Last Sunday 8th March 2020 we received the heartbreaking news that Shakka, Clif as most of us knew him, had passed away on Friday 6th at age 54. Clif had been battling cancer for almost two years on multiple fronts. He fought hard as he continued to live life to the fullest, to devote time to his hobbies and passions, and even to meet some of our clan members in person last November.
Clif was an invaluable member of the clan, of the Populous community, and of his own community in real life. There aren’t enough words to explain how meaningful a person he was. The memories alone that we created in the last 13 years are immeasurable.
Clif joined Populous in 2006, the same year he would join Åsgard. This particular quote from his Åsgard application very much sums up his character, and very much states the kind of perseverant fighter he has always been:
Why do you want to join Åsgard? well I only would like to join if members will actually play… I dont have time for sitting in the lobby talking smack. […] I know you guys play hard and I do too. I never give up and I always fight to the bitter end.-Shakkazulu
He gave us roughly 5,250 games, averaging between the old league points and the new league system, and missing out some extra games that might not have been accounted for in the system. He participated in 16 clan tournaments, winning one of them and being a runner up to another.
Clif would play with anyone who was willing to join his games. It didn’t matter where you were from, it didn’t matter if your skill level was god level or mush – he would play you, and ally you, or put up a good fight. There was no definition of a bad game for Clif.
And that is how most of the newer members have met him, and how Clif would go on to represent the clan and the community by forming new members in a context of fair play and open mindedness.
He became part of Åsgard’s Council in September 2007 as a reward for being a loyal, consistently active member. By 2008 he was promoted to a High Council member.
He was a born leader. His natural conciliatory skills and problem solving mindset helped the clan keep together and sail through the natural bumps and bruises of a competitive gaming community as a family.
Oh my, what happened ? Funny how when I first encountered you guys you were rotten little brats. Now you are dirty young men. 🙂-Shakazulu
Clif was appointed as a Pop:Re moderator in 2009, again stressing his leadership skills. Clif would be the kind of moderator to mediate in every conflict, no matter the background, language, or level of naughtiness of the ones involved. He would very seldom use his ban hammer, if at all, but be eager to be involved in discussing solutions.
This is very sad news to hear. He was a big part of the community in a positive way. I’m sorry I was never able to visit him (being the other direction across the country), though he always had an open invitation.-Incawarrior
It is worth mentioning that Clif has done this all while at the same time being in real life a renowned Chef and head of the Gainesville restaurant Paramount Grill. A talent that has been made known to the lucky members who have travelled to meet him, and enjoyed the delicious meals he would make for them.
Clifton Nelson, chef and owner of Paramount Grill […] Nelson just wants to provide well-prepared food that’s creative and made with the best ingredients, including local food whenever possible.-Anthony Clark for www.gainesville.com
He knew more than just how to cook, Ford said. He treated his staff like a family. He had worked his way up to this position and really taught me about how to run a business.-Head Chef Ty Ford for www.gainesville.com
Clif was also an old school DJ, always eager to delight visitors with his music and invitations to dance parties he would frequent.
Outside of cooking, Nelson’s other passion was music, especially 1970s club disco and 1980s New Wave. He started DJing at My Friends Place, better known as MFP, in the 1980s. Eventually, the DJ lifestyle took Nelson out west to Los Angeles, where Mack said he spun records for fun but waited tables and cooked to make money.-Emily Mavrakis for www.gainesville.com
After reading about his character and the recognitions Clif has earned in real life, it is not hard to understand the involvement and immense value of his contributions in the Populous community.
Clif has been a part of the life of many of the members of the Åsgard clan and of the Populous community in general, with many good – long lasting – real life milestones happening to members of the community thanks to his contribution, involvement and openness to lend an ear and wise advice to anyone willing to listen.
In November 2019, knowing about the advancement of his disease, three of our members travelled from the UK, Canada and New York to meet Clif in Florida. A trip that created memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
It is hard to say goodbye to such an important, loyal and overall amazing person. He will be remembered in the way he would want us to remember him – always ready, always willing, always joyous, and with the perfect mic-drop joke up his sleeve to close his act.
This is Rob, I finally am in a state to read all the beautiful messages left for Clif. I just wanted to say what an amazing group of friends and human beings you are and how much joy your visit brought to Clif. The story of how a group of people’s passion for a game brought them together as a family is incredible. No matter how old or young or where they were in the world, they grew together and kept in touch for many, many years.
Long live Shakazulu, continue to rain hellfire 🔥🌪⚡!-Rob Mack, Clif’s husband
We have dedicated a special section to remembering Clif on this page.