There is a stereotype of gamers that we like Mountain Dew. You may have recently been enjoying Halo 4 while drinking some Mountain Dew in the hopes of getting the double experience it offers for your multiplayer character. Part of it could be that Pepsi has latched onto gamers through ad campaigns pushing Mountain Dew as the gamers choice for hardcore gaming. But I think there is some truth in the idea that gamers actually like Mountain Dew. I know because I am a core gamer, but I’m also probably addicted to Mountain Dew.
As I write this and most other content that shows up on TBGSE I drink lots of Mountain Dew. Right now my glass is empty and I’m contemplating going to get more from the fridge in my living room that only holds two things, Mountain Dew and a wide variety of beer. That’s right, I have a fridge in my living room full of Mountain Dew and beer. Sorry ladies, I’m taken. How I’ve been able to keep my fridge in the living room through the years I’ve lived with my marital partner has actually kind of amazed me. We’ve never seriously fought about it. It may have to do with the fact that until recently we’ve not had nice furniture, so a mini-fridge made just as much sense as an old chair and a broken couch.
Seeing Master Chief on my Mountain Dew this fall came as no surprise since the gaming/Mountain Dew pairing started with Halo 3 in 2007 when Pepsi released their first Mountain Dew Game Fuel. The Game Fuel bottle prominently displayed Master Chief and inside the bottle was a strange overly-sweet, orange liquid that tasted like melted gummy worms. It was disgusting. One of the main reasons it tasted so bad was that one of the main ingredients in Mountain Dew was missing, orange juice. Most of the popular flavors of Mountain Dew are actually made with orange juice and it’s probably the reason I like Mountain Dew so much. I drink orange juice for breakfast and in the evenings. It goes great with so many other things like vodka, rum and gin.
In 2009, Pepsi worked with Blizzard to promote World of Warcraft with another version of Game Fuel which tasted equally bad for the same reasons. They actually released two WoW Game Fuel bottles, but one was just the original orange Game Fuel from 2007 with a different label on it. The other blue one tasted like a failed attempt at Pepsi Blue. Apparently they believed that gamers don’t care about flavor, they only care about caffeine, sugar and bottle-art.
Last year they invented a third, horribly bad flavor when they released their promotion with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I was all over this one since there were codes that gave you double experience for periods of time that were on all of the flavors of Mountain Dew and not just the disgusting game-fuel flavors. When the promotional codes finally expired I had hours of double experience that went unredeemed since there was some kind of limit imposed on how much I could use in a week.
One of the reasons that Mountain Dew is associated with gaming actually began before Pepsi started chasing publishers around. In the 80s and 90s Pepsi started trying to market Mountain Dew to teenagers by associating the beverage with extreme sports like skateboarding and rollerblading. For those of us that remember the 80s and early 90s, this kind of makes sense, because skateboarding was considered incredibly cool and it frequently ended up appearing in kids’ shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Skateboarding and rollerblading was predominantly done by young men or teenage boys, so the marketing campaign was much more effective at appealing to boys.
Boys from the late 80s and early 90s may not have been skateboarding, but they were definitely playing video games. Schoolyard fights would erupt over a disagreement between Nintendo and Sega in this time period. I know because I once was involved in a brawl over my reluctance to declare Sonic a far superior game protagonist compared to Mario. In a bit of irony, after the fight began I punched the kid in the face and when he collapsed on the ground I emulated Mario and jumped on him, then yelled that he should have run like his hero Sonic. I actually liked Sonic. I just liked Mario better.
When that generation of boys were in their late teens they were the same ones who were driving the video game market. When they were in their twenties they became the Halo players and the WoW addicts and pushing Mountain Dew onto these guys was incredibly easy, considering they had been drinking the beverage all along, now they were only being rewarded for drinking more of it. This goes back to the idea that the gaming demographic are guys in their late twenties and early thirties. Kids in their late teens are drinking much more sugary and caffeinated energy drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar.
So if you’re saving the universe from intergalactic evil over the next few days while drinking Mountain Dew, try not to spill it on your nice furniture. The Code Red can stain pretty bad and if you spill it, you should immediately freak out. If you’re playing with teammates when this happens, going AFK while you clean up the stain is totally worth a loss. Just hope that your friends are understanding enough to know that you cost them victory while you were saving your couch. If you spill one of the Game Fuels on your furniture then don’t worry. Anybody who actually drinks that stuff can’t own nice furniture as you have no sense of taste.
Dan Hoyt has been an avid gamer his entire life. When he’s not playing games, he’s working out by walking his dog, hiking and doing martial arts. He likes to try new kinds of alcohol and discuss politics. He’s a graduate of The University of Kansas and has spent years as a journalist.