Friday, November 20, 2009

Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel

That can looks very small for some reason.

Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel

It's hard to improve on Mountain Dew. The stuff is heaven, sweet and bitey with a caffeine zing that few other sodas manage. It rocks. The long parade of non-Mountain Dew flavored Mountain Dews was nothing but a string of failures, beginning with "Red Alert" or whatever it was up to present.

"Gamer Fuel" might be an exception, however.

I laughed when I first clapped eyes onto a can of Gamer Fuel. It's a ludicrous cross promotion, almost offensive in its stereotyping - Gamer Fuel pairs Mountain Dew up with World of Warcraft. There's a somewhat angry looking orc on the can front, looking like a cranky, green Down's Syndrome child dressed up by an older brother with a Tolkien fetish. Or a Warhammer fetish, actually. I was sort of surprised how much Warcraft bit off of Warhammer, especially with the tremenous shoulder pads. Orcs armor up like it's the 80s.

There is a long standing problem with orcs: They are either
faceless mooks getting endlessly mowed down by
Dungeons and Dragons characters, or they are over
the top cartoon bad-asses like this here. My favorite orcs
are the Rankin and Bass guys from Return of the King,
truly horrific. The live action remake orcs were
kind of lame, suffering from the "guys in masks" problem.

As long as I'm picking on the can art orc, I'll draw attention to his ludicrous neck chain. It's a large linked, metal chain, and it sits on the orc in an incredibly unrealistic fashion. It's not so much that the bad-ass orc has draped a metal chain around his neck but rather that he took one of those redneck welded-metal-chain-steering-wheels and hung it over his head. It's hilariously poorly done, floating.

The chain is also confusing. It looks like it starts as a link of earring and connects to one of the awful Bloodbowlesque shoulder pads. The whole illustration is full of little awkward bits where lines fall into visual holes, looking like things they are not. The big goofy spike earring in the orcs left ear looks like it folds down over his left shoulder, blah blah blah.

Which leads me to my next point: Warcraft characters sure are vain. Look at this orc, looks like a tough character, eh? He's wearing at least six earrings, a necklace, a metal band to hold his purple dyed topknot in place, a nose ring, a TOOTH piercing, and that snappy necklace. Maybe the nose ring and the chain around the neck are practical tools used to enforce his servitude by his evil orcy masters, but the rest is just fancy pants and battle scars.

I bet he gets his fashions out of "Pretty Orc Monthly".

At least when a sailor wore a gold hoop earring it had a purpose, to pay for his burial if his body washed up on some foreign shore. The orc "bling" is just... visual busyness. An attempt to lend personality and authenticity through a glut of meaningless details.

Bonus: This orc is about fifteen feet wide. The layout people cut the orcs left arm off and moved it to the other side of the Mtn Dew logo, tripling the orcs size. Hilariously awful. I only wish this could come through on the photos.

Okay, okay, enough about the Bloodbowl wannabee orc. Yeah yeah yeah, it's silly, it's indicative of the kid-ification of games like this, it's a knock-off of Warhammer stuff which suffers from the same cartoon affliction. The rest of the can art is pretty neat, black and red is a kick-ass color palette. The black bands at the top and bottom ends of the can are edged in gold fancy work, and the metal parts of the orcy armor are all naked can metal.

All in all, it's a serious can, orc doofus aside.

And the drink itself isn't awful, either. Like I said earlier, Mountain Dew has an awful track record with it's flavor additives. They all taste cheap and chemically, totally dissipating the carefully cultivated air of class which Mountain Dew has spent generations acquiring. This stuff isn't as bad as the other Mountain Dew mutants, I mostly blame that on their choosing to go with "citrus cherry" instead of "double dingle berry" or "triple jungle lingonberry". Simple tastes are the best, and adding cherry to any soda makes it better.

The cherry isn't quite cherry, of course. They had to qualify it by adding "citrus" ahead of the "cherry" on the can itself. It's a little sour, and little mediciney, a little off-putting. It reminds me of nothing so much as these terrible cherry chew candy strips I had been given as a child, they were covered in crystallized sugar and sour stuff. Not very good at all, but those didn't have the blessing of Mountain Dew.

So yeah, I could actually see myself drinking this more than once. Shame they discontinued it. Seriously Mountain Dew people, this is the only non-straight Mountain Dew flavor you people ever got right.

I swilled this stuff down while playing twenty minutes of "Call of Duty: World at War". It's a game I'm not especially good at, but am lucky enough to have friends who are almost all worse at it than me. For this test, I played on-line against against unknown people, and didn't do exceptionally better than my typical game. No super-powered moments, no godlike omniscience and speed. No nuthin'.

Now the embarrassing part:

I didn't drink this stuff because I was anxious to do another review. Nay, I dread writing these reviews now. Rather, I wanted a caffeine dose to keep me awake as I went to a pseudo-rave party thing. Yeah, I'm embarrassed, but I had reasons. I shall enumerate them:

1. The party had a theme close to my heart, the Galapagos Islands, Darwin and the HMS Beagle. The title of the party was "Stranded", which also had a touch of nice to it. There was an interesting list of events, including some artsy stuff which I was interested in seeing. I also was under the impression that some puppeteers I wanted to see were going to be there, but they weren't. Alas.

2. The party was being held in a part of Brooklyn where I hope to get a work space. Actually, it's not that I want a studio there so much as it's my only possible hope of ever having an art studio. To be an artist nowadays takes a lot of dough, something which I ain't got, fat Google advertising checks aside. It turns out that the event was held in a building run by a somewhat overpriced studio rental company, not in their studios but on a floor below. I'll admit that not much was learned.

3. I was curious.

So I went and the event was a raging bore, a failure on all three counts. Of course, everyone else seemed to be having a good time, so I'm pretty sure the fault was mine. I hate people who have fun.