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

Primarily, we bring together Chicagoland nerds for nerdy events around the city that raise funds to buy toys and games for patients at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, in partnership with Child's Play Charity .

Because our mission is also to bring together Chicagoland nerds, we make a point to work with other organizations in the area, and actively engage with other burgeoning nerd organizations in the area. We are hanging out with different Chicago crews all the time. Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter to catch the latest cool Chicago nerdery.

Our Name

In game jargon, the "loot drop" is the reward players receive for defeating an enemy. The loot generally makes things easier or more enjoyable for the players. "Chicago" comes from a French attempt to spell the Miami-Illinois word for a wild onion (Allium tricoccum) that grew natively in the area.

We are nerds, by the way.

Chicago is also a name for the area where we live and work, and the community we want to serve.*Source: NPD 2009 Gamer Segmentation Report, 2010 US Census

Our Partners

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.

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.

Child’s Play

Child’s Play Charity 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.. 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.

Other Friends & Partners:

Loot Drop History

In the beginning...

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 connected with the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital and got to directly brighten the holidays of a bunch of local kids. We brought back the Rock Band tournament and coupled it with a live music concert by minibosses at Reggie’s Rock Club.


We continued the fun and charity in 2012, branching out to make more new friends around the city, including more venues and local nerd-comedy group The Nedologues! At year's end, we organized a double-feature of videogame-themed movies at The Viaduct Theater, with a raffle and a few costumed characters to boot. Thus was "Press START To Drink" born.


Chicago Loot Drop continued to grow in 2013, holding more fundraisers than all previous years combined. We started with Drawing Dreams,, where we asked kids from Comer Children's Hospital, "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 partnered with professional artists to render the kids' answers at C2E2.

At Cinco de Bilbo, the Nerdologues 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, featuring 12 local craft brews, each super-seriously paired with arcade games at Emporium Arcade Bar.

We also continued expanding our work with the larger Chicago nerd community and 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. 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 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.


In 2015 we carried forward with Drawing Dreams at C2E2, brought back the Hobbit sing-along with Cinco de Bilco, and returned to Emporium Wicker Park for a Rock Band tournament to commemorate the new Rock Band 4, and hung out at ValorCon.

We made new friends, too! 2015 is the year we started to hang out with Cards Against Humanity and ValorCon, continued helping our friends at Bit Bash get off the ground, and partnered with Tesoros de Dios for Dance To The Future, a Back To The Future dance party at the Hideout. We even convinced a Delorean owner to drive over!


We introduced new, hands-on volunteer activities in 2016! We pooled together some money and volunteers to build "comfort kits" for Comer patients, and we rallied a group for the Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon, doing even more good around Chicago! We also kept on with some of our favorites: Drawing Dreams at C2E2, and Press START at the Public House Theatre (this time with Last Starfighter and the original Tron).

Making friends with nerd groups across Chicago is a lot of work, but we do it for the children, and because it's why we're here. (Let us know if you want to help!)