It’s hard to put into words how this week has affected me. I wrote the following on Wednesday morning while on my day off, before going grocery shopping.
Work has been crazy this week. From student employee evaluations to planning what I’ll be doing to get the labs and classrooms ready for Spring, it’s been crazy.
But I know you’re not here for the UNLV computer lab hot goss. So I’ve done a bit on the backend to get ready for a pretty big split to better consolidate the different sites so I can focus better on content. Really nothing changes on my end when it comes to content creation, but hopefully it will make things make more sense to visitors.
More on that for January.
And then, while I was shopping, I received an emergency notification from UNLV where I work my day job that has nothing to do with nostalgia or cringy flicks. It was a suspected active shooter notification on campus. Seconds later, my student employees working on campus started calling me. At first, I told them to close the doors and shelter in place until there was confirmation. We’ve had a number of false alarms in the past, which while dangerous, had more to do with random people shooting other people near UNLV since we’re in a busy district. This time, it was not random and we received a confirmation text with the words: RUN-HIDE-FIGHT.
I talked with my student employees and since Architecture is on the edge of campus away from the scene in Beam Hall, I told them they could either continue to shelter or head across the street to the Vons parking lot where they could gather with others fleeing the university. They chose that option since it was the quickest and easiest way to get away from the situation.
In Grant Hall, they decided to continue to shelter in place until police resolved the situation and cleared the buildings. We also received a shots fired notification in the Student Union, and thought there may be more than one person involved. As it turns out, stray bullets from Beam had shattered glass in the Union, leading to more panic there. Luckily no one was seriously hurt there either from the bullets or the ensuing panic.
About 45 minutes to an hour later, we received the confirmation that the suspect was down and the situation resolved. Throughout the next couple of hours, we received more shelter in place updates as the police cleared buildings. I finally heard that all of my student employees had been cleared and were on their way to the reunification center at the Convention Center to meet with families.
As I was off campus and trying to communicate with my student employees as well as my lab team and leadership, I was lucky. Some of my students were eating lunch at the student union or getting ready to present for their classes. Some of my colleagues were located in their offices in Beam Hall when everything began. I was lucky, but they were not since they were going through the trauma of an active shooter right in their vicinity and in their building.
More details have come out since, and as usual, most of the early speculation was wrong. The speculation that it was a student, unhappy about finals or some such was wrong. The speculation that it was a rifle was incorrect as well, with the expert noting that there was no way a pistol could shoot that distance. Of course, the experts had no real idea how close BEH and the SU were to each other. They also didn’t know that the shooter was a 67 year-old college professor who had not been accepted for a position at UNLV. They didn’t have any of the facts, of course, and were speculating. But I’m still seening people repeating the speculation. When I was searching for an image, I saw several conspiracy sites claiming that there were really multiple shooters because only a long gun could have done the damage in the SU from that distance…and if it was only pistols, then there had to be another shooter involved! Or similarly, that a concerned citizen with a gun was the one who took the shooter down and not police because campus cops don’t carrry guns!
Listen, there are fucking idiots everywhere, and the experts got it wrong simply because they were speculating with no information other than their historical knowlege of similar shootings. It’s the idiots that run with it for their own weird conspiracy agendas that are recycling the wrongness that is troubling. Similar to 9/11 when the speculation outside the Pentagon was that a truck filled with explosives had been used rather than an aircraft. And that is still be recycled in conspiracy circles.
The UNLV police are a precinct of Metro. They are literally the same police that take care of the entire metro area. It is also one of the reasons their response time was extremely fast. Within 79 seconds of the first call. Their precinct HQ is right across Maryland Parkway. Since they are also part of Metro, they are dialed in with SWAT and 911 and have a full dispatch team like any other precinct.
BEH and the SU are very close together. In fact, if you have ever shot at targets on a firing range, you’ve most likely been shooting from a much further distance than the bullets travelled from BEH to the SU. That’s just the way the buildings are laid out.
It was a horrendous day, all in all. And I just want my student employees, my colleagues, and their families to be okay. Because I wasn’t even there, and I’m not okay.
Below is the December YouTube music playlist.
I pull a lot of the items about gaming and movie news here from a number of sources: The Atari Age forums, Retro Indie News, Time Extension, IGN, Retro Hour podcast, Itch.io, Facebook, Twitter, etc. What shows up here will change weekly depending on what I happen to find in the wild. I try to include the original sources in the links.
Larry Siegel interview on Atari’s failed attempt at the mobile gaming market in the 90s (GameDeveloper)
In a new interview, Larry Siegel relates a number of stories about his time at Atari as they attempted to go up against Nintendo in the handheld market.
Daily Drop Roundup
You can get daily drops in your socials wherever you live. First Facebook link is the the Nostalgia Drop page, and the second is to the group. The group is more fun.
December 3rd, 2023
The Go-Go’s – “Head Over Heels”
1970 Bond Bug
I never thought this was a real car until I saw one at a car show in Boulder City a few years back. It’s weird and boxy and was described as a “cheap hot tub with a windshield and headlights.”
Times of Lore (1988)
Origin’s first real dip into a massive open-world game without cut-aways to towns and battles. It would act as a proof of concept for the Ultima VI engine. It was a fun, if short and simple, RPG.
Horror television was all the rage in the 1980s, and Werewolf was somewhere in the middle of the pack. Student gets bit. Student goes on quest for a cure. Hunter tracks student. Intrigue ensues!
December 4th, 2023
Toni Basil – Mickey
Smurf Berry Crunch
One of two Smurf-inspired cereals released in the 1980s. Yeah, the Smurfs were that big of a deal. Don’t like it? Go Smurf yourself.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (2009)
Mario and Luigi gets sucked into Bowser, who goes on his own adventure without knowing they’re fighting turn-based battles in his gullet. Sound weird? Yeah, but it’s also one of the best Mario RPGs out there.
Hardcastle and McCormick (1983-1986)
Retired judge teams up with a car thief to catch criminals who were released on technicalities. The thief is literally called “Skid” Mark McCormick, which had a slightly different connotation for car thieves than it did for underwear.
December 5th, 2023
The Cardigans – “Lovefool”
Zima was a lemon-lime flavored alcoholic beverage similar to a wine cooler that was actually marketed with the tagline “Zomething different.” Well, it was pretty popular on college campuses, so I guess students really did want zomething different.
Brave Fencer Musashi (1998)
An action-RPG from Square with a sarcastic, loud-mouthed hero trying to find five scrolls to enhance the powers of his sword. With a dual-wield action system and elemental attacks gained from the scrolls, BFM was a ton of fun.
Falcon Crest (1981-1990)
Growing up, I always heard Falcon Crest referred to as a “poor man’s Dallas.” I’m not sure why because it was packed with the same drama and over-the-top family situations. Swap oil and cattle for wine and you have the formula.
December 6th, 2023
3 Doors Down – “Kryptonite”
Strap on a plastic buzzer and let try not to let your friends try to blast you as you sneakily turn sideways or hold your arms over the sensor to fire your own gun AND block the target strapped to you. Ah memories.
Lunar: Silver Star Story (1992)
Alex dreams of becoming a Dragonmaster like his hero Dyne, and embarkes on a journey to save the world! Complete with full motion video and advanced audio due to the Mega CD format.
Small Wonder (1985-1989)
What’s creepier than hot bot from Deadly Friend? Monotone robotic Vicki from Small Wonder. Modeled after a 10-year-old girl, Vicki gets into all kinds of shenanigans. And an even creepier “evil Vicki” named Vanessa was introduced later.
December 7th, 2023
The Jubalaires – “The Preacher and the Bear”
The height of 1970s fashion. Anyone who was anyone wore one, and if you didn’t wear one, you wanted to wear it.
Shining In the Darkness (1991)
The first Shining game was a dungeon crawler for the Sega Genesis but would eventually go on to become a massive Tactics series.
All in the Family (1971-1979)
Acerbic Archie Bunker, his wife Edith, and the knucklehead of a son and his wife defined a TV family for the 1970s. Conservative, racist, and argumentative Archie would fight with his Liberal son about any number of political hot points.
December 8th, 2023
Tennessee Earnie Ford – “16 tons”
Kong Man is a dexterity game where the player must navigate a ball up to the top of the game board. As they pass various hazards, they are awarded points. The one who gets closest to the top of the board within the time limit wins.
One part RPG, one part space sim, and one part trading game, Starflight allowed players to navigate a massive expanse of space, choosing what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it in s non-linear game.
“I’m Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”
December 9th, 2023
Mungo Jerry – “In the Summertime”
“If it doesn’t say Micro Machines, it’s not the real thing!”
Beyond the Beyond (1995)
BtB was a launch title for the PlayStation, and with the high encounter rate, quickly became reviled by many players. Regardless of the criticism, it had a fun and interesting world.
The People’s Court (1981-1993)
Before Judge Judy, before Judge Joe Brown, Judge Wopner laid down the law and solved petty grievances among people willing to look like fools on national television as he gave their small claims quarrels a piece of his mind.
David McKnight (1936-2023)
David McKnight was an actor most known for his role in the 1976 blaxploitation film J.D.’s Revenge as well as Under Siege and Superhero Movie.
He passed away on December 3rd, 2023.
Benjamin Zephaniah (1958-2023)
Benjammin Zephaniah was a British poet, author, and playwright. He also appeared semi-regularly on Peaky Blinders.
He passed away on December 7th, 2023.
Marisa Pavan (1932-2023)
Marisa Pavan was an Oscar nominated and Golden Globe award-winning actress for her role in The Rose Tattoo.
She passed away on December 6th, 2023.
Andrea Fay Friedman (1970-2023)
Andrea Fay Friedman was an actress with Down syndrome who appeared on Life Goes On, Carol of the Bells, and voice acting on Family Guy. Life Goes On was the first television series to star an actor with Down syndrome.
She passed away on December 3rd, 2023.
Norman Lear (1922-2023)
Legendary sitcom create Norman Lear created All in the Family. It was completely random happenstance that I included it this week since I learned of his death the same day I had scheduled it two weeks before. He also created Sanford and Son and One Day at a Time as well as many others. He also acted as a producer for a number of Rob Reiner films such as This is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride.
He passed away on December 5th, 2023.
Denny Laine (1944-2023)
Denny Lane was an English singer and the cofounder of the bands Wings and the Moody Blues.
He passed away on December 5th, 2023.