I found it hard not to like the “city bitch” main character in Christine Love’s Even Cowgirls Bleed. She’s earnest, desirous of physical affection, and a bit trigger happy. She doesn’t seem like a bad person, just naive and a little bit violent. This quick, ultimately funny tale, is the Western game you didn’t know you were looking for.
Mechanically, Love’s game is a bit different than a lot of the Twine games I’ve seen. To move forward in the story, you mouse your cursor over the text. A gunshot sounds — your character has now shot off her gun. Your cursor (actually a cross-hair) is the tool through which you continue through the story, but it is also a weapon you wield with little regard to those around you. The text flows like a forming story as you type, a departure from the Sugarcane theme a lot of Twine developers seem to stick with.
Love is probably best known for the games Digital: A Love Story and Analogue: A Hate Story. Having not had a chance to play either of those games, I can’t speak to whether this game is a departure. Tone wise, the game seems to bounce (with a great deal of skill) between funny and a bit dark. There’s an encounter with your character and another lesbian woman back at her room, where you find yourself unable to holster you gun and shoot your way through the entire thing. It’s sad, in a way, because you sort of hope for the best. But there’s definitely a bit of humor to shooting through a vase of flowers in an attempt to get in another woman’s pants.
The game is a must play, and with play time coming in at around five minutes, you can definitely slip it in with your morning coffee.