Shakkazulu (Clif Nelson 1965 - 2020)

Shakka, Clif as many of us knew him, stood with our clan since the very beginning of his Populous career. Shakka passed away in March 2020 after battling cancer for years. This is our way to remember him and the impact he made in our community.


In this news article we tried to gather the highlights of Shakka’s career online and in real life. Shakka was and will continue to be a mentor for us in so many ways.

Honouring Clif with actions

Clif was very close to the Humane Society of North Central Florida; as a way to honour Clif, players from different locations and contexts participated in a fundrising campaign organised by Sub_Zero in YouTube.

Fun games were had by all, and an amazing sum of USD $400 were raised by the end of the event. The donation was granted to Clif’s husband, Rob, who subsequently delivered it to the organisation. We got this amazing response from them:

(...) On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and the animals in our care, we extend our deepest condolences to you and your family. We also extend sincere appreciation to you for this gift from Craig Gale made to the Humane Society of North Central Florida on 04/10/2020 to honor the legacy of Clif Nelson. Without contributions such as these, we would not be able to continue our life-saving mission. (...)

Director of Development

Humane Society of North Central Florida

Words from our members

Clif was always somebody who I found very approachable and easy to talk to. He was the guy who was always there with a logical solution and helped a lot of us through some very difficult times. I didn't truly realize how down to earth and easy to talk to he was until I met him in person. I had landed in Florida about 90 mins before the other guys who were traveling to see him. Clif was there with a smile and bag of snacks to meet me. We sat and talked comfortably, we got talking about everything from when he was young, his restaurant and of course the game that brought us all so close. He welcomed us into his home and restaurant like an old friend we’d not seen in years. The trip was packed with jokes, smiles, stories, places to see and memories. Memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. One thing I always remembered him saying from years ago (2012) and which I discussed with him when we made the trip to meet him is the following:

“As you get older you have different experiences. Which allows you to look at relationships on more complex levels. It's not black and white anymore. Now you can relate, not get emotional or realize something isn't as personal as you would have perceived earlier. You realize people are flawed, but that doesn't mean they are bad. You learn this because you realize you are flawed too. Empathy is the key.”

How right you were Clif, how right you were. Your character, sense of humor and genuine kindness will be sorely missed friend. Much love brother.

I guess now you can finally get to visit Europe…


He was the absolute best human possible and that shine through even when only chatting online.

It feels strange saying that about someone youve never met irl but I will miss him alot and remember him forever.


Only found out today. Truly the saddest news I've had in years.. We played together a lot in 2011. I always admired his matureness and kindness, think I learned a few things in that regard from him. He also introduced me to Åsgard. RIP Shakka.


RIP shakka.
Will never forget you, even though we never met.
The memories of some of our games together and MM chats will forever stay with me.
You were a beautiful human being.


I knew Clif for almost fourteen years, meeting through Populous when I was only 17. He was 40 at that time - a right oldie compared to the rest of us - yet we got along like a house on fire. He had such a passion for playing the game and was keen to play with anyone and everyone, resulting in forming bonds and friendships with many players in the Populous community.

Clif could certainly be very frivolous with those he considered friends but he was also very caring, often lending an ear and offering his sound opinion when required. He provided a great insight on life and has helped guide myself and others through the good and the bad that life throws your way.

I cannot believe that I had never seen him nor heard him speak until we met in November 2019. I organised a trip to visit him as he had a tough few years and I knew that I had to meet him should the worst come to pass. What a guy. You would not have thought that he was unwell nor would you have thought that we had never met.

I will forever cherish the memories made in Florida with Clif, his life lessons will continue to shape lives, and with almost six thousand of his thoughts immortalised on our clan forums - he shall not be forgotten.


Recalling our first night with Clif when he picked us up at the airport. He was wearing this long brown coat, with dark pants and big black shoes and literally was exactly how I pictured him and it was absolutely amazing to see someone look exactly how you’d imagine. And from the minute we started talking, I think it was more apparent that he was everything that one helps when you meet someone online in real life: He was the same. Kind, warm, and hospitable.

He led us all around Gainesville and was so proud of his town. You could see it. The first night we were there, Clif stayed up with us until about three in the morning. This is someone going through cancer treatments and just overall Hell, and he STILL stayed up with us. He got us wine, cheese, and we stayed up and talked about the community we used to play the game with, problems, memories both good and bad, and we even watched him react live to a shaman doll Noelia (Apnea, Craig’s wife) made for him.

Overall, spending each and every day with Cliff was a treasure and I wouldn’t take it back for the world. We got to experience the heart of his life and soul with in Gainesville and spending time with his husband Rob. He took us to a beachside and we all stayed there while he cooked dinner. We walked the beach the next day, went swimming, and just spent time together. We went out to see a musical, he stayed out at bars with us, he took us to a couple of freshwater springs, and filled our belly with good food consistently each and every day.

People like Clif remind me that there’s good in the world and we have to remember that. Clif was a genuine person, struggling with so much, but opened his heart and soul to us all week, never once showing a decline in strength.


Rest in peace. My respects to him, his family and friends.


RIP Shakka [*]


RIP Shakka, my condolences go out to friends and family, a real shame I never had a chance to play with him!


RIP Shakka.


It’s been hard to try to gather my thoughts and feelings about his passing to put them in words.

My first thoughts still go towards not having been able to travel in November. It makes me think how we consider life to be a natural state, a guaranteed constant for any future plans. I feel I’ve missed out and underestimated the fight Clif had been on for the past almost two years, and how lucky we were to still have him among us.

And then I can’t help but think of how much Clif has impacted in my own life. I started playing Populous in the roughest years of my life. Clif, Raymond and Sunny took me under their wings and taught me how to play. I was no more than a ‘Spaniard’, a newbie who was absolutely terrible at the game, and an easy target for many other members.

Clif had a very particular way of conversing with me, that I’m sure applies to others too. The matchmaker alert would go off with a ‘Hi’. He would try to make sense when my English wasn’t good, and he would ask me how I was doing in life, and remember about our previous days’ conversation.

Now this might be a silly routine that we all had, but for a 19 years old person on the other side of the world, trying to work out how life works the hard way, his conversations and advice meant the world.

And so it is to him that I owe the ripple effect of small decisions he had encouraged me to make. Do you want to live elsewhere? Well what’s stopping you? - Do you feel you need a change? Well that’s your own sense of evolution, listen to it. - Do you feel this is not real life?

And in that question I will stop. Because he made it a point, all along in the years I’ve known him, that there is nothing in life that is not real. This is real life. A game, a community, the empathy and closeness you feel with someone who you’ve only ever read words from; this is in our lives and this is real.

And what’s going on behind the screen to someone who needs an ear is real. And what’s happening to them that causes them to act awkwardly and misbehave is real. And what caused a stirrup in the community that we lead is real and all we can look forward to is a solution. Together, all on the same boat, going towards the same direction.

That was a goddamn massive lesson on how to live life. That had me shaking off my fears for the unknown and meeting people that I would let very close to my heart. That had me merging my heart with one of them and changing my life forever, in a way that I would not have ever considered possible if it weren’t because of his advice.

He was and will forever be in our memory an amazing person. Yes he was one of those that you think to yourself you’re so lucky your paths have crossed. At a personal level, I could probably go on forever, but I would like to end with his reflection that everything that happens to our lives is real - in front of and behind the screen.

It crushes me to think I didn’t get to meet him in person, and I will be forever grateful for his presence in my life.


Long live Shakazulu, continue to rain hellfire🔥🌪⚡!
-Rob Mack