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Fire extinguishers are an important safety implement, posted as required in areas where flammable materials are placed or a fire is likely to take hold - such as offices, workshops, public places, chemical laboratories, etc.
In older generations of games, fire extinguishers were either left out as extraneous detail, or drawn in as non-interactive props.
The most famous counter-example is Duke Nukem 3D, where fire extinguishers were interactive and purposeful, playing the role of explosive barrels.
This demonstrates one of the two primary attributes of fire extinguishers: They are highly pressurized, and the materials inside, while heavily fire-retardant, are also usually toxic (with the exception of water-based fire extinguishers).
Variants in games
Most modern games do tend to feature fire extinguishers in areas that would ordinarily have them, and their function is divided into one of three major categories:
- Non-interactive or interactive ("physics object") prop for detail purposes
- An "exploding barrel" substitute that may either cause a damaging explosion, a cloud of vision-blocking fog, or both
- An item/miscellaneous piece of equipment the player can equip and use to remove fires. Often, a fire extinguisher is used a "key" to open areas blocked by an otherwise undying flame, serving as a "gate", blocking progression.
- Used as an improvised weapon, some emergent gameplay games allow to use fire extinguisher not only to remove flames but also to blind opponents, create a fog everywhere we want and also used as a blunt weapon.