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Game Review: Holiday Helper

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What's your opinion of humanity? I ask, because it's about to be lowered.

Holiday Helper isn't really a "game" in any meaningful sense of the word. It's not really ANYTHING in any meaningful sense of any word, though it seems to be masquerading as a party planning assistant. That's what I get from the back, anyway:


The box is almost seven by five inches and one and a half inches thick. There's room for quite a lot in here. Only, in this case, it's a lot of air.


In case it's unclear just how ridiculous this is, here's a picture with everything - yes, everything - unpacked.


Turns out, when the back makes a big deal about how the cards include 12 contests, 12 party themes, and 12 drink recipes, it neglects to mention these are crammed into the same 12 cards. That, two dice, and some cheap knickknacks are all that's included.

The cards are ludicrously stupid. I'm not really sure who the target audience is for these. It's 2017 - fr…

Toy Review: Batman Automobilia No. 78: Batman: Arkham Origins Video Game

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This is the second die-cast vehicle I've looked at for Mainlining Christmas, the first being the Batman: Noel Batmobile. These are part of an impressively large line of monthly Batman vehicles from Eaglemoss Collectibles. The line represents stories from all forms of media: comics, the campy 1966 series, various animated incarnations of Batman, and (obviously) video games.

While Batman might not be the first character you think of when you hear Christmas music, he's had his share of holiday misadventures, including the 2013 video game, Batman: Arkham Origins. I was a big fan of the game, so I was excited when Eaglemoss produced a toy version of the Batwing.


Let's start with the magazine. In lieu of actual packaging, each of these comes with a magazine. Actually, I'm a little unclear whether the vehicle or the magazine is technically the accessory, but I doubt anyone shells out $20 for the ten page pamphlet.

As always, this include fold-out schematics and some backgrou…

Now Ends the Reign of Mainlining Christmas

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Sadly, our reign as monarch of Sensible Castle has come to an expected end, so that the next subscriber can claim their three minutes of glory. You should be able to read our proclamations by visiting the Hall of Kings and searching for us.

Now Begins the Reign of Mainlining Christmas

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Well, this is it. The moment we've all been waiting for, when Mainlining Christmas is unambiguously crowned king of Sensible Castle in Ireland. This honor is being bestowed on us by Cards Against Humanity as part of their Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah promotion.

You can celebrate our rule by visiting this site, which features video of our castle. You should be able to see our proclamations here, once they're officially proclamated. What are those proclamations? Hell if I know - we submitted them last winter.

Super Mario World: The Night Before Cave Christmas (1991)

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I remember the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, but I either forgot or never heard of its sequel, Super Mario World. Actually, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first sequel, and I either forgot about or never knew about that one, either.

But Super Mario World, the series intended to tie-in to the Super Nintendo, is the one with the Christmas-in-July (technically August, but let's not split hairs) episode, and by extension the one we need to talk about.

This is a half-episode, and it aired alongside Captain N, which sucked for entirely different reasons than Super Mario World. Sadly, Captain N never gave the world a Christmas episode, so we'll have to set it aside and get back to the crappy series at hand.

If you've never seen any of these series and are wondering how anyone would convert Super Mario Bros. into a television series, don't bother asking the writers of this episode, because clearly they never figured it out.

The premise is ostensibly based on th…

Game Review: Gift Trap

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Okay, this isn't 'officially' a Christmas Game. However, it was recommended to us as a good game to play at Christmas, and really, when else in the year do you expect to give and receive gifts to/from everyone you know?

You can think of Gift Trap a little bit like the old Newlywed Game, but with your friends. For each round, a selection of possible gifts are laid out on the board. Depending on which deck you play with for a specific round, these gifts have an average value. For example, if you play with the cheapest deck, the gifts might include a tool belt and a webcam. In the most expensive deck, they might include a luxury trip or a collection of vintage champagne. Some of the gifts are funny, some are impressive, and some raise questions, which your group can choose to discuss or let each person make their own assumptions.



All the player pieces come in these cute tulle bags.



Once the gifts are laid out, your first task is to decide which gift to give each of the othe…

Christmas Questions Triviapalooza Game

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I bought this game about 3 or 4 years ago off a clearance shelf in (I think) a Barnes and Noble. I probably paid less than a dollar.

If you are interested in the true Mainlining Christmas Experience... If reading this blog makes you want to be here, bearing witness to the full depth of the holiday, I recommend you leave this page and find a way to buy this game immediately.



Okay, are the suckers gone?

This game is crap.


The packaging design is cute: the box folds out into a little board with four tracks. Inside, you'll find a deck of cards with questions on both sides, a sheet of directions, four cheap pawns and a die you have to create with stickers.


We actually have both the Christmas Questions and Christmas Music editions of this game, and in one of the boxes the sticker sheet wasn't properly die-cut, just leaving us with a solid sheet.


To play you simply go around, asking questions of other players. If you get the question right, you roll the die and either move forward…

Game Review: Christmas Trivia Game

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We picked up this card game on sale at a Go! Games and Toys in the mall after last Christmas.

It's as simple as can be: just a deck of cards and some very brief instructions. Each player selects one of four categories and another player reads the selected question off the top card. The first person to get two right in every category wins (you need to keep track on a piece of paper, not provided). It serves as many players as are willing to sit around the table with you.


Warning: the difficulty of the questions seems rather random. The cards are numbered subtly on the bottom and the group I played with had the impression that higher numbered cards were more difficult, but it’s hard to be sure. On each card the difficulty can vary wildly: A low-numbered card I just pulled up asks what year Silent Night was written (multiple choice), how tall a poinsettia can grow (multiple choice), asks you to know a specific line from the Visit from St. Nicholas poem, or asks what reindeer like m…

Game Review: Northpole Rooftop Drop

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Last January, I found myself in a Toys R Us, which isn't all that unusual for me (that's where you find all the toys, after all). I came across a bin of discounted merchandise, including a handful of Christmas items. One of them was a bizarre looking game called "Rooftop Drop" branded as part of Hallmark's Northpole line. It had a sticker reading $9.99 on it, but I was skeptical - it was too long past the holiday, and things have a tendency of getting marked down in the system without being updated on the packaging. So I took it over to a price-check machine to see how much it was actually going for.

It was $0.03. Assuming the $10 price tag was accurate, that means this was approximately 99.7% off.


There's some flavor text on the box to make this more appealing. The game rules are spelled out in their entirety on the back of the packaging: there are no rules beyond the scoring guidelines. I'm not saying that means it's legal to bludgeon an opponent -…

Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)

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People have been telling me I have to play the Arkham games since the first one was released. For years, I've heard that they were fantastic, that they offered the experience of being Batman, that the writing and voice acting were great, and so on and so forth. But I just ignored them, not because I thought they were wrong, but because I was worried they might be right.

Then, last year, I heard something about the third game in the series that made me pay attention. The story is entirely set on a single night when eight assassins are hired to try and kill Batman. And that night is December 24th.


I knew it was just a matter of time. That time, incidentally, was the duration it took for Steam to mark Arkham Origins down to $7.49 during one of their ridiculously amazing sales. I bought it and set out to experience the holiday-fueled mayhem.

A few words of warning before I continue. I am not remotely qualified to review video games. I certainly played my share back in the day, but th…

More Holiday Flash Games

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What’s this, what’s this, here at the bottom of the internet? Why, it’s an early present just for you! Some games to play. Otherwise you’ll just work on that end-of-year report, and you’ve got plenty of time for that…

Monkey Go Happy Christmas 

PencilKids has made a cottage industry out of short silly games about monkeys and clicking. Choose your monkey, give him or her a holiday hat, and just click to explore. Find all the Christmas items to make the monkey happy. It only takes a minute. You don’t want the monkeys to be sad!


Infectonator: Christmas Edition

Like most of these games, this had a non-Christmas version first. Click to start a holiday zombie apocalypse, collect coins from dying citizens to upgrade your zombies, and do it again!


Sugar, Sugar: The Christmas Special

Sugar Sugar is a clever game of physics and patience with a pleasant mellow soundtrack. Draw lines with your mouse to direct falling sugar sprinkles into a mug. This game is all that in a holiday wrapper.


Plexus: A Pi…