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Food, both in edible and drinkable forms, plays several roles in the Half-Life and Portal universe. They can either play an aesthetic role, giving more depth to the universe, or be of use to the player. They sometimes have a specific brand.
Half-Life story arc
- The Black Mesa Research Facility features numerous vending machines, selling sodas or snacks, using fictional brand names.
- A fast food outlet is visible along the Area 8 Topside Dormitories tram ride through the East Personnel Entrance. It sells tacos, pizzas and other meals.
- The Anomalous Materials facility features a small cafeteria with a microwave oven in which the player can ruin the meal, revealed later to have been a casserole belonging to Arne Magnusson.
- Sector D features a cafeteria in the Administration Offices. Early in the game's development, the humorous idea of a food fight was proposed to occur in the there, idea eventually rejected. The cafeteria has a large walk-in freezer which stores a number of hanging slabs of beef.
- The Level 3 Dormitories also feature a cafeteria.
- Coffee is commonly drunk by Black Mesa employees. Coffee machines are seen several times in food courts, and scientist sometimes ask if someone has seen their coffee cup.
- Beer is also drunk by personnel, as security guards sometimes promise a beer to Freeman if they meet again, retconned as said by Barney Calhoun only.
- Some security guards are fond of donuts, which is sometimes mocked by scientists. In the shooting range of the Area 3 Medium Security Facilities, a security guard is humorously seen holding a donut with his right hand, while trying to get his gun with the left hand, instead of simply putting the donut in the left hand, and grabbing his gun with the right hand.
- While Xen's Healing Pools restore the player's health by simply standing in it, Bullsquids are seen drinking in them.
- Xen creatures such as the Bullsquid and the Barnacle, are seen feeding on humans.
- When a Pit Drone dies near another and there are no enemy nearby, the creature will show to resort to cannibalism, and briefly eat at the other creature's corpse.
Unused (and slightly broken) pizza box model meant for a cut mission.
Coffee machines in the Administration Center.
The large walk-in freezer in Sector D.
Cafeteria in Level 3 Dormitories.
Half-Life 2 story arc
- Food plays a pivotal role in the control of humanity by the Combine:
- Water affects the memory of Citizens, as said by a Citizen in the City 17 Trainstation at the start of Half-Life 2: "Don't drink the water. They put something in it to make you forget. I don't even remember how I got here." However, it is possible that the Citizen is delusional, mentally ill, or otherwise mistaken, as there is no confirmation that the water has any psychological effects.
- Xen creatures are also shown to be edible: A Fast Headcrab is roasting in the All-Knowing Vortigaunt cave, and Vortigaunts are seen preparing a Classic Headcrab at Black Mesa East.
- Several fruits and vegetables are seen or mentioned throughout the games. Watermelons are seen prominently, and can be torn apart by the Gravity Gun; they also seem to be the diet of Lamarr as seen on Kleiner's Lab corkboard. The Black Mesa East kitchen also features carrots, red onions, herbs, a bag of beans, some sort of stew / soup. Pumpkins can be found on the Outskirts, and function the same as watermelons.
- Empty food packaging can be seen littered around the streets and canals of City 17.
- The picture of a Metrocop can be seen on a fast food bag.
- The cut Brickbat weapon was to throw several kinds of beer bottles. The cut Molotov Cocktail is also made of beverage bottles.
- Barney Calhoun still owes Gordon a beer.
- During the City 17 uprising, starving Rebels fantasize about food, saying things such as "I could eat a horse, hooves and all." or "Sometimes, I dream about cheese".
- Empty kitchens are found in several houses in City 17 or along the Coast. Nova Prospekt's kitchen and cafeteria are also seen, in block C1.
- As seen in the Victory Mine, Antlion Grubs feed on human remains. The cut Sacktick was to do the same.
- Barnacles are seen feeding on birds.
Portal story arc
- The cake is featured prominently in Portal, as it is promised by GLaDOS to Chell for when she concludes the tests. The quote "The cake is a lie." by Doug Rattmann has become very famous in the popular culture since then. A cake recipe is also frequently seen on monitors.
- The Ratman dens feature several food and drink containers of water, milk and beans.
- In Portal 2, GLaDOS is attached by Wheatley to a potato battery, capable of powering only her consciousness and most basic functions. The potato-based energy is introduced earlier, in the "Bring your Daughter to Work Day" experiments found in the Employee Daycare Center.
- In the second Enrichment Sphere of Test Shaft 09, it is heard in the announcements that before the test Test Subjects were given coffee containing fluorescent calcium so that the staff can track the neuronal activity in their brains.
- Near the end of Test Shaft 09 Cave Johnson goes mad and ends up going on an illogical rant about lemons.
- The Repulsion and Propulsion Gels were originally designed as dietetic substitutes, but eventually were shown to be toxic, pulled from the shelves and turned into testing elements.