Thanks, tedster. Yeah, I didn't think so. It just feels weird that 3-4-5 years old sites would get axed like this all of a sudden.
site:example.com brings zero results, as was expected.
Interestingly, Googlebot just let itself go on the sites that were penalized. Devours upwards of 50,000 pages a day. Looks like they don't want all that extra bandwidth left over after Google referrals are gone go to waste.
Anyway, I'm finding myself in a position many webmasters here have been in, I'm sure: gotta file that reinclusion request but have no idea what sin to admit to: there were no changes on some of those sites in months! Having been preoccupied with other projects, I haven't done much link building either. Unless some competitor "helped"...