This week we examine yet another conspiracy that has remained unprobed in the world of Geek:
In the last year I started and joined quite a few different groups for
tabletop gaming… It had not occurred to me previously that there is
a trend that stands out distinctly among these crowds. Be it my
hipster friends, my goth friends, my business partners, or just some
old-geezer-gamers who got me started on D&D all those years ago… all
of these groups drink Mountain Dew and drink it by the gallon. Did the
creators of Mountain Dew make an infernal pact with demons of the
ninth layer of the Abyss or something?? What the heck!
Mountain Dew has a long and intimate history with the Gaming industry. Gamers guzzle it while they play WoW all night long, or while massacring each other during Call of Duty and Halo tournaments. Back when people actually went to gaming cafes (or how about LAN parties? Remember those?), you couldn’t find a desktop without a Mountain Dew on it.
Some subtle advertising courtesy of Halo.
The simple and easiest answer to this conundrum is that Mountain Dew has always had a higher caffeine content than other sodas, and predates “energy” drinks. It became the drink of choice for kids that needed to stay up all night playing games. But as with all things in life, the simple answer is never the complete answer.
While it’s true that Mountain Dew contains more caffeine, there’s much more to the story. The history of Mountain Dew is a bit hazy, but the first trademark for it was filed in 1948. For anyone who doesn’t know their booze history, Mountain Dew used to be a name for moonshine, and the soda came straight out of Tennessee. The very first label was a tribute to its namesake and its home, and depicted a crazy hillbilly aiming his shotgun at another hillbilly (if Mountain Dew has taught me anything, it’s that I never want to go to Tennessee).
Crazy Tennessee drunkards…
The label wasn’t changed significantly until 1973 nearly a decade after the beverage had been purchased by Pepsi. The reason for the change was fairly straight forward: Pepsi was trying to target a different demographic. They were aiming their advertising at children and teens, and of course, no self-respecting teen would have thought that Tennessee hillbillies were cool.
The new much hipper logo.
This is nothing more than good marketing, however, it begs a new question: Why, after 25 years of success, did Mountain Dew suddenly need a different demographic? Why children? Why now? There was a reason for this change in demographic, and that reason goes by the name of Brominated Vegetable Oil.
Brominated Vegetable Oil is an additive to Mountain Dew which helps keep the soda nicely emulsified, so nothing separates and starts looking gross. But Bromine is also a highly corrosive and toxic element.
Yep. Don’t want to drink that.
Supposedly the form it takes in our beloved Dew isn’t hazardous to our health, but it’s not the health effects I’m concerned with. It’s the effects on our undying souls. Bromine poisoning, called Bromism, can have a wide array of effects on the human body, not least of which are psychosis and delirium.
Bromine was discovered by a French man named Antoine-Jerome Balard in 1826. What was celebrated as a scientific discovery was in actuality the hand of Satan controlling an oblivious pawn. The year before Balard’s discovery, Pope Leo the XII declared a Universal Jubilee: a time when sins would be forgiven, slaves would be set free, and general merriment and compassion would be the rule.
Desperate to regain control, Satan leapt at the opportunity he saw in the naive Balard. He guided the chemist into a discovery that would allow him a slow rise to power, one that would hopefully go unnoticed by the Church. Bromine is the Devil’s Element. It does not simply “make you crazy”, but adjusts your neurons in such a way that your brain waves become precisely in tune with Satan’s mind (.666 Hz). Bromism turns a person into the perfect receptor for Satan.
As Satan continued to guide the proliferation of Bromine throughout the human race, he seized upon an obvious opportunity: children. They presented the perfect target. Their minds were young and supple, their bodies smaller and easier to saturate with Bromine. Mountain Dew became the clear candidate, as it was one of the earliest and most popular Brominated sodas, and what child doesn’t love soda? But how could he ensure that they would consume his delicious Dew in copious amounts?
First he needed to change Mountain Dew’s image, and exactly one year after he coerced Pepsi into changing the Mountain Dew label in 1973, a man named Gary Gygax presented him with a wonderful opportunity – Dungeons & Dragons was Satan’s dream come true. From the beginning it was steeped in the occult. Magic, Demons, Witches and Warlocks; it had everything he could have desired, and it was all wrapped up in a neat box for children.
No one would notice his influence seeping into their sweet, spongy, youthful brains as they fueled their late night gaming sessions with the Devil’s Dew. All Satan needed to do was sit back, and let the Bromine do its work. But not even the Dark Lord could have imagined how far gaming would go, and Mountain Dew with it…
I know it’s a frightening prospect, and you’re all probably feeling quite unsettled at the moment, but the truth is that you are all unknowingly turning yourselves into pawns of Satan. But there is one thing you can do before it’s too late:
Drink beer for Jesus.
Taken from Noble Square Brewing.
Peace be with you,
The Dungeon Master
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You can also see me in action in One Die Short.