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If you haven't visited the tribute wall on Curt's page, Loni Reeder, former assistant of Nolan Bushnell and former director of marketing at uWink (also founded by Nolan) has written a tremendous homage about Curt.

 

It's super emotional and truly one of a kind. 😇

 

https://ruggieroandsonsfh.com/tribute/details/2607/Curtis-T-Vendel/condolences.html?visitorId=9854#content-start

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RIP Curt, never met him, never spoke to him, but have read so many of his posts as well as Business is Fun, and his contributions to the Atari community are immeasurable.

 

Condolences to his family at this awful time.

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This comes as a big shock and sadness, especially seeing how he'd been doing so well in the last few years. It seemed like he had overcome his health problems and was really enthusiastic about his improvements, and about getting more involved in Atari matters again. It was really good to see his updates to the Museum site and his exchanges of information here on the 8-bit forums in the last few years.


He was a never-ending storehouse of Atari knowledge and hidden gems from Atari's waning years. Without his tremendous efforts many major artifacts would have certainly been lost to time. These are the kind of things we hobbyists cherish. I've used his site countless times in order to gain insight and satisfy curiosities. My archives are filled with files and images pulled from his site.

 

I feel very sympathetic towards his wife and child (children?). He was still quite young; I didn't realise he was the same age as myself until now. I hope the best for them in future and comfort as they and the rest of his family grieve over the loss of Curt, even as we share their feelings here on the forums.

 

Life goes on, but he'll still be remembered often here, and elsewhere in the Atari communities. It'll never be the same as having him around, but his presence will always be felt here. Curt was one of the shining lights in the Atari world, that few -- if any -- could be compared with.

 

On the bright side, I'm happy to see that he had a resurgence of health and activity in his last few years, and was able to have a higher level of involvement and enjoyment in the hobby that he loved.

 

Thanks for all you've done Curt, and the legacy you've left behind...
 

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Just noticed this post on Atari Museum Facebook group from Curt's family.

For those not on Facebook here is a copy of the post as well as a link direct to the GoFundMe 

Post on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/105586892805903/permalink/3519578904740001/

Link to GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/ywdsd8

 

Capture.thumb.PNG.c73d417bc820b8a8b408b541077cfe3c.PNG

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer
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5 hours ago, OldSchoolRetroGamer said:

Just noticed this post on Atari Museum Facebook group from Curt's family.

For those not on Facebook here is a copy of the post as well as a link direct to the GoFundMe 

Post on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/105586892805903/permalink/3519578904740001/

Link to GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/ywdsd8

 

Capture.thumb.PNG.c73d417bc820b8a8b408b541077cfe3c.PNG

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On 9/5/2020 at 12:10 PM, Stephen said:

Could it have been a Philly Classic?

I don't think so.  This would have been after David Newman decided to pull the plug on PhillyClassic since he was, essentially, bankrolling the whole thing himself in advance hoping it would break even every year.  There was some event held in the same building post-PhillyClassic meant to take the place of it.  Can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

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On 9/5/2020 at 5:39 PM, abbotkinneydude said:

If you haven't visited the tribute wall on Curt's page, Loni Reeder, former assistant of Nolan Bushnell and former director of marketing at uWink (also founded by Nolan) has written a tremendous homage about Curt.

 

It's super emotional and truly one of a kind. 😇

 

https://ruggieroandsonsfh.com/tribute/details/2607/Curtis-T-Vendel/condolences.html?visitorId=9854#content-start

As always, Loni manages to say it all in an eloquent manner.  My best to her.

 

The day she speaks of was a PGL event held at XS New York, a club venue on Broadway that no longer exists.  It was attended by Nolan Bushnell, Loni, Curt and myself.  Curt was loaning his Pong to the event for the weekend & needed someone else to attend and help move/guard the game.  I have to say that was a very exciting time for me getting to talk to Nolan first-hand...the first of several times over the years that our paths would cross.  But, being the engineer I am, our conversation had nothing to do about Atari.  When asked, I talked about theories for building out and operating a small data center to manage the terminals for the uWink project he was involved in at the time.  Curt, on the other hand, was like a kid in a candy store and talked with Nolan about most every major aspect of Atari history.  The four of us had lunch off-site from the PGL event and spent a good two hours covering a ton of different subjects.

 

I can't remember if I took the photo Loni used or if I did.  I know I had my first digital camera on that trip and I have a matching photo of Nolan & I with that Pong game.

 

 

MikeNolan.jpg

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I attended the early session of Curt's visitation on 9/7 in Yonkers, NY.  I managed to keep it together quite well while there, but I was a mess on the drive back to Philly.  It was, mainly, attended by Curt & Michele's family.  There were some exceptions including someone that Curt & I worked with at Atari during the Flashback/Flashback 2 project work.  In the interest of privacy, I will keep this name to myself, but I cannot tell you how pleased I was that this person was there.

 

Madison has turned into such a bright and wonderful young adult.  I have not seen her since she was a child, so I was not shocked she did not remember me.  I met Curt's Mother (Georgette) many years ago and I spent some time talking to her today.  She was doing well considering the circumstances.  Curt's Father-In-Law (Ralph) picked me out almost immediately after I arrived.  Somehow, he remembered me from a birthday party for Madison when she was five.  He was incredibly gracious.  I found out something from him today I did not know:  Apparently, he and some of Michele's family refer to Curt not by his name, but the nickname "tech support."  It seems as though they roped him into fixing a lot of family computer problems.  :)

 

Michele is doing as well as can be expected.  The big hug she game me took me a bit by surprise with all of the COVID-19 restrictions in the funeral home.  There is no doubt that the coming weeks/months are going to be a huge adjustment for Michele (especially with Madison starting college) but I am confident her family and Curt's family will be there for her.

 

....and speaking of college, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover the cost of Madison's education.  You can also donate through the funeral home, which is what I did today.  If you were touched by Curt in some way, please help contribute to this fund.  Curt & Michele have done an amazing job raising her, and every bit will help with continuing her education.  The link is here:  https://gf.me/u/ywdsd8

 

When I was driving home today, I was thinking of funny stories I could share about what I experienced with him over the years.  I am really wrecked tonight from all of the driving and the time at the funeral home, so I am not going to type anything up for a day or two.  If there is interest, I will share the story of Curt & I seeing Lord of the Rings.

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I attended the late session of Curt's visitation tonight. He looked peaceful. There was a large arrangement of red and white flowers in the design of the Atari Logo next to him. I read the card and if I remember correctly, it was from the folks at the Video Gamer Hall Of Fame, but I could be wrong.

 

I sat down and talked with Curt's father-in-law for awhile as well. I also briefly talked with Curt's wife and let her know about the outpouring of condolences here in AA as well as on Twitter.

 

Bill

 

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15 hours ago, Bill Lange said:

There was a large arrangement of red and white flowers in the design of the Atari Logo next to him. I read the card and if I remember correctly, it was from the folks at the Video Gamer Hall Of Fame, but I could be wrong.

It was from Joe, John & Sean at the NVM.

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Good bye Curt. You will be missed. You help boost the Atari community to a new level which I got to benefit from. I donated to Curt's Gofundme.

Edited by rayr
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When I first saw this my first reaction was "Oh Shit!".. 

I just talked to him via PM on August 23rd about the control board in my awesome arcade machine ( something he was involved with at some point ) and I was patiently waiting to hear back from him only to find this out.

 

He will be missed for sure and condolences to his family.  :( 

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Greetings from a member of MAME's MAMEdev contingent... and a proud owner of "Atari: Business Is Fun"! I know I don't have many posts here, but I knew this was where the community memorial would be.

This is an end-of-an-era moment: the community has lost a giant who can never be replaced.


I had seen @Retro Rogue 's Facebook post in the Atari Museum group, and immediately spread the news at a few of my Internet hangouts public and private - what a shock.

I first met Curt in passing at PhillyClassic 5, I believe. I've been Pennsylvania-based for quite some time and visited PhillyClassic twice I think, and then the event that followed at the same location, VGXpo (aka VGExpo aka Vintage Gaming Expo) (there's the event name you were looking for, @mstulir ... I think the showrunner's name was Ed Fleming? It was more mass-market and not as niche, I never loved it as much as I had PhillyClassic...) 2008 and 2009. At one or more (maybe all) of those visits, Curt was there, running a table or giving a panel or just there to socialize, tho sadly neither of us had much knowledge of each other in the retro gaming community. I remember remarking at my first PhillyClassic to no one in particular how odd it was for me to see these Atari prototypes all in one place, and it blew my mind... I know I took photos of the amazing Atari booth, and Curt's enthusiasm was infectious... but unfortunately my photos from PhillyClassic have been lost over the years. But I don't recall chatting more with Curt - my real passion was for coinop, not console, and I mostly ended up hanging out around the Videotopia exhibit, playing games like Major Havoc and chatting @Videotopia and Jeff's ears off whenever they came within earshot. 

With my being only a couple hours' drive from Philly, I deeply regret that I never got to know Curt better than I did, and I wish I had more stories to share. It sounds like he was a fantastic guy. Around 2014 I started attempting to socialize within the retro community in person more often - with plans to drop by VCF East and maybe present a booth or at a panel, and hoped to reunite with him and others there, but it's been like 5 years straight for me where schedule conflicts kept arising and resources were short and I was never able to make it happen. And while I should be able to attend the next time a large in-person gathering can happen, it won't have Curt. :( It makes me think about how short life is. I will try harder next time - Curt's passing is a bit of an inspiration to do this while you still can...

I can safely say that several of us in MAMEdev (and formerly MESSdev) have had valuable and fruitful past interactions and conversations with Curt over the years to fill in gaps in our information and knowledge, in the hopes of properly preserving some Atari rarities through MAME's (and formerly MESS's) emulation of the hardware and attempts at preserving the history. His depth and breadth of knowledge of the history was astounding, making him a key person to talk to more often than not. Visits to his website were frequent enough as certain emulations were coming together back in the day. His leaving us unexpectedly has sadly left a few of those conversations unfinished. :( 

Hats off to a retro community champion. I've donated to the GoFundMe for Madison's education, please consider doing the same if you have the resources.

Edited by Stiletto
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I haven't been able to get back to AtariAge as much as I'd like, and THIS was very sad and shocking!  I was excited to read some A8 info and now I'm just saddened.   I never met him, but I thought I might be able to if I go to one of these Vintage shows before too long, because the pictures from last year looked so intriguing.  Of course, this is not a normal year, so I figured it (like everything else I am interested in) has been cancelled.

 

He looks so happy and healthy in those pics from last year that I can't believe it.  RIP.  Obviously he is a great loss to the Atari community but much more so to his family.

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On 9/9/2020 at 5:54 PM, Stiletto said:

I first met Curt in passing at PhillyClassic 5, I believe. I've been Pennsylvania-based for quite some time and visited PhillyClassic twice I think, and then the event that followed at the same location, VGXpo (aka VGExpo aka Vintage Gaming Expo) (there's the event name you were looking for, @mstulir ... I think the showrunner's name was Ed Fleming? It was more mass-market and not as niche, I never loved it as much as I had PhillyClassic...) 2008 and 2009.

That is exactly the name of that event -- VGExpo.  Thank you for reminding me of it.

 

Yes, Curt did a display there and I tagged along to help and also speak about Flashback 2.  Ed Fleming?  **shakes head**  I thought I had finally purged that name from my memory.

 

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So I mentioned here the other day I was trying to think of a story about Curt.  Rather than talking about something with Flashback/Flashback 2, or talking about a game show or trade event, I thought I would tell something that involved Curt do something I so rarely saw in him.....getting upset.  Those who knew him are familiar with how happy he was when he was in his element.  This is not one of those times....although it did not stay pissed for too long.  :)

 

I was at his home on a Saturday in early January, 2002.  We were working on one of his many projects.  Honestly, I can't recall what we were doing.  My first recollection was that we were working on his 7800 High Score Cart project, but the dates don't line up.  Regardless, I have long forgotten what it was we were doing and it really doesn’t matter for the story.

 

Anyway, we had a day of failure after failure.  He finally got frustrated, threw his hands up in the air and said “I have had enough.  Have you seen ‘Lord of the Rings’ yet?  I haven’t.  Let’s go.”

 

Now, everyone who knew Curt knows that once he sets his mind to something, there is no stopping him, so it was clear I had no choice in the matter.  We checked the movie times & hopped in my car and drove to a nearby theater.

 

The theater was full since the movie had only been out for a few weeks and was a massive hit.  Despite this, we managed to find two seats together with a decent viewing angle.  The movie starts, and everything is quiet in the theater….for about 15 minutes.  We found out, quickly, that the couple in front of us were intimately familiar with the Tolkien books.  How we found this out is that just before something important would happen on the theater screen, one would lean over to the other and say something along the lines of “Oh, this must be where Gandalf goes to Isengard” or “This is where Legolas kills the cave troll.”  Keep in mind, the theatrical release of this movie is 3 hours long and this went on every 10 minutes for the first 2 1/2 hours of the movie.  Since the theater was so full, there was no way to get away from these people to other seats.

 

Curt finally had enough & was visibly upset.  That was interesting to see because there was little that made him upset about anything.  These two morons revealing everything was ruining the movie for us, and no doubt, for everyone else in earshot.  When a quiet moment presented itself with about 30 minutes of time left, Curt says to me "Watch this" & leaned forward in his chair and said to that couple “Oh, this must be where the water is spilled on Gizmo and he starts spawning mogwai.”  This is a reference to one of his favorite movies, “Gremlins.”  After the initial snickering between us, I leaned forward and said “I’ll bet this is where Rodney Dangerfield says he can see whip marks in his steak where the jockey was hitting it.”  This refers to one of my favorite movies, “Caddyshack.”  Curt leaned forward again with a “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” reference and says “The scene with Spicoli wrecking the Camaro is coming up.”

 

Needless to say, the couple were starting to get the hint….until one last person chimed in.  There was a college-aged couple on my right that were clearly on a date and equally annoyed by constant warnings of plot points about to occur.  The guy looks like a linebacker.  He leans forward and says “Oh, I’ll bet this is where you realize the hints that have been dropped are trying to imply you should shut the hell up so we can watch the movie without your commentary.”  Everyone in earshot of that noisy couple burst out laughing followed by high fives between us and that college couple next to me.  Needless to say, the talkative morons sheepishly cowered out of the theater when the movie was over.  Curt was still pissed that the movie got ruined, but he did take some pleasure in knowing that those people would probably never do that again in a theater.

 

       

Edited by mstulir
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Thank you all for the kind words. Our world has been shattered and we don’t know if the pieces will ever be put back together. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the education of Curts daughter. Thank you again. 
His wife Michele 

https://gf.me/u/ywdsd4

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Curt,

You're missed more than you will know,

Admired how you always treated people like family and how you wanted to be treated...

You always thought of your daughter and included her in conversation and projects you wished you could have her work with you on...

 

Curt Vendel  ...   Replied: March 14, 2019

I'm hoping she will. Her free time is rare, she's always at dance practice so getting in some daddy time is few and far between but when we do have time we have a lot of fun....

 

At the time we were talking about a pinball machine being restored... amongst other projects like getting the 1090 boards all up and running and maybe a future release of a stable 1090 with buffering... it just seamed as if there would be time for everything... and was doing so much better at the time, so much energy... 

 

Still having a hard time coming to grips with it, but thought ... just to give some context 

 

Curt-     I bought a Space Riders pinball, going to do a full tear down of it, putty fill, sand and re-spray the whole body with a nice fresh coat of paint, then rebuild all of the mechanicals and get it back up to factory condition. My daughter is all excited about having a pinball game and I am too, so it'll be a really fun project.

 

Please consider lending some support as he was for certain and foremost a family man, I know it's a tough time all around the world... but please consider revisiting this from time to time and checking in on how the family is, and tossing some support their way. There are many ways to be there.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/24lkoij26o?utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all

 

http://atari1090.com/

 

If you haven't, check out all the work Curt has done, not only for the Atari community, but for the people around him... He was and always will be a bright, highly intelligent, kind and courteous person and will be frozen in memory as such... we need more Curt, and we didn't say goodbye there is so much unfinished and so much more to do... maybe you can still can, if we just remember you and accomplish one more thing... and another

 

If you can, consider ways to help his work continue, his completed work to be preserved (both online presence and physical real world endeavors)

 

Goodbye my friend...


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Momentarily back from a busy "hiatus"... and. boy, things sure happen...

 

My last interaction with Curt, here (when I thought there would not be anyone more enthusiastic about the 400/800 than me ;-)

 

I could never see this one coming... much less suspect what he had to deal with, or carry on. Considering that I lost my wife 5 years ago, I can only wish my very best and kindest to his surviving wife and daughter.

 

May God's arms hold and protect him, wherever he may be.

Edited by Faicuai
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I posted this in the other thread about Curt's passing, but it bears repeating.

 

Curt has been battling health issues for many years.  Unfortunately, his medical situation has made him “nuclear” in the eyes of the insurance world.  In short, despite attempts for many years, no life insurance company would issue him a policy.

 

Curt’s passing could not have come at a worse time for his daughter, Madison.  I have been in contact with Michele’s Father, Ralph, every day this week including a lengthy discussion at the funeral home.  The immediate financial situation for Madison’s education is not good.  Having recently graduated high school back in the spring, she is entering her Freshman year of college right now.  This is always a difficult time for teens making that life transition, but it is worse for her having to deal with the loss of her Father.  Plus, with the loss of Curt’s income & no life insurance to back him up, this creates some issues with the short & long range funding of her education.

 

I spoke with Madison at the funeral home on Monday 9/7.  This was the first time I have spoken with her since she was six.  I was immediately struck by what a bright & articulate young woman she is.  I think she can achieve anything in life that she sets her mind to…assuming she can get off on the right foot with her education.  Curt & Michele have done an incredible job raising her.  There is no doubt in my mind that both are proud of her.

 

Curt touched ALL of us in some way, directly or indirectly.  I’d like to ask that all members of the community consider making a contribution to Madison’s education fund at the link below.  Yes, the timing of this sucks as everyone is dealing with their own money problems in a COVID-19 world.  EVERY DOLLAR FOR MADISON HELPS.

 

Let’s honor Curt by investing in his only child.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/24lkoij26o 

Edited by mstulir
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