Even Cowgirls Bleed

by Christine Love


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Number of Ratings: 27
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- Sarah Mak, July 30, 2022

- Marc-André Goyette, December 24, 2019

- LatinAlice (Canada), June 17, 2019

- lilymouse, December 31, 2018

- LayzaSkully (Italy), May 31, 2017

- Wei Yuan Lee, February 23, 2017

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Impressive linear Twine work exploring rejection, self-harm, & expectations, January 17, 2017
by streever (America)

This work tells the story of expectation and romantic disappointment, as an over-eager and insecure young woman tries to reinvent herself and connect with a woman she finds admirable and impressive.

Nearly every interaction along the way is violent. The protagonist seeks to be a cowgirl and has practiced with a gun, and uses it to advance her story. What at first seems to impress soon disgusts, however, and the violence is turned inward as the rejection becomes complete.

It's a perfect metaphor for the self-loathing and shame that can follow rejection, and the writing and voice feel authentic and real.

Visually the piece is as lovely as the content is depressing. A pixel-aesthetic of burnt orange, reds, and yellows signifies the western theme, and as the majority of actions involve 'shooting' the link text with a gun sight mouse cursor, they are accompanied by a bang noise.

This is a complete short work which left me wanting more from the author and the story. The ending can be read, most literally, as a violent and story-ending moment, or as a metaphor for self-loathing. I'd like to see more exploration of the violence, which I think is lost in the abrupt and sudden twist at the end. I wonder if this would be a better piece if we could make more choices about the violence we dole out, and if the game would sad less or more about this if we had more complicity in it? As it is, the violence is usually required to continue, which robs some of the emotional impact--our only meaningful choice is if we read or not.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Maybe allegorical, but definitely a surreal, short Western, May 29, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)

[This game involves self-mutilation and violence.]

Time to completion: 5-10 minutes

You are a city girl, seeking thrills and spills out West. You gather your petticoats, get yourself a gun, and get on the next coach.

Turns out, though, that being out West isn't quite what you imagined...

This game makes extensive use of mouseover effects (this is replaced by the normal touch on mobile), which makes moving through the story very fast. Your only interaction with NPCs and objects is to shoot them, and (on PC at least) having mouseover replace clicks means that when you, the player, interact with anything by touching it, you destroy or maim it. There's a moment where this is especially brilliantly handled, where you can only ever destroy, regardless of your best intentions.

The writing is witty and self-aware. The PC swaggers into a bar, only to be snubbed by the bartender for ordering a bourbon on the rocks; the PC's bravado has her shooting everything in sight, but this gets her told off by the woman she's fixed her eyes on.

The story's surreal overtones are buoyed by the PC's initial idealism - there's something in shooting everything in sight which doesn't strike true for me - so your mileage may vary. I'm sure there's something deeper to it, but, for now, I really just see it as a strange riff on tropes in Westerns.

- Aselia, May 17, 2016

- Brendan Patrick Hennessy (Toronto, Ontario), February 18, 2016

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An allegorical alt game about lesbian and/or trans, February 10, 2016

This twine game has an oddly kinetic interaction; you carry a gun, which you can use to shoot things (with sound) or to flip it from holster to holster with a button that changes sides.

The game is fairly short; you are a city girl trying to be an impressive cowgirl, but you find another woman whom you have romantic relationship with.

The games text is about a Lesbian relationship, but the pistol could signify a transwoman.

- Deledrius, February 10, 2016

- Hannah Powell-Smith, February 4, 2016

- Trobairitz (USA), October 28, 2015

- Pegbiter (Malmö, Sweden), July 11, 2015

- zylla, June 16, 2015

- timsamoff (Southern California), April 23, 2015

- george (Seattle), April 1, 2015

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Nice story but didn't like the end, March 30, 2015

This game puts you in the boots of a young cowgirl (who's a bit overexcited) as she travels to a nearby city. The game has a colorful retro aesthetic, complete with 8-bit gun sound. It maintains a very nice focus on shooting: the way you interact with the links conveys excitement (especially the first time it happens, I found), and waiting is done with fiddling with your gun: a very cool example of linking mechanics and theme together.

Unfortunately, I really disliked the end; I felt it was overly dramatic and tragic. The event that triggers it is very interesting, both emotionally and symbolically, and opens up a lot of possibilities; unfortunately, what happens is, I found, the least interesting option, for the player and the relationship. It is probably a conscious choice from the author, serving to illustrate a choice or a point of view; but as a player (and probably as a person with a completely different personality, I guess?), I found myself disappointed, and I didn't feel emotionally invested or connected to the character in any way.

- ghost_user, February 25, 2015

- odysseus (Ontario, Canada), November 24, 2014

- Sobol (Russia), October 26, 2014

- Alsed, May 17, 2014

- Mostly Useless (Leicester, UK), May 5, 2014

- E.K., April 25, 2014

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), April 19, 2014

- Sdn (UK), April 19, 2014

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