Entrant 2019



Zero/Sum is an original puzzle game with an action movie storyline, kinda like if Sudoku and Die Hard had a weird baby together.

You play as Sarah Jacobs, a graduate student who is tasked with rediscovering the cure for cancer after her professor is gunned down by terrorists in search of the cure. It stars a real life cast of actors, shot in front of a green screen, in an homage to games like 7th Guest and Oregon Trail 2. The gameplay is simple, yet deep, and hopefully makes you feel like a math genius, while requiring only that you know how to add and subtract. It's a math game for stupid people, designed and programmed by one (me)!

Zero/Sum was built over the course of two years, with a small budget bootstrapped together from the earnings of Squeezebox Software's previous titles, as well as a chunk of my savings (mostly the latter). I designed, wrote, and developed the game on my own, while relying on some incredibly talented friends to handle the Music (Michael Costantini), Art (Juan Calle), and Video Direction (Aris Stoulil), along with a handful of actors for the cinematic scenes (including my wife, Randi)!

Zero/Sum was built on evenings and weekends, as well as during lunch breaks at my day job, which is also designing video games, though admittedly much more conventional ones. It was released on iOS in May of 2018, and had a pretty decent critical reception (TouchArcade gave it five stars, while Pocket Gamer gave it a Silver Award - like McKayla Maroney got at the Olympics, though I was far happier with mine). I'm planning on releasing on PC/Mac and Android in the next few months, followed, ideally, by a console launch next year, pending a publisher deal. Since Zero/Sum is passion project of mine, I committed to donating 50% of all of the money I made off of the game to 2 charities, The American Cancer Society (because of the "curing cancer" storyline) and the COPD Foundation (one of the talented friends who helped with the game ended up getting a (successful) double lung transplant because of this lesser known ailment). To date, I've been able to donate around 1300 dollars to the charities, which isn't too bad!

In closing, I'm a huge fan of indie games and weird games and games that try to do the slightest bit of something good in the world, and this was my attempt to throw my hat into that ring. I hope you enjoy it!