During a recent trip to the grocery store, I was taking aback when out of the corner of my eye, I caught Kylo Ren’s sinister visage glaring at me, lightsaber drawn. Summoning what little midichlorians I had inside me, I turned to face the dark apprentice – and breathed easy. For it was not Kylo Ren, but rather General Mills’ new, Star Wars-themed cereal, complete with storm trooper marbits:
To many, the existence of Star Wars-themed cereal is a non-story; Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One have been such spectacular commercial hits that it would almost be strange if the Disney-owned megafranchise didn’t have its own cereal. What much of the younger generation is unaware of, however, is that the solitary existence of this cereal (and its BB8 counterpart) is a far cry from the cereal debauchery of the 1980s, when anything vaguely culturally relevant had its own cereal. This includes Croonchy Stars (Swedish Chef-themed cereal by Post), Urkel-Os (cereal based on Urkel from the ABC sitcom Family Matters, courtesy of Ralston), and yes, The Nintendo Cereal System™, again from Ralston.
Nowadays, the absence of Ralston (which merged with Nestlé in 2001) and flagging cereal sales have made cereal makers shrewd and conservative, sticking exclusively to tried-and-true brands in a desperate bid to remain afloat. However, I fear that their efforts are in vain – just as automation will soon replace all manual labor in factories, it is only a matter of time before cereal breathes its last, before the final, soggy raisin bran feckle is choked down by a centenarian desperate to not make his daily bathroom visit with his buxom 24-year-old nurse any more embarrassing than it already is.
So, rather have cereal go out with a whimper, I say it should go out with a bang – and what better way to do so than to reach into the world of video games for inspiration, the world’s largest entertainment empire? Not convinced? Well then, allow me to describe some of the video game-themed wonders that Kellogg’s and General Mills could already be making, should they ever get their heads out of their raisin bran-filled asses and realize what’s good for them:
Fire Emblem Hyper-Flammable Cereal
Fire Emblem Hyper-Flammable Cereal is a perfectly acceptable cereal if consumed. A little nutty, but not too nutty, it’s a fine meal to start the day with once every two to three weeks in-between bouts of reeling constipation, or to distract an angry mama bear with while hiking, maybe.
No – the true value in Fire Emblem Hyper-Flammable Cereal lies not in its ability to be consumed for some modicum of nutritional sustenance, but in its titular flammability, the result of the cereal being deep fried in a mixture of 100 different oils, dried, deep fried again, and then coated in a light peanut butter glaze so as to briefly mask the vomit-inducing grease in the event that one actually eats them. With a single match (sold separately) and 50 grams of the cereal, one can create a flame that sustains itself for as long as 2 hours, all the while being twice and unstable and erratic as regular fire! With these qualities, this cereal is sure to reintroduce a whole new generation to the joys of fire, reconnecting them with the same warmth that our primordial ancestors prized above all else. Fire Emblem Hyper-Flammable Cereal is no mere cereal – it’s a movement, a return to a virulent, yet honorable state of nature.
(That’s what Fire Emblem is all about, right? I never really played those games.)
Free Fidget Spinner Included! Titanfall Cereal
Poor, poor Titanfall. Despite being conceived by the same minds behind the hyper-successful Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the series has struggled to gain traction since its inception. The first title boldly forewent a single-player mode to focus exclusively on having a robust online multiplayer suite, yet lacked much-needed customization features that quickly soured dedicated players on the experience. Its sequel, Titanfall 2, addressed its predecessor’s multiplayer issues and offered a critically lauded single-player campaign – yet sold dismally, as a result of being released in the middle of EA’s own Battlefield 1 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
So, how do you save a flailing triple-A-tier video game franchise? You package it with the latest fad, of course! Free Fidget Spinner Included! Titanfall Cereal might not have the same SEO value as Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You To Know This One Trick Free iPad Mini Included! Titanfall Cereal, but costs approximately $400 less to produce per unit, and packs double the cereal, for some reason. And once the popularity of the fidget spinner inevitable wears off (probably by the time this article is published), kids will be ready to put their twitchy, ADD-riddled hands to good use playing Titanfall.
A Hideo Kojima Cereal
The man slowly lifted the cereal-filled spoon to his face. Times had been hard. Ever since the government started using Nanomachines as a means of micro-regulating the populace’s ability to pass on happiness through the use of memetic cultural touchstones, the world had gone dark. Enveloped in a constant haze of intangibility, the man felt himself passing through his house as if he were a ghost, a phantom in a world in its last vestiges before dissolving.
Suddenly, the man was jolted upright. Gasping for air, the man was barely conscious as he saw his own heart burst from his chest, blood painting the walls the color of a silent scream. Utterly aware that it had just illegally immigrated to the world outside from its native land of the man’s rib cage, the heart cleared its throat, and spoke:
“The earth does not bleed. No, one can only bleed if it were alive, basked in the warmth that all mothers impart to their children upon birth. The earth, I tell you, is dead, and has been dead, since the men who run our nation thought it wise to control the subconscious using the same logic that rules mathematics. Thus, the world itself has become one of pure computation, in which hearts, trapped within their fleshy prisons, are synonymous to that of the last stars in a universe that has atrophied.
“But no more. From this day forward, the world will understand that we hearts do not exist to be contained; like the sun itself, we will come whether we are wanted or not, exposing all the cowards and hypocrites for what they are during the night. And what we cannot exorcise through ubjection to societal rejection, we will consume, and the world will be made anew again, as it once was.”
Written and directed by Hideo Kojima
Eventually, all the fun and games and reckless spending that will lead to cereals like the aforementioned three will run out, leaving only the burnt out husk of General Mills behind to aimlessly produce Rice Chex until it declares bankruptcy. Seeing as how 70% of us will be hooked up to our VR modules to mask ourselves from the General Horror outside at this point, it would be within General Mills’ best interest to release VR Cereal at this time, a Virtual Reality app capable of sensorially replacing their Rice Chex with any other cereal created throughout time and space as it is consumed.
VR Cereal will even allow users to mix and match various components from past cereals to create the ultimate customized cereal experience. This means that the user can see Captain Crunch’s golden spheres, taste Smurf Berry Crunch Cereal on their tongue, smell the raw masculinity of Mr. T Cereal, hear the satisfying crunch of Rainbow Brite Cereal, and feel the cheap plastic of the bank playset included in the 1989 Batman Cereal – all in a single bite.
And when General Mills finally collapses, we will feel nothing.
And that’s why we should bring back video game-themed cereals! If you work in the R&D department at a multi-billion dollar cereal corporation that needs to knock me off so that you can plagiarize these ideas without repercussion, feel free to do so. But please, please turn me into one of those “missing” pictures on your milk cartons afterwards, even though I’m a (legal) adult.