Confession: I think I take more notice of vending machines than normal human beings. I particularly love seeing vending machines in places where they Do Not Belong.
This might be a hold-over from my years of janitorial service, which gave me access to all kinds of secret corridors and tunnels that often terminated with a vending machine – usually a boxy hold-over from the '70s that'd been banished belowground for staff use while newer, flashier machines lived topside.
So when I found out about the Video Game Soda Machine Project, I spent quite a bit of time poring (yooo) over its contents. The blog's proprietor, Jess "Decaffeinated Jedi" Morrissette, painstakingly chronicles the appearance of the silent, patient machine that sling water, soda, and juice to thirsty video game protags across every genre and every game platform.
From the pop machines you kick the bejesus out of in Mega Man Legends to the grimy sentinels that dispense bottles of Dr Breen's Private Reserve in Half-Life 2 (don't drink it, they put something in the water to make you forget), every machine is memorialized and saluted.
Shout-out to the pop machine in The Wolf Among Us, which earns a critical stare from Bigby and a remark about how "That shit'll kill you" before he takes a huge drag off his cigarette.