Edible Vomit

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Closer Look: Edible Vomit

By: Dr. Dos
Published: April 30, 2017

D.A.R.E. to dream as Freddy the ferret trips out on his search for the perfect drug

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Past the rabbit is a non-mushroom building. The landscape in this area is a bit different from what's been seen so far with the introduction of some greenish water to with the blue ground.


Inside the house itself is a flickering fireplace made using blinking colors to flash between yellow and dark red, and a lone occupant to speak with.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
cripes, man. what happened to *you*?

Old man
aye..im blind...

really. how'd it happen?

Old man
...the Wishing Well. in the Karma Kaves..
i was trapped, and the well promised me no
exit, lest i offer my left eye. and i did,

owie. why the hell did you go down into
those krazy kaves man?

Old man
the fortunes! ohh, fortunes unimaginable!
*sigh* 'twas a fool, i was. in my old age
wandered i foolishly, and was confronted
by a bunch of savage weezils. i backed
myself into a corner and stumbled upon
the Wishing Well, who then proceeded to
ask for my eye in return for a safe exit.
the most stupid move ive made yet, i.

...what's your name, man?

I'm Horus.

...great fortunes, eh? shit man, i think i
just may wander down there.

no! dont do it, i implore you!

you dont understand, man. this is drug
money. i search the perfect drug and i
need to pay for it.

...drugs arent the way. there comes much
greater a high than material things.


karma. instant karma. nirvana is far
greater a pleasure than drugs. drugs come
and go. eternity is forever. follow your
conscience, young ferret, and karma will
lead the way.

shit man, you're full of it. your karma
be damned, i need me some white lines or

...look. i pursued monetary fortune, and
now i sit here, cold and blind. i may as
well have sewed mine eyes shut from whence
i was but a child but lived a clean mind.


but convince you otherwise can i not,
young one. follow your own path. just take
heed my words and look at me. im blind.
i am in hell. help me.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Horus ventured into the Karma Kaves in search of fortune, but his greed cost him his left eye. I don't know why losing just one eye would make him blind, but blind he is. Freddy pays no heed to his warning and figures it would be a good place to search for his own fortune of the perfect drug. Horus does his best to warn Freddy that whatever he may find in the caves won't be worth it, but the ferret doesn't care.


Sure enough, just south of Horus's home is the entrance to the Karma Kaves, Freddy's next objective. There's even a sign for them placed just outside the cave's mouth which is made up of black passages for the player to venture into.


The Karma Kaves are straightforward, and honestly don't look all that different from the scenery on the surface world. The right path is blocked off by a huge boulder that Freddy can't make his way past. It may seem like a temporary roadblock, but it's a permanent one with nothing beyond it.


A smaller rock blocks the other exit, but is still light enough for Freddy to move it out of his way and venture deeper inside the caves.


The next screen is a bit difficult to figure out. To me it looks like a large body of water dotted with tiny islands with trees on them, but the water is made of fake walls and can be walked on so I'm not really sure what the floor texture changing is supposed to mean.

Of course, before the player can figure any of this out, they'll need to talk with one of the Weezils Horus warned Freddy about.

Willy the Weezil
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Willy the Weezil
what's your beef, punk ? get out of my way
im busy being an asshole.

so i see.

Willy the Weezil

dude, you wouldn't happen to be a ravenous
weezil Horus speaked of?

Willy the Weezil
ehh? who?

the blind man, man.

Willy the Weezil
there are many a blind man. pick a number.


Willy the Weezil
leave me be.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Remnants in the code make it sound like there was something more that was intended here. Willy constantly loops checking for a flag called "mov" to be set before jumping to a "move" label. There is no move label in the code so whatever puzzle was meant to be here seems to have been scrapped with Willy placed somewhere safely out of the player's path.

Talking to Willy a second time brings up some questions Freddy can ask.

Willy the Weezil
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
what could you tell me about...

Karma Kaves?

the wishing well?


the perfect drug?

Willy the Weezil
great $$$ lie God-knows-where in these
caves. the job is mine to maul anyone
searching for the treasure.

who made you guard the treasure man?

Willy the Weezil
*me*. dozens of adventurers foolishly
stumble upon this cave for treasure, see.
what better way to feed a starving weezil
than feasting on an unsuspecting buff-
assed adventurer?

...says the blind man to the deaf woman.

Willy the Weezil
Right-o. now you aren't searching for the
treasure, are you?

i cannot tell a lie. but i shall anyway.

Willy the Weezil
aww, hell. i just had a fucking prime rib.
im too lazy to eat you now, see. but feel
more than welcome to return in an hour or
so. >chuckle, snigger, etc.<

Willy the Weezil
ahh, yes. the wishing well. it's to the
southeast of here. it is said the great
treasure lies ahead of the wishing well,
but the well asks of one's left eye to
proceed. of course, a man blind cannot
find a treasure worth shit, see?

surely. *COOOUUGH*

Willy the Weezil
us weezils are much pacifistic creatures
in nature, really. but recently weezils
have been becoming endangered species due
to starvation...fortunately, myself and my
pak came across this cave of wonders, and
living creatures seem far more nourishing
than vegitarianism. so now you know.

Willy the Weezil
there is no perfect drug.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Any danger posed by the weezil originally is gone, and the player can just walk on by without issue. Willy gives the player a bit of backstory as to why he's eating anybody after the treasure and restates what Horus said about how losing an eye for the treasure won't do any good. He's also certain that there is no perfect drug, and thus no happy ending in store for Freddy.


Up ahead is a small farmhouse with a tiny pasture attached. Some animals wander around at random inside.


The gate can be opened, and some cows may stagger out into the rest of the caves, but there's no consequences for setting them free or keeping them penned in.


There's also this guy in the corner who can only be accessed if you exit the previous board from a specific point.


It's Master Bates! Like the cows, he's just there.


Entering into the farmhouse cuts to an interior shot. The exterior colors become more muted which is a nice touch. Here the chimney smoke is animated, but the fire is still. Oddly enough the fire is actually made of fakes so the player can step into it freely.


There are some drawers Freddy can dig through. The first contains socks. The second, silverware.


Of the three, only the spork can actually be taken.


The only other point of interest is one of the bowls on the table.


There seems to be more cut content here. These symbols are never mentioned again, and examining the bowl sends a command to every object on the board to jump to the label "whest", but not a single object on the board has such a label so nothing happens.


The last portion of the Karma Kaves is east of the farmhouse where the wishing well Horus spoke of can be found.


Freddy is presented with the same offer Horus took, give up his left eye and receive the treasure. He takes it. It blinds him, and the game ends as the board erases itself leaving Freddy in darkness forever.

(He has a second eye! Why is he blind?!)


Okay, that's not how Edible Vomit actually ends. It's just another puzzle. After backtracking to the cyan door outside the temple of love...


The cyan door is as brought up earlier, a giant eyeball. Except this time Freddy has a spork.


No positive reinforcement for this random act of violence.


But Freddy does get an extra eyeball, and I think you can see where this is going.


Yep. Also you can see a bug with scroll rendering here where text overflows the borders of the scroll when a line is made too long due to the indenting of the hyperlink.


No drugs here, just a rope. Not exactly worth losing an eye over.


After lots more backtracking to and through the temple of love, along with another vine climb, Freddy's back on the roof.


The very long rope can be used to create a makeshift bridge between the temple and the Burr-Lynn wall.


Freddy breaks on through to the other side and climbs his way down the wall.


Freddy's made it to Angel. Jimmy the Rat must be close, and then Freddy can finally get himself the perfect drug, but first there's somebody to talk to...

crying child
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
dear God, here sits the young child you
stole that marijuana from. he looks at you
innocently, blinking to hold back his

...why are you here man?

...you took away my drugs. you took away
my everything. my drugs were my everything
to me.

come now, man. drugs arent everything.

...then why do you search so intently for
the perfect drug ?

wow, you think. this boy really struck a
deep cord in you. *are* drugs everything
they're cracked (no pun intended) up to

i...i dont know. but trust me in saying,
dude, that there's far more in life than
drugs. i have more in life than just

like what?

...nothing. alright, nothing. my life is
driven by addictive, over-priced pleasure
things. but im old and stupid. you still
have hope.

>says nothing, only cries<

what can i do to make you feel better kid?

>sniff< find me something to get off these
misery things.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Feeling remorseful for his actions, Freddy decides to do something for the kid. He has a bit of a moment himself as well where he begins to question exactly what he's been doing and if it's the way he wants to live his own life.


Freddy then climbs up into the background and grabs the m00n right out of the sky. Welp.


The m00n is obviously the key to opening up the locked door from the very first board of the game proper. Once again Draco plays with the lighting when venturing into an interior here.

The building is almost completely empty except for a single hole in the wall.


Freddy, having taken the m00n from the night sky, proceeds to snort up a teddy bear via the straw he took earlier.


On my way back to Angel, I accidentally took the stairs instead of the vine up the temple of love and found the child still standing where Freddie took his joint. But that's non-canon.


In Angel, Freddy delivers the bear, but it's too late. Consumed by his addictions the child wastes away to nothing. His last request, for Freddy to give up drugs and save himself before he too suffers the same fate.


Beyond the child lies the end of Freddy's search. Surrounded by oversized mushrooms is a gigantic scorpion.


At the last moment Freddy has a change of heart. He's seen too much lost to drugs to keep using them himself. Maybe he won't make it without them, but he knows for sure that he won't make it with them.


The credits from the main menu are repeated in scroll form.


And the game ends with a plug for a sequel.

There never was a sequel. There was a... remix? Less than two months after Edible Vomit's release, Draco published Inedible Vomit. The game is essentially identical with a few minor changes. For one, the graphics are simplified, and purposely made uglier. The cool blue and cyan colors throughout Edible Vomit replaced with solid greens and browns. It's messier, deliberately so. The game also starts with a #endgame command to kill the player before giving them health to bring them back. This puts ZZT in its game over state which runs much faster than its regular speed.

There are other little changes throughout, object characters, the child being a girl rather than a boy, nothing major. Well, nothing major until the ending.

i am an exit
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i...i came to find the perfect drug.

Jimmy the Rat
ahh! i can supply you with the absolute

but no.

Jimmy the Rat
the emptiness inside of you is devouring
you. you reminisce of Horus...who lost his
left eye and his dignity in search for
earthly pleasures.

...of that poor youth who lost his not yet
fully-developed life, who will now never
experience the wonders of life...

...of Skankk, who lives in poverty in a
mushroom because of spending his every
cent on drugs...

...of Stinky the Rat, who's surely dead at
this point, all because of his constant
dosages of heroin...

...of you, who's wasted away his life thus
far for disposable fun. can you really
afford taking another hit? can you truly
afford to turn out like stinky, skankk,
the little boy, and all junkies out there?

perhaps the wishing well worked. maybe
your greatest fortune is being clean for
once. perhaps you've realized a gift many
were too stoned to notice. maybe this is
your calling.

but you are a coward. your addiction comes
over you.

yes. nevermind, man. give me the best shit
you've got. heroin, buddy. pure heroin.
mind if i shoot up here?

Jimmy the Rat
be my guest, friend.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
¦¦¦¦ c'est la vie ¦¦¦¦
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
and so it ends. horus, the little girl...
so they fuckin' payed for their addictions
and shitnaught. but not you. you're sittin
pretty on your furry little ferret ass,
shooting up on anything injectible. the
good life, indeed. but does it matter?
you're happy. your happiness is all that
matters. life is good and good to you.

you kick back and pull out your needle.
today is a coke day, indeed...everyone
loves coke...life is good.

¦¦¦¦ credits

ashe eldritch

happiness. yes...all that matters

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Inedible Vomit takes a darker path for Freddy. One where he succumbs to his own addictions. Given Draco's ultimate fate, it's hard to say which world has a more depressing ending.

Final Thoughts

Draco created something special with Edible Vomit. It's certainly isn't some after-school special about the dangers of drugs. For nearly all of the game Freddy just wants more drugs, and the player has no particular reason to not want to help him fulfill his goal. It's tonal shift happens gradually, with each character introduced portraying drugs more and more harshly. Skaank is completely on board with Freddy's quest. Stinky is happy with drugs, but clearly going to die from them, and soon. Horus gave up his sight for his greed, and warns Freddy how his quest isn't worth it. The child gets caught up in his own addiction and dies from it, with Freddy's thievery as a catalyst.

It never feels preachy. Freddy's change of heart may be a bit sudden, and Draco's ideas of how to overcome substance abuse are pretty simplistic (I don't think Freddy has a very good support network here), but they come from the heart in a way that doesn't feel like there's any judgment towards those who began to use drugs. Edible Vomit is an introspection on hard drug use rather than a public service announcement. It feels natural. Jimmy may be a giant scorpion, but there's no scary monster trying to convince Freddy that drugs are good. The antagonist here isn't a strawman. Rather, it's Freddy's own habits that could lead him to his own demise, not anyone else's. There's agency here which makes the game feel sincere.

The game had a strong impact on the community. Like Tucan and Clysm's work before Draco's, the aesthetics of Edible Vomit became well established visuals for other games which gave themselves the trippy label. It would frequently show up in listings of ZZTers' favorite worlds.

Draco himself and his drug habits were iconic as well. He was definitely considered the community's resident stoner, likely the first ZZTer of many to become associated with the recreational usage of drugs. The ZZTer IRC channels were full of other experimenting teens venturing into a world of marijuana, DXM, LSD, shrooms, and salvia throughout the early 2000s.

Give Edible Vomit a try. It's a pleasant trip.

The Closer Looks series is a part of the Worlds of ZZT project, committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.
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