At exposition on the ubiquitous exploding barrel. They have been in many fps games since doom.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many barrels of explosive sludge just laying around military installations and alien locations in the doom realm? The very first doom map, hanger has a few...then later a map called "barrels".

Think about this - in the real world stuff like that is usually heavily regulated and stored under very secure conditions for the most part. No one has ever really tried to explain this until the concerned comic - Concerned #21. Hey, it makes sense.

Quake cut back on the barrel, which was good as they took on the form of exploding boxes. Not quite as aesthetic. Quake 2 has some...Quake 3, sadly they got left out. They do return in Doom 3. Half Life is so so, but as shown in Concerned, Half Life 2 seems to have fallen in love with the exploding barrel again. They are all over the place.

What does the exploding barrel represent? Think about what happens - you shoot one (or even throw them in hl2) and boom! - a bit nasty. A container for something nasty that disappears in a flash. Sort of like our consumerism based capitalist society.

Everything (almost) these days comes in nasty little plastic containers. Once the item is used or consumed the nasty little container is gone. In a flash as it were. Does anyone even consider all the fossil fuel byproduct used to make all that plastic? Just like the exploding barrel that damages your health in the blast radius, those plastic bits of temporary container stick around to have an effect. Non bio-degradable for the most part they are put somewhere and damage our world.

The Egyptians left the mysterious pyramids as a testament to their civilization. We are going to leave mountains of trash forever molding away for future archaeologists to ponder over.

Perhaps, we - humanity, are the exploding barrel...a temporary container for something nasty that is gone in a flash...

Barrels of doom

Click this for full size image


Barrels of doom
This screen is taken from the chaos mod (which supports doom ents) version of Hangar quake 1 mix. NOTE: the map linked here has quake ents only and thus only has explode boxes.