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YouTube user xKorellx pours a can of Game Fuel down the sink Image: xKorellx/YouTube

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The Halo 3 Game Fuel fandom is dying

A eulogy for Mountain Dew’s forgotten flavor

Patrick Gill (he/him) has been making serious and unserious videos for Polygon since 2016. He also co-hosts & produces Polygon’s weekly livestreams on Twitch.

Two years ago, YouTube user xKorellx poured a bit of history down the drain. In a first-person video, they gently cradle a can of Mountain Dew Game Fuel in their palm. Swirls of orange and blue energy surround the Mountain Dew logo, and alongside it, a close-up image of Master Chief sprinting forward like he’s going to bust out of the can and into your pathetic reality. The vivid branding hasn’t faded in 10-plus years since Halo 3 Game Fuel left stores, but the can’s structural integrity is … compromised.

The silver top of the can is bloated and uneven. It looks to be moments from exploding. It has been deemed unfit for drinking or display. Solemn guitar music swells. xKorellx cracks the tab one-handed and pours the yellow-orangish liquid into the sink.

A screenshot of multiple eBay listings for Halo 3 Mountain Dew Game Fuel Image: eBay via Polygon

Today, a sip of that liquid will cost you anywhere between $35 and $80.

Mountain Dew took its first step into the gaming world in 2007, and Halo 3 was its steward. For the premiere Game Fuel cross-promotion, Mountain Dew artisans created a new blend of Citrus Cherry flavor with an extra pinch of caffeine. The TV spot for the brands’ collaboration showed enraged, demoralized opponents crumbling before a Dew-powered god gamer.

Buying Mountain Dew Game Fuel didn’t yield any tangible rewards. The brand wouldn’t introduce the “double XP” promotion until its 2011 collab with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This first crossover was just about a cool-looking can and different-tasting Dew. And that taste is slowly fading from our cultural memory.

I picked up a twelver of Game Fuel back in 2007. I wasn’t particularly excited for Halo 3. I couldn’t even afford an Xbox 360. But I wanted to experience history. It was effervescent, with Mountain Dew’s trademark non-specific citrus syrupy-ness — and just a hint of artificial cherry. There was also a slightly bitter note — perhaps the result of that extra caffeine.

In honor of Halo Infinite, I wanted to purchase one of those surviving cans and review the historically significant Halo Liquid, but my editors wouldn’t let me use company funds on something that could potentially injure me. So we need to take the word of other brave internet users who are saying goodbye to the last of their precious Game Fuel.

“This bottle of Game Fuel is as old as my daughter and as old as my two sons,” says YouTube user Pewpewtrucker as he stands next to his sink. He’s holding his final two-liter of the hydraulic fluid-colored liquid. He says the bottle’s got “micro-holes” and it’s been “slowly seeping,” so it’s time to end it. After struggling with the ancient lid, he takes a sniff. “Dude, that smells just like it did back in the day.” He takes a brave swig. “That actually still tastes fuckin’ good.”

YouTube user Oklahoma Roserock’s assessment is less glowing. In his video, posted earlier this month, he opens and drinks a collector’s edition aluminum bottle of Game Fuel. “That’s pretty rough, I can’t lie. Dang.” He seems distressed throughout the tasting. “I can tell you I don’t think it ages like wine. It ages like battery acid.”

The last of the Halo 3 Mountain Dew Game Fuel is leaving the world, a sticky, metallic shadow of its former self. There will not be a Halo Infinite Game Fuel promotion. Instead, Mountain Dew has partnered with Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Halo has paired off with Rockstar Energy Drink. That means I’ll probably never taste the special Halo soda again, but it’s OK. Rest in peace, Halo 3 Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Your fight is finished.