What is Chicago Loot Drop?

Our Mission

There are an estimated 1.5 million gamers and nerds in Chicago and growing.* This community is a strong one, yoked by the very networks we use to play games and nerd out together. Chicago Loot Drop was founded for two simple reasons:

  1. To unite the Chicago gaming and nerd communities, bringing our virtual connections into the real world
  2. To harness the Chicago gaming and nerd communities to do good, in and around the Chicagoland area

University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital has exactly $0 allocated from their budget toward toys and games for the children. They rely 100% on donations like ours to provide their patients with items to keep them entertained while being treated. We believe that by partnering with Child’s Play charity and Comer, we help fill this void and do a whole lot of good – right here in Chicago.

Our History

In early December of 2010, Chicago Loot Drop held a Rock Band video game tournament at one of Chicago’s premiere music venues – Lincoln Hall. A host of gamers leapt off their couches and onto the stage, showcasing their virtual musicianship on a stage previously graced by a bevy of professional music artists. A winner was crowned, and many a friendship was made, as the crowd mingled well past the event’s conclusion in the adjacent bar. Best of all – the proceeds from the event went to a great cause: Child’s Play.

After a successful 2010, we decided to kick it up a notch in 2011.We once asked Chicago’s gamers to polish off their plastic instruments and rock it out for the kids. But this time, our popular Rock Band video game tournament was coupled with a live music concert. The festivities took place at Reggie’s Rock Club on November 20, 2011, when our competitors strutted their stuff in front of a live audience and competed for fabulous prizes. As if that weren't enough, these gregarious gamers served as the opening act for minibosses, who brought their video game-inspired rock to Chicago for the first time in over six years. Everyone had a blast. But don’t just take our word for it, check out our Flickr feed for photographic evidence of the epic rock: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagolootdrop. And even though the kids of Comer Children’s Hospital couldn’t be there with us that night, they had their share of fun as well, playing with the games and toys that our over $2500 in donations helped provide.

We continued the fun and charity in 2012, organizing a double feature video game-themed movie night at The Viaduct Theater, with a raffle and a few costumed characters to boot. Once again, the event was a terrific success, and we closed 2012 with our total donations to date surging over $5000.

Chicago Loot Drop continued to grow in 2013, holding more fundraisers than all previous years combined. We started with Drawing Dreams, a fundraiser we held on the floor of C2E2, where professional artists upgraded the artwork of kids from Comer Children's Hospital who were given the prompt, "If you could be a super hero, what sort of hero would you be? What powers would you have and what would you use them for?" We also partnered with local nerd-comedy group The Nerdologues for two events. At Cinco de Bilbo, the nerds put on an original sketch show about a Tolkien-esque quest to save Chicago, followed by a sing-a-long to the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit.  Later in the summer, the nerds gave Superman The Movie the MST3K treatment at NerdRiff: Superman.  Finally, our annual holiday fundraiser was a beer and games tasting called Tokens & Tankards, which was a huge success. 12 local craft brewers participated, and we super-seriously paired their beer with arcade games at Emporium Arcade Bar.  Including The Nerdologues, we began working with the larger Chicago nerd community and we were the beneficiaries of several events including Chicago Loves Games's 10th anniversary party, Dweebutante Balle.   

2014 was a crazy year for Chicago Loot Drop, and we grew to be even bigger and busier. In 2014, we had another installment of Press START To Drink with Scott Pilgrim VS. Wreck-It Ralph, followed up by our second annual Drawing Dreams at C2E2. In the Summer, we were very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of so many wonderful events, including a screening of We Are Batman at The Chicago School Of Professional Psychology, The Lord Of The Wrigley: Fellowship Of The Cubs by The Nerdologues, Dodgeball Dungeon: MEGADUNGEON, Geek Show by VSTheUniverse, Bit Bash, and the Midwest Game Developer’s Kickball Tournament. Amongst all that, we even had a team run in Traffick Free’s 4th Annual 5K before ending the year with our 5th annual holiday fundraiser, Shamblers’ Ball at The Public House Theatre. We set out in 2014 to raise $5000 for Comer Children’s Hospital and Child’s Play, which would have been the most we’d ever raised before. We nearly doubled that goal, coming in just shy of $10,000—that’s more than we raised in our first 4 years combined. We're pretty excited about that, and pretty excited to press Continue and keep playing in 2015. 

Our Partners

Child’s Play
Child’s Play was founded in 2003 by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of the online comic strip Penny Arcade, which concerns itself with video games and gamer culture. In response to the media’s negative portrayal of gamers, the pair called for the gaming community to donate to Seattle Children’s Hospital during the holiday season. The response was overwhelming - within weeks, they had a garage packed full of toys, games, and gifts to brighten the holiday of many sick kids. That year, they raised over $250,000; a number that has grown each year; up to nearly $10 million as of 2010. Each year, the international gaming community comes together to raise millions of dollars, put together hundreds of community fundraisers, and change the lives of countless children. More about Child’s Play can be found here: http://www.childsplaycharity.org/assets/downloads/childsplay_press_kit.pdf
University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital
Opened in 2005, Comer Children’s Hospital has quickly established itself as one of the country’s foremost hospitals specializing in children’s care. Comer is a major referral center for treatment of complex disease, caring for thousands of children from Chicago and the Midwest each year, with over 4600 children treated in 2010 alone. All of the proceeds raised from this year’s event will help ensure that Comer’s children have games and toys to entertain and motivate them, while on the road to recovery. More about Comer Children’s Hospital can be found here: www.uchicagokidshospital.org

*Source: NPD 2009 Gamer Segmentation Report, 2010 US Census