There are certain moments in video games that fill me with existential dread.
For a long time, I have been half-convinced that our own existence is a sham, and we simply exist as hyper-complicated NPCs in some greater videogame that our tiny brains are unable to comprehend. As such, I find myself sometimes feeling an inordinate amount of empathy for video game NPCs. Their existence must be one of quiet desperation, endlessly enslaved to the script that dictates their life. Some NPCs walk in circles around town all day. Some stand guard endlessly outside forts, waiting patiently for the player to come and slaughter them. And some stand stock still, violently vomiting into a puddle every 9 seconds.
I've been casually playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey on Stadia for almost a year now. In between reviews, or whenever I can't think of what else I want to play, I dip back into the shoes of Cassandra and wander around ancient Greece delivering papyrus for poets and murdering errant neighbors for villagers.
Last night, I hopped back into Odyssey for a couple of hours after a few weeks away. I found myself on a mission to find Hippokrates, the legendary healer. After hunting about for a bit (and inexplicably being attacked by like seven lions in a row), I found Hippokrates at a clinic on the top of a small mountain. He was surrounded by sick people, who had come from all over Greece for a chance to be treated.
In the never-moving line outside of Hippokrates' medical hut, there was a small group of obviously very ill people, coughing and hacking. Among these folks was a woman in a red dress, who was projectile vomiting into a large puddle of bile. Fascinated, I stood watching her.
She stopped vomiting and stood up, looking around impatiently. Then, about 7 seconds later, she started looking decidedly queasy again. Two seconds later she was vomiting into the puddle again. It became clear that the entire puddle was the result of her endless spewing.
I left to talk to Hippokrates (who was utterly unhelpful, a demanded that I run and fetch some notes that were stolen from his clinic. Finishing up, I circled back around to find that, yep, the woman was still vomiting in the puddle.