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Vaguely Related Review: Game Fuel Re-Redux

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By Nelson Schneider - 11/19/17 at 01:20 PM CT

I’m pretty sure Mountain Dew Game Fuel flavors come to grocery stores nationwide every year during Autumn, when the big annual Mainstream videogame releases drop, but as I said the last time I tasted and talked about Game Fuel back in 2014, the tie-in titles are so far outside my wheelhouse that relying on any form of in-game advertising or commercials run during televised sporting events is a sure-fire way for me to not know about a new round of custom Mountain Dew flavors.

As so happened last time, I didn’t so much seek-out Game Fuel, but serendipitously came upon it while shopping for Mello Yello at my local Russ’ IGA. The store was running a 4 fridge packs for $10 deal, but they only had 2 packs of MY left… so I filled in the rest of the slots with the two new Mountain Dew Game Fuel flavors.

In 2017, Cherry Citrus is out. Neither Game Fuel flavor is red in any way. Instead, this time around we’ve got yellow Tropical Smash and blue Arctic Burst. Unsurprisingly, Arctic Burst is just a re-tread of 2011’s blue raspberry Elf-affiliated flavor that was just Mountain Dew Voltage in a different-looking can. The yellow Tropical Smash, thankfully, is not just a retread of 2014’s re-canned Country Time Lemonade, but is indeed an entirely new flavor of Dew that tastes like mangos. I like it!

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this year’s run of Game Fuel is that it isn’t pushing the games we’ve come to expect from Pepsi’s antediluvian marketing department. That is to say, Game Fuel isn’t pushing this year’s annual release of ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Battlefield.’ Instead, both flavors of Game Fuel seem to be tied closely to the XBONEX, leading me to believe that Microsoft sent large numbers of unmarked bills to Pepsi in exchange for some fancy box-and-can art. Tropical Smash is promoting Microsoft’s first-party Racing title, “Forza 7,” while Arctic Burst is promoting the multi-platform Warner Bros. macrotransaction-simulator-with-orcs, “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.” As we’ve seen from my ‘Backlog: The Embiggening’ articles this year, Microsoft has been struggling hard with exclusives for their completely unnecessary consoles, but it’s still surprising to me to see XBONEX-themed advertisements revolving around a game that can also be played on the PlayStation 4 (and PC, but XBONE=Windows is pretty much a given at this point).

So there we go! If you want to vindicate Microsoft’s marketing efforts, buy some 2017 Game Fuel and walk around public spaces drinking it in order to increase the awareness of the XBONEX among the general public. If you like mangos, Tropical Smash is a tasty new Dew you’re sure to enjoy. Arctic Burst, though, is just another rehash of a commonly-available Dew flavor in a reskinned can.

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