Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: Windows, OS X
Release Date: November 22, 2010
Format: digital download through Steam
Poker Night is...well it's a poker game. A somewhat unusual poker game. As opposed to most poker video games that are online multiplayer or single player strip poker games, this is a single player, cross promotional, item unlocking, player taunting, frustration matrix.
The Inventory is one of those secret pan-dimensional meeting places where characters from different video game related franchises can meet for a good stiff drink and some rousing high stakes gambling.
In this game, the player arrives late at night to a Texas Hold 'Em tournament in progress. One of the players has already cashed out leaving another seat at the table. After paying the ten-thousand dollar buy-in, the game begins.
Tonight the players are; Max from Sam & Max, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, The Heavy from TF2, and Tycho from Penny Arcade with Reginald Van Winslow from Tales of Monkey Island serving as the host and dealer. Each of the characters are voiced by their original voice actors, and represented in their original art aesthetic (or as close as possible*). What follows is a lot of references, cheap insults, and boasting as the characters interact with each other. Just like you would have at a normal poker game with your buddies.
Each of the players have their own play style from competent to the absurd. Tycho actually plays like a seasoned poker player while Max will bet pretty randomly. After the player learns their unique tells things begin to make sense.
In addition to being a nifty and entertaining video game, each of the characters (except Reginald) have an item that they may bet in place of their normal ten grand. If the player manages to knock out that character and then win the tournament, these items unlock as wearable items in TF2. If a different character knocks out the character with the item, or if the player busts out, the player must wait until the item comes up in a new tournament.
The items are:
- Max's Lugermorph pistol and Freelance Police badge
- Strong Bad's Dangeresque shade glasses
- The Heavy's "Iron Curtain" minigun
- Tycho's blood-stained wrist watch
There are also different decks and table felts related to the characters' franchises that are unlocked through play, but these are just an aesthetic modification.
*While Strong Bad and Tycho are usually two dimensional characters, Strong Bad did appear in 3D in his video game, and an admirable attempt was made to transfer Tycho's comic visage to 3D. Reginald is depicted as from the Monkey Island remake but with a change of clothes.