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The 9 best vending machines in PC games

Machine, dispense a good list feature

Jingle that pointless metal money over here, little human. You need a place to put all that ridiculous cash, and I know just the thing. Vending machines. They are like regular shops except imagine your Mars bar didn't leave the shop assistant's hand and you had to slap their arm to loosen it free and afterwards they just smiled at you as if nothing was amiss with vacant eyes like two pilot lights and a tin voice like someone speaking through an office intercom which suddenly erupts with high decibel hatred: "WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS OF VALUE".

Here are the 9 best vending machines in PC games. Have a good day.

Mr Scrappy - The Surge 2

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Mr Scrappy is a pink box spitting Terms and Conditions, found early in this sci-fi soulslark. His demeanor is happy and his dialogue is mildly amusing but more importantly, he gives you money for being an obedient lore-scrounger. Let him take a peek at all the audio logs you've found in the game so far and he'll give you handy 'tech scrap' (the level-up monies of the Surgeworld). All he wants, as an additional cost in this exchange, is the indelible and irrevocable right to any and all information about you, which is nothing you haven't already surrendered a hundred times this week, let's be real.

Gold machine - Hitman 3

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The world's best non-Bond carries around a lot of coins. But he has no vending machines to plop them in. There are drinks machines, yes, but they don't let you actually buy anything. Rejoice then that the latest instalment includes a functioning vending machine in the penthouse lobby of an opulent Dubai skyscraper. It dispenses gold. Big gold bars that can only be bought with a stolen credit card or hacked out of the machine en masse. You can fill your pockets with 19 heavy ingots of absurd value and walk around, braining rich people with them from a comfortable distance. Hitman 3 is not violent, it is a catharsis simulator.

Secret doorway - Half-Life 2

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Underground freedom fighter and known glove hobbyist Alyx Vance takes the player to a secret hideout in this venerable shooter. In a nondescript hallway she presses some buttons on a vending machine, revealing that it is in fact a hidden doorway. The code is zero Cokes, four Pepsi, five Fantas and one Vimto.

These gizmos - Shenmue

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No idea what you call this type of vending machine but it must have a name. Twistyhole. Crank-o-matic. The Clunker. In any case, popular ennui 'em up Shenmue lets you spend all your hard-earned cash on these pointless collectible toy dispensers. In Shenmue 1 you can get a toy Sonic, or Alex Kidd, or a little bus. Gashapon! That's what the machine is called. It's a Japanese word, I looked it up. Isn't that incredible? You can just learn new words these days, for free. How about that.

Gatherer's Garden - BioShock

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"My daddy's smarter than Einstein!" yell the faded pink statuettes of this upgrade booth. It is atmospherically rich to hear the vending machines of Rapture yell their attention-grabbing catchphrases and advertising jingles. As if they have gone mad from loneliness in the derelict tunnels of the aquatic city. It is spooky, unsettling and... hang on, annoying. When did it get annoying? The fifteenth time you heard Dollar Bill cracking wise about guarantees being a load of unnecessary paperwork? The sixteenth time you heard the Circus of Value clown-roar about his low, low prices? It is difficult to say. But it was pretty good stuff there at the start. And that pink neon above the Little Sisters is still very fizzy and bright.

Brendan - Cyberpunk 2077

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A soda machine with a knack for therapy. Brendan is one of Cyberpunk's seemingly random run-ins that becomes a multi-part quest all on its own. It's not a big, showy bullet fest like other missions, but a (mostly) quiet series of chats and encounters. Do a simple favour, get a free cola. Listen to a joke, walk away feeling weird that one of the few likeable characters in this game is a literal box filled with iced tea. You know, that type of quest.

Soulstorm brew machines - Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus

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Soulstorm brew is a type of fizzy drink that causes explosive flatulence, inasmuch as it allows one to possess one's own gaseous exhaust and pilot it like a Go-Pro drone to the nearest enemy, where it will explode in a haze of stink and blood. Pressing the button on these machines is satisfying and filled with promise.

Water filtration machine - Subnautica

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This makes the cut for its slurpy noise effect alone. If you need further convincing, this is a wholesale desalination contraption, separating the planet's plentiful salt water into drinkable quenchstuff and handy salt crystals. I know what you're thinking. "I can do this with a pot and a cold plate." Well go on then. Try it. Make me one litre of fresh water every 15 minutes and summon an entire flask from nothing every time while you're at it. This machine solves a complex global problem and uses only four solar panels to do it. If it existed in real life it would save the planet. Put your pan away, for Christ's sake. You're embarrassing yourself.

Unstable vending machines - The Sims 3

These will fall on your sim and your sim will be crushed to death. In The Sims 4, your sim will only be badly bruised, but if the machine falls on them a second time, they will be crushed to death. I think that's very fair.

One Off The List from…

Last month we ate dinner with the 10 most wholesome families in PC games. But one of these clans should be disowned. It's… The Sims.

"I don't think The Sims 4 can stay on the list," says list administrator 'BlankedyBlank' with a suspicious eye. "Perhaps in isolation, Sim families are fine, but by definition – and unlike the other entries on the list – it adds one monster into the mix: you."

So many souls lost to the ladderless pool. So many vending machines broken beyond repair on the bones of plastic-faced humans who speak in baby riddles. It is decided. The Sims get canned. Thank you for your patronage, list goblins. Until next time, keep list-ening.

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