It's a long established stereotype that video gamers, role players and nerds enjoy Mountain Dew to an unhealthy degree. Proof enough comes from Summoner, a game developed by Volition for the PS2, which featured a video in which various characters from the game play Dungeons and Dragons while one particular character whines over Cheetos and Mountain Dew. It's one of the funnier instances of marketing and reality misaligning; Mountain Dew frequently ran commercials with X-treme sports themes, with snowboarders and skaters doing tricks and telling us to "do the dew," while the only people who were actually buying and enjoying Mountain Dew for purposes other than the massive caffeine jolt were guys who lived the exact opposite of an extreme sports lifestyle.
I do not know precisely when it occured, that fateful moment when Mountain Dew became self-aware, but I do know that we felt its effects around September of 2007, upon the release of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360. Myself, RockmanXZ24, Pilgrim, and Waffler proceeded to the local the supermarket, where Waffler purchased a box full of Halo 3 themed Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel cans. We had balked at the thought earlier in the day, and when we actually tried it, balked at the idea that anybody else would actually drink it. Never the less, we consumed every can, albeit over a period of weeks, usually not touching it until several hours into Halo 3 multiplayer or a couple of dungeons deep and a couple of level ups into Phantasy Star Online for Gamecube. It was during one of these marathon gaming sessions that I learned RockmanXZ24 had never drank a Mountain Dew before his introduction to "Gamer Fuel," and this is somebody who owns every Nippon Ichi developed game that has been released in the US (excepting Rhapsody, but we can understand not owning that one).
Amusingly, the marketing had once again failed to match up with reality. By the time that Pepsi co. started making Mountain Dew specifically geared towards nerds, we found out that at least one of us nerds hadn't even bothered to try Mountain Dew before. After that one attempt at fitting the stereotype so carefully researched by the powerful corporate soft-drink entities, I lacked even the slightest wish to drink Mountain Dew ever again. There were a few other flavors that were attached to the label, none of which did anything for me. Apparently the rest of the world felt similarly, since I don't see most of those flavors around anymore, and Gamer Fuel was no exception...
Until last night.
With Waffler, RockmanXZ24, Pilgrim and I all in the same place for the weekend (an unusual enough occurance), Waffler brought something to help us celebrate: bottles of newly re-christened Mtn Dew "Game Fuel," the Horde Red edition. Now featuring a World of Warcraft theme and a title lessened a single letter, Game Fuel is exactly the same as it was two years ago. It touts a "citrus-cherry" flavor that tastes not only artificial but completely awful. Most shockingly, Game Fuel now has two flavors: Horde Red and Alliance Blue, reminding one of the heinous Energy Potions that I complain about so often. I've only tried Horde Red so far, but as I remembered, it's disgustingly sugary and caffeinated to a likely unhealthy degree.
Back when Mountain Dew was the unnoficial drink of nerds, there was certain ironic affection that I couldn't help but have for it. Now that I see orcs and night elves and Master Chief emblazoned all over it, that irony is gone. Now it's just gross. A google search for "Game Fuel" brought me to an online promotion for World of Warcraft, and that just makes me hate that game even more.
Cherry and citrus are two perfectly acceptable artificial flavors that simply shouldn't mix. Soft drinks and video game promotion are the same. Spelling words without vowels is jst pln stpd, and I have a feeling that I'm probably going to try the Alliance Blue Game Fuel tonight, out of some combination of fleeting interest and masochistic glee.