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Lunch Break Special: Zero Summer, the Cowboy with No Name

Howdy, partner! You better saddle up and come wit' me. Watch yo' back, 'cause Zero Summer's ain't no Wild West you've ever seen before.

I love, love, love Zero Summer with a passion that may well be inappropriate. When Failbetter Games released Storynexus and people started flocking to the new platform, Zero Summer was one of the first games I dallied with. I'm enough of a flake to occasionally forget its existence (this is why I can't own plants), but I always come back. Zero Summer isn't just a Western-themed, card-driven RPG set in a United States ravaged by unspeakable monstrosities, it's a Fallen London-esque experience where you get to be a not-entirely-cliched amnesiac gunslinger. Say squee!

Full disclosure: I'm a bibliophile. I read so voraciously, my parents once banned me from the purchase of new books. As such, much of my infatuation with Zero Summer is linked with the fact the writing is absolutely superb. There's a lot to pour over: clever turns of phrase to relish and a vivid world to explore. Nothing is ever explained outright. You're left to grasp at straws, to piece together what the Harvestmen might or be or whether those were bats in the sky or demons. In spite of the environment, Zero Summer is a slow burner. To put it into perspective, your first two hours of the game most likely will be spent carefully articulating the bones of your cowboy's personality. It's thorough. It's Wild (West).

Anyway, go check out Zero Summer already. I hate to cut this short, but there are anachronistic pin ball machines to visit. (More on that next week!) Have some baked beans and a hot cup of coffee with this one. Also, if you have such a thing lying around, throw a cowboy hat on as well. Till next time, pilgrim.

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