Circus of Values is the name given to the general vending machines found throughout Rapture. The machines contain many items, ranging from food to ammunition. Hacking a vending machine lowers the prices and sometimes provides items that are not otherwise available. Circus of Values machines often have an El Ammo Bandito machine or Gatherer's Garden nearby.
The President of the Circus of Values franchise was Lloyd Webster. Previously, these vending machines likely sold more appropriate items for the public until the Civil War hit Rapture. Then, the inclusion of ammunition and healing materials would make them very convenient. They were heavily reinforced and armored, purposely making them highly resistant to damage and pilfering. This is noted as the player can only hack these machines to lower the price and not crack it open by any means, although a number of broken machines are seen in various locations throughout the city.
- Main article: BioShock Items
Prices are random and sometimes outrageous (For example: in Fort Frolic, the price of a single Creme-Filled Cake goes over $200), but most of the time they are reasonable, though they seem to go up on later levels. The prices of all items can be lowered through the Gene Tonic Vending Expert. Not all items are carried in all machines. Later in the game the selection tends to be focused on different kinds of ammunition and less often will food items be available, if they are available at all. Standard in nearly all machines are First Aid Kits.
The following is a list of typical prices:
- Chechnya Vodka: $10
- Electric Buck: $72 for 6
- EVE Hypo: $25
- First Aid Kit: $20
- Pistol Rounds: $25 for 6
- Main article: BioShock 2 Items
Circus of Values vending machines return in BioShock 2, but appear corroded in rust and water damage. The dollar symbol below the coin slot has been replaced with an embossed letter 'A'. They also no longer make sound effects and can run out of items.
The Circus of Values Vending Machine offers a variety of items for sale, often including ammunition, first aid kits and EVE hypos. Each machine will offer a different selection of items.
BioShock 2 Multiplayer
- Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer
The Circus of Values vending machines appear in the multiplayer, with several drastic changes. First of all, there is no longer an interface or a need for payment. After a short delay, the Circus of Values will respawn vials of EVE and ammunition in its chute. These completely refill the player's EVE and ammunition when collected. Circus of Values also have a light at the top right corner indicating their status:
- Blue Light: A blue light indicates that the Circus of Values has been hacked by the player or a member of their team.
- Yellow/White Light: A yellow/white light indicates that the Circus of Values hasn't been hacked, and will recharge anybody's resources instantly.
- Red Light: A red light indicates that the Circus of Values has been hacked by an enemy, and should the player attempt to use it is will drop a small bomb. If the player is standing directly against the machine, the bomb will go off instantly and kill them.
It is possible to set traps by hacking Circus of Values vending machines, and successfully doing so will make it damage, if not kill, the next enemy who tries to use it. After that, it reverts to normal until hacked again.
Burial at Sea - Episode 1
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1
The Circus of Values vending machines return in Burial at Sea - Episode 1, where the metal on the machines has a more golden glow than in previous installments, but they are still stained. The variety of products purchasable has been reduced, every machine has the same items and ammunition for a weapon will only be unlocked in the machines once the weapon has been acquired. The machines first appear in Fontaine's Department Store, where one can be found in almost every major area. Using Possession on a machine will not reduce the price of the products, but the machines will spew out a small cash reward.
Prices are the following:
- Health Kit: $36 for 80%
- Health Kit: $14 for 20%
- EVE: $67 for 100%
- EVE: $19 for 25%
- Hand Cannon Ammo: $8 for 6
- Machine Gun Ammo: $8 for 35
- Shotgun Ammo: $8 for 4
- Carbine Ammo: $8 for 8
- Radar Range Ammo: $8 for 300
Burial at Sea - Episode 2
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2
The Circus of Values make an appearance once again in Burial at Sea - Episode 2, with the same function as in Episode 1. The vending machines contain a cathode tube which Elizabeth needs to fix the broken Lutece Device in the Silver Fin Restaurant.
Prices are the following:
- Health Kit: $25
- Sandwich: $2
- EVE: $20 for 100%
- Cigarettes: $3
- Hand Cannon Ammo: $9 for 3
- Shotgun Ammo: $12 for 2
- Crossbow Tranquilizer Ammo: $15
- Lockpick: $18
- When a player enters an ongoing match in BioShock 2 Multiplayer, the light showing if the vending machine is hacked might glow white in the beginning/rest of the match (instead of blue or red) when hacked.
Behind the Scenes
- The Circus of Values machines all feature a recorded voice of a laughing clown, voiced by BioShock creative director Ken Levine, who also voices Martin Finnegan, saying "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa! Kill your cravings at the Circus of Values!" If the player doesn't have enough money to make a purchase or if they are already at their limit for the item purchased, it will say the following line: "Come back when you get some money, buddy!". If exiting the purchase menu without purchasing, it will say the following line: "Hey! I've got a family to feed!".
- 2K-Marin Audio Lead Michael Kamper revealed that the reason the Circus of Values machines doesn't have any sound effects is due to a mistake caused just before the game was shipped. It is, however, fixed in The Protector Trials and Minerva's Den.
- This was fixed for the main game in BioShock: The Collection.
- There is one vending machine near the Core in Hephaestus that will drop an active frag grenade should the player attempt to use it because a Houdini Splicer tampered with the mechanics. Hacking is unavailable on this machine. A corpse holding an Automatic Hack Tool is found near this machine, implying that the Splicer may have been angry about the vending machines being hacked. For coding purposes, the grenade dropped by the machine is considered to be dropped by a Nitro Splicer, thus it is affected by research done on other Nitro Splicers.
- Though the vending machines don't have any connections to vents of any kind, they never seem to run out of items when the player uses them (as some Splicers can be heard complaining the vending machines won't work). The vending machines in BioShock 2, however, do run out of some items such as EVE Hypos, First Aid Kits and rare ammunition types.
- The vending machines in BioShock 2 Multiplayer are slightly smaller than the ones in BioShock, where the vending machines nearly towered over Splicers and the player.
- The Columbia counterpart of this vending machine is the Dollar Bill.
- In BioShock 2 Multiplayer, a vending machine's dialogue will not be distorted until it has been hacked, after initial tampering it will continue to play distressed voice cues for the rest of the match even after it has activated or counter-hacked.
- The iconic clown of the Circus of Values is a repurposed, slightly altered image from a fruit crate label for Jo Jo Brand melons.
- Concept art for the Circus of Values shows the design was originally based on a Waldorf Brand Apples label with a bellboy. This was later used for First Class Brand.