Back in college, my gaming habit was in full swing, between having a bit of money and a lot of time that I should've been using on course studies. Outside of keeping my head above water when it came to my classes and talking to friends, I played a ton of games. Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, and older consoles; if a movie wasn't being watched on the television, someone was playing a game.
Those were days and nights spent sitting with friends, playing Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Bushido Blade, Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel vs. Capcom, Power Stone, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and far too many other games to mention. I'm sure everyone has great memories from the gulf between childhood and adulthood: the freedom to do whatever you wanted at all hours without the crushing responsibility of a job and bills. I played a ton of games in that gulf, probably more than I play in my current position.
Those early morning and late-night sessions were fueled by Surge.
Some people may not remember Surge. It was Coca-Cola's attempt to capture the "extreme" market and steal a few customers from Pepsi's Mountain Dew. Bright-green, full of sugar, and heavy on the citrus taste, Surge was an energy high in a can. (Surge and Red Bull both launched in 1997, though Red Bull took more time to gain traction.) In many colleges, Surge was a part of Coke fountains, providing a nearly endless supply of syrupy goodness to students.
The problem was Surge had a short shelf life. Coke discontinued the bottled and canned version of the drink in 2002 and shut down the fountain version in 2003. A short six years for a drink that had become my go-to in all-night game sessions.
Now Surge is back. In response to the Surge Movement Facebook campaign, Coca-Cola has brought back Surge for a limited time. As an experiment, the soft drink company is offering Surge in its original recipe and packaging directly through Amazon. Your only option is to buy it in a 12-pack of 16 oz. cans, but if it proves popular we may see the return of other lost sodas.
"If expectations are met, this may be only the first of a variety of efforts we explore to launch niche products through e-commerce relationships.This will be a great learning experience for us and a refreshing opportunity for fans," said Wendy Clark, president of strategic marketing, Coca-Cola North America.
The drink is currently sold-out, but Amazon offers a notifcation for when it comes back in stock, so there may be Surge in my future. I stopped drinking soda altogether in the past year, but I admit I sat on Amazon's Surge page with my finger hovering above the "Add to Cart" button. Surge was such a big part of my college gaming years and there's always that drive as you get older to recapture some of the spent moments of your youth. Tastes and smells are strong memory triggers, so it's possible that each 16 oz can of diabetes-inducing nightmare fuel could bring me back to a simpler time.
If I do get my hands on some Surge, the first thing I'll do is pull the N64 out of storage, pop Mario Kart 64 in the system, turn on some old Jpop, and chug a Surge. It'll be like I'm back in 1998. Good times.