Aortic Defender

Do you have what it takes to safe the internal city of Christown from viral threats? In this short tower defense game, players take the role of Anne T. Bodie, a gunslinger who uses her immunoglobulins to protect her home from bacterial invaders.

This was another project on which I was designer and producer, creating different tower and enemy types. Part of my goal was to give the game a sense of “realism”, giving the units names and properties that attempted to match their real-world counterparts. Each tower is a different form of white blood cell and enemies are different viruses.

Download Aortic Defender

Special thanks to Joshua Smith, Kevin Hewitt, Sasha Conaway, and Ellen Beizer, for their roles in developing this short project.



At the beginning, before I blamed myself, before the rage and the resentment, I just cried. Tears mixing with the snot flowing out of my nose, getting everywhere, attempting to vacate the failing system of my body. It was a shut-down, plain and simple. I couldn’t believe it. How could these past years lead up to this? What went wrong?


Some people say that depression makes you feel like a ghost, a shell, trapped in darkness. I certainly can see why one would say that, but for me, it was different. Depression starts like a backpack, slugging around a meager, yet bothersome, load. But as you think about going somewhere or doing something, the load starts to get heavier. It just weighs down on you, dragging you lower and lower, making everything strenuous and unpleasant, even those things you used to enjoy. That weight sinks into you, replacing your marrow with concrete, until the point where the thought of getting out of bed becomes unbearable. Even your mind feels like it’s drowning and unable to reach the surface. Like Sisyphus, I had an unbearable burden placed upon me for eternity.

That’s what you left me with. A burden of just being alive.


I spent so long trying to figure out what I did wrong, what I could’ve done to make you leave behind our future. I picked at my personality like skin, nipping away at the surface layers and peeling down through my viscera and fascia to reach the core essence of who I was. It was tearing my consciousness apart, until I finally understood.

Although I didn’t want to admit it to myself, we just didn’t have the right bond. I always thought that the perfect relationship lacked the petty fighting that tore otherwise good people apart. I was wrong. Rationalize as much as I wanted, I was swept up in the maelstrom and failed to realize the truth: we were idealistic. The idea of high school sweethearts who were madly in love and lived a happy life together was romantic. I so desperately wanted that life with you. But somehow, my greatest fear had come true. Did we hide our resentment from one another? Did we fail to recognize the futility of our endeavor?

I don’t know, but one day, it ended. Like death, only worse. You were still here; you just didn’t want to see me anymore.


It’s weird. I hate you and I still love you. The thought of returning to your embrace fills me with a euphoric fuzziness, and at the same time, it disgusts me to the point where I want to vomit. How is it possible to hold both utter adoration and utter contempt for the same person?

See, this is why I try not to think about you. It just gets way too complicated.

At the same time, it’s hard not to. I mean, we spent nearly every day for four years in each other’s company. I’ll miss spending evenings trying out new recipes. I’ll miss just relaxing and playing video games for hours on end. I’ll miss lying naked with you, basking in the afterglow of our passion. Most of all, I’ll miss feeling wanted. That was the best feeling in our time together. I could look into your eyes and feel the same intensity of ardor I had for you, only greater than the day before. I really did want to spend my life with you.

You were everything to me.

And then, you were nothing. That was it. You just cut the cord and walked out, acting as if nothing had really happened. Without so much as a crinkled eyebrow of a warning, you blocked me from every form of communication and pretended as if I no longer existed. How could you do that to someone? No, not just someone. As far as I could tell, we were enamored with one another. I know I loved you, but the way you ended things…I’m still struggling today, trying to determine whether any of it was real. That really fucks with you, you know? Trying to figure out if any of those years meant anything. Now, I can’t even hear your name without cringing, and the slightest glance at a photo of you fills me with dread.

That night, when we were dancing in moonglow, listening to John Coltrane, before collapsing into a hammock. That was the first time I ever felt truly content.


I never did get to say goodbye, so I guess this is how I’ll have to do it now. This will be the last time I write you, and even though you’ll never read this, I don’t care anymore.

It hurts breaking up with anyone. It’s a knee to the solar plexus when your fiancée cuts off all contact for no apparent reason. At that point, it’s easy to just sink to the bottom of the ocean and let the tide swirl around you, while you just sit in an inky void. I’m not going to let you do that to me.

We happened to be in the right place at the right time in our lives when we met. Emotional tumult at home, mixed with social awkwardness and a hint of hormones, brews a perfect combination for nerdy teenage romance. I like to think it blossomed into something more, though.

Of course, I’ll still miss what we had. The time we spent together was among some of the happiest of my life and I won’t forget the bliss it brought me. But as long as I let you have this vise grip on my heart and mind, I can’t grow beyond the person I was. We’ve both changed significantly, and I’m sure if we’d never met and just now crossed paths, we wouldn’t give each other a second fleeting glance. Our time together changed us.

I don’t know if I can wish you luck or happiness or anything like that. All I can say is that our time together was an era of my life.

I hope it was for you, too.

To J