Exclusive Interview: Chicago Loot Drop’s Mike Chuck Bretzlaff on “Shambler’s Ball” and More

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We had the chance to sit down and chat with our old pal Mike Chuck to get some info on Chicago Loot Drop’s next great event: Shambler’s Ball Continue reading “Exclusive Interview: Chicago Loot Drop’s Mike Chuck Bretzlaff on “Shambler’s Ball” and More”

Interview: PlayStation’s Nick Suttner

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nick Suttner’s parents relocated to the United States when he was three years old so that he wouldn’t have to grow up in the apartheid system. He then landed in Chicago, where he lived for 22 years. After spending a few years writing for EGM and 1up (and hosting one of their podcasts), he eventually ended up at Sony, where he’s been for 5 years and works as an Account Support Manager in Developer Relations. I had the privilege to speak with Nick about his many years in Chicago, and his current position at Sony where he has played a major role in bringing several locally-developed games onto PlayStation platforms.  Continue reading “Interview: PlayStation’s Nick Suttner”

Interview: Phospor Games Technical Director Dan Nikolaides

One of the great things about game jams are the established game developers who show up to coach and mentor the jammers. At the Chicago Game Jam last weekend, Dan Nikolaides of Phosphor Games was gracious enough to let me corner him for a quick chat about game development, Chicago, and Phosphor’s new PC title Nether.
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Tell me a little bit about your role at Phosphor.
I’m the technical director at Phosphor, and so basically that means I lead the programming team. And also try and prevent the art team and design team from getting themselves into too much trouble (laughs). Most people probably know that what we’re working on right now is Nether, which we’re going to be releasing in early access next week [editor’s note: this interview took place before early access began. The closed beta is currently underway].

And that’s if you preorder, correct?
That’s for preorder. Well, there’s going to be beta keys, kind of like DOTA 2, where there are beta keys that you can share if you sign up for the beta. Then if you want, you can preorder the game and that’ll get you an automatic, guaranteed beta key and a couple of beta keys to share. So that’s how we’re doing that. It’s launching next week, so our studio is working kind of hard on that right now. Continue reading “Interview: Phospor Games Technical Director Dan Nikolaides”

Local Spotlight: Chicago Loot Drop

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For those who’ve never heard of Chicago Loot Drop, it is a local organization that raises money for University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital through various game-related gatherings and events. We spoke with Chicago Loot Drop’s Mike Chuck Bretzlaff about the organization, their mission, and some of their past and upcoming events.
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First off, thank you for talking to us Mike. So tell us a little bit about Chicago Loot Drop, and your role in the organization.
Chicago Loot Drop was started three years ago to fill in a large Chicagoland-shaped hole on [charity organization] Child’s Play‘s map of hospitals. After doing a little legwork and reaching out to the right people, in 2011, we were able to connect Comer Children’s Hospital with Child’s Play. For the first time since their founding in 2003, Child’s Play finally had a participating hospital in Chicago. But that was just the first step. Since then, we’ve been having regular events to support Comer, raising funds to purchase books, toys, and games for kids there.

I’m one of the founders and chairman of Chicago Loot Drop. But all of our titles are mostly for official paperwork reasons. Everyone involved wears many hats when it comes to planning and executing the fundraisers we create. Continue reading “Local Spotlight: Chicago Loot Drop”

Exclusive Interview with HQ Beercade’s Brandon Aquino

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Located at 2833 N. Sheffield, Headquarters Beercade offers, as its website proclaims, “an alternative experience to the common night out”. With over 30 arcade machines and nearly two dozen pinball tables, as well as all of the trappings of a full-service bar, it’s tough to disagree with that statement. I had the opportunity to speak with Brandon Aquino, Director of Marketing and Communications, who answered some questions for me about this unique establishment. Continue reading “Exclusive Interview with HQ Beercade’s Brandon Aquino”

Local Spotlight — The Old School Game Vault

The area of Chicago that straddles the line between “Lakeview” and “East Lakeview” – depending on which neighborhood border map you’re looking at – is one of my favorite areas of the city to walk around. It has a very diverse mix of people, and there are a lot of local shops and quirky eateries that make it one of those neighborhoods that driving through just doesn’t do justice. Well if you’ve strolled around there in the last few years, you were much closer than you probably realized to a very impressive collection of video games, old school and new, which having gotten to see it for myself is just as cool as anything else in a neighborhood with every kind of cool you can think of.

Brandon Perton founded the Old School Game Vault in 2007 after a nearly fatal car accident left him unable to continue his previous career as a chef who had worked for 5-star restaurants and hotels that even had him occasionally cooking for celebrities. With only $200 and a small collection of games, he decided to give the video game resale business a shot. Continue reading “Local Spotlight — The Old School Game Vault”