From The Herd Shop | Game Fuel and Taco Bell chips

A discount Dorito and a better Mutant

TAYLOR SCHLOEMER | THE SPECTRUM Gamers, Taco Bell and Mountain Dew once again created a duo for you.

It would have been nice to be a fly on the wall during the meeting at Taco Bell when they decided to go ahead with a line of tortilla chips. I suspect the meeting went something like this:

Boss: “All right people, the Doritos Locos Tacos are a big hit. How can we expand the market?”

Employee 1: “Expand into different flavors of shells.”

Employee 2: “Make a nacho chips flavored quesadilla.”

Employee 3: “Make our own tortilla chip to compete with Doritos.”

Boss: “Brilliant!”

And so, the Taco Bell chips were born. They are available in three different spice flavors that correspond with Taco Bell’s three sauces: Mild, Hot and Diablo, none of which are better than Doritos.

What’s more interesting is the fact that the perceived order of spice is off. The Diablo, with their black chips, carries the least amount of spice and is a general disappointment. Eating a bag of the Mild isn’t bad and carries a nice balance. This is the most similar to a Dorito and would likely be the chip to use when Doritos finally sees the competition and pulls out of the Locos Tacos deal. Meanwhile, Hot is the chip to go for in terms of flavor, but the heat lingers for a while after eating, so be warned.

But it is quite the journey to actually eat one of these chips. First off, the smell is not great. It is a sharp smell, but not a pleasant one. The generic “spice” smell is potent. Then there is the fact that the chip looks like a Dorito that got dropped in a pile of sawdust. The taste of the Mild and Hot aren’t bad, and getting through a bag is possible, unlike the poor performance of the Diablo.

A good idea for a companion beverage is the item in the Herd Shop that receives the most marketing as compared to unfavorable placement: the Mountain Dew Game Fuel. A tough, little find at the bottom corner of the energy drink section, these things are pretty good.

Three favors are available: an original Mountain Dew, fruit punch and tropical, the last of which was used for this review. To be fair, expectations were not very high heading into the first sip, but it was pleasantly surprising.

The tropical flavor popped, and it was quite smooth for an energy drink-soda hybrid, a bit better than a Monster Mutant. The caffeine content isn’t too high at 90 mg for a bottle, which is slightly lower than most coffees.

The best thing that Game Fuel has going for it though has nothing to do with the taste, but the can itself. It has a resealable can, which is brilliant. It is sturdy enough for multiple openings and closings. Big props to the marketing department for calling the instructions on how to open the tab a “tutorial” instead of just boring instructions. It is an on-brand decision.

However, if you are enjoying this duo, odds are you fit into one of two categories. For this review, I settled into the gamer looking to improve their performance because fitting into the other category would likely end with people throwing stones at me.

After consuming the chips and drink, I put in my best performance in “Tetris,” which is the current fad in the Spectrum office, so the duo works. However, the effect on K/D ratios is still unknown.

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