's always disheartening to learn that one of your cherished icons has passed on, but it's even more disheartening to discover their death months after the fact.
Randy Solem, creator of Video Game Director's Cuts and the "Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom" Flash series, passed away at age 36 on March 16, 2012, due to a negative reaction to his heart medications. He was one of the great legends from the early days of Newgrounds as well as the guy who almost single-handedly popularized "sprite films," Flash movies that use old videogame graphics, typically from the 8- and 16-bit eras.
Randy was an influence to many young Flash animators -- I myself was inspired to submit a few high school and college presentations in the sprite film format. Back in December, I even wrote an Video Game Director's Cuts retrospective, which will hopefully serve as an adequate memorial of Randy's legacy in the absence of a proper, timely article.
Let's honor the man's memory by hitting the jump and re-watching the amazing "Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom" in its entirety.
Though Randy may be gone, VGDC will not die for a long while!
In recent years, the VGDC homepage has been neglected and hit hard by a torrent of intrusive spyware. Animator Jeff Russell and a few more of Randy's friends have thus decided to rehost the site over at http://www.videogamedc.krahs.com/ and remove all the harmful ads. Eventually, VGDC is aiming to become a repository for videogame-themed Flash and fan art for anyone who wishes to contribute.
Beyond that, there are plans for a "Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom 5" as long as there is enough support from the fans to see the project through.
Randy also left behind a daughter, now two years old. PayPal donations for her education are being accepted via firstname.lastname@example.org, if you wish to toss some support to his surviving family.
I thank Randy Solem for all the joy he has brought us over the years, and I hope new fans will continue to enjoy his movies for many more years to come.