Poker Night at the Inventory is a 2010 PC crossover poker game developed and released by Telltale Games. While the game is, simply, just Texas Hold 'Em, the real experience is the game's offbeat character cast; comprised of Max (Sam and Max), Strong Bad (Homestar Runner), Heavy Weapons Guy (Team Fortress 2), and Tycho Brahe (Penny Arcade).
Poker Night takes place at The Inventory, a secret club for video game characters located under a former game factory. Small nods to past titles can be seen, including a few smaller cameos. Slow, blues-style covers of notable tracks from the character's games also play in the background. Additionally, players who own a copy of Team Fortress 2 were given special items for playing and pre-ordering the game.
In Poker Night, the player competes against the aforementioned characters in an underground Texas Hold 'Em tournament. The objective is to knockout each character to win a total sum of $50,000 ($10k each) and, if given, the character's buy-in; which can then be used in Team Fortress 2 if won. If a player loses, they have the option to continue watching the game being played by the AI. A player's total winnings has no inherent use, though it does cause a player's 'poker name' to change. Additionally, the game offers a tutorial and a list of winning hands for those new to the game.
The game uses Telltale's dynamic dialogue system to create a lively and colorful round of poker. Characters make references to their respective franchises and converse with each other; as well as comment on the player's actions (or lack of). The scripts for each character were written by Telltale with their creators working closely to keep the dialogue authentic and true to the character.
As well as the Team Fortress 2 items, players also can unlock new card decks and tables; some having special, but entirely cosmetic, abilities.
"Bet you never thought these guys would get together"
-Teaser Trailer pitch for Poker Night
The game was first pitched to the development team by Telllale CEO Dan Conners. Afterwords, the license holders/creators were contacted. All loving the idea, Telltale found themselves with the challenge of “not [ruining] four other people's very personal creations”. The developers worked very closely with the creators to make sure the characters were true to the source material. The game had a very small development team; at one point peaking seven in total. Jokingly, the developers stated that there were more lawyers involved than the those working on the actual project.
The script, written by Telltale’s Sean Vanaman, is based on the character’s established personalities. Each creator was key to making sure the dialogue for each character, as well as the in-between conversations and relationships, were not only authentic but didn’t sound forced. Homestar Runner co-creator Matt Chapman, who voices Strong Bad, would not only read his lines but also drastically rephrase them during recording; which was also something he did for Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. Additionally, Vanaham had back-and-forth vocal, and written, discussions with Penny Arcade co-creator Jerry Holkins on the personality and dialogue of his alter ego, Tycho.
The game was announced on September 3, 2010 with a teaser trailer that simply stated "bet you never thought these guys would get together" along with the silhouettes of each character. Two months later, more information was released regarding the Team Fortress 2 unlockables. As a pre-order bonus, those with Team Fortress 2 received the Dealer's Visor for the Heavy. This was the second time Telltale offered items for Team Fortress 2, the previous being for Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse.
- Reginald Van Winslow
Voiced by: Roger Jackson
Reginald Van Winslow, from the Tales of Monkey Island franchise, is the former captain of the Screaming Narwhal. Later, he joins Guybrush Threepwood's crew, which he remained a loyal first mate.
"Oh, hello there! Another enthusiast, I presume?"
-Reginald Van Winslow
Reginald works as a host for The Inventory, including the actual poker game: narrating the wins & loses of the characters and increasing the blinds after each round. Despite some claims, he is not the dealer. Additionally, while he doesn't own the place, he is knowledgeable of the club's history- which he is more than willing to educate the player on. Reginald is the only character, including smaller cameos, who appears almost completely different from his original design. Here, he is seen in a beret and a dinner jacket.
The Poker Players
Max Voiced by: William Casten
One of the main characters from Sam and Max, Telltale's flagship adventure game franchise based on the comic book series by Steve Purcell, who returns to write most of his dialogue. He is one half of the the game's Freelance Police duo and acts as a foil to his partner, Sam. He's trigger-happy, sociopathic, and even has psychic abilities (which he may, or may not, be using during the tournament).
In Poker Night, he seems to have a limited knowledge of Texas Hold 'Em; often asking the most basic of rules ("What do those numbers on the cards mean?"). Speculatively, he may have joined the tournament on an whim; a decision not out of his character. When chatting, he talks about his life as a freelance police officer and makes references to his past adventures. Additionally, when asked about his video game career, he switches off and on between being unaware that he is a video game character to breaking the fourth wall.
Max gets along well with everyone on the table, including the player, with even the Heavy considering him as a friend. When busted out, Max takes it pretty well; leaving with a smile as he goes off to wander around in the background.
When he doesn't have the cash, Max buys in with the License to Maim badge and the Lugermorph pistol.
Strong Bad Voiced by: Matt Chapman
Arguably, the most popular character from the Homestar Runner flash animations. The resident bully of Free Country, USA, and the leader of the vacant lot/country of Strong Badia. He spends his time hatching schemes, playing video games, reading e-mails, giving his co-stars a hard time, and being 'awesome'. His dialogue is also co-written by The Brothers Chaps, with Matt reprising his role.
Strong Bad appears in his usual egotistic form; bragging about his "luck" with women, his laughably outdated technology, and his poker abilities. He is most aware of his video game career, as well as his Internet fame. Also, he is more than willing to talk smack about Telltale Games: holding a grudge after the real life sub-par sales of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
Strong Bad absolutely hates Tycho, (with the feeling being mutual) referring him to a lifeless "dork" numerous times and claiming to be superior to him in all ways. (e.g: website hits, technology, ladies) Conversely, he gets along fairly well with the Heavy: being seen in his eyes as a "Tiny Heavy".
Strong Bad buys in with the Dangeresque, Too? shades when he doesn't have the cash.
Heavy Weapons Guy Voiced by: Gary Schwartz
The Heavy Weapons Guy is the chief defensive class of Team Fortress 2, Valve Software's popular multiplayer/FPS franchise. He is the unofficial mascot of the game's impossibly popular sequel, which his appearance is based on. Hailing from Russia, he has used his strength and knowledge in Heavy Weapons to become an irreplaceable asset to the RED Team.
The Heavy's motives for being in the tournament are unclear, but nonetheless he enjoys the game and talking about his many battles. He even delves into his school years and hobbies; though it should be noted that these stories and comments have been declared non-canon to the Team Fortress 2 universe, since the dialogue was mostly written by Telltale. He is also totally unaware that he is a video game character. When asked about the game and some of its gameplay, the Heavy is visibly confused or describes them as being dreams or lucky occurrences. He claims the RED Medic, Demoman, and Engineer are his friends, while the BLU Spy is the cause of every bad hand.
While he gets along fine with the other players, The Heavy doesn't trust Tycho, seeing him as a threat since he wears a blue sweatshirt.
The Iron Curtain minigun is bought in by the Heavy in when he doesn't have the cash.
Tycho Brahe Voiced by: Andrew Chaikin
Tycho Brahe is video and tabletop game enthusiast from the Penny Arcade webcomic. He is the foil to comic co-star Johnathan Gabriel and is also the alter-ego of the comic's co-creator Jerry Holkins. While Jerry himself doesn't voice the character, he worked with the writers to keep the character authentic.
While Tycho is the most well-spoken of the group he is also the crudest. His dialogue is laced with strong language, which can be censored, and at times he makes comments of a sexual nature. In some cases he delves into his fetishes (namely, bestiality, which is also an on-going joke in the comic), much to the shock and disgust of the other players. Despite this, he is very knowledgeable in not only gaming but also in literature, computers, history, and English. At times, he decides to fold or call by rolling a 20-sided die. Some of his dialogue hints that he is in the tournament in order to pay off some shady people.
Tycho appears to be the only one who knows where each character really came from, which leads to some awkward or eye-brow raising conversations (e.g., wincing awkwardly when Heavy claims he's immortal, rather than dying and respawning). He gets the most well with Max; sometimes even exchanging zombie survival tactics.
When strapped for cash, Tycho buys in with the Enthusiast's Timepiece watch.
The soundtrack for the game, while not officially released, contains blues-style covers of songs from each character's universe-- except Tycho's. These can be accessed via the game's files, ripped using the Telltale Music Extractor.
Sam and Max
Team Fortress 2
- Team Fortress 2 Theme
- "More Gun"
- Theme from "Dangeresque"
- "Trogdor" (It's worth noting that this isn't the actual Trogdor theme, although it does borrow from it a little.)
New table designs are unlocked as the player wins tournaments.
|Table||Unlocked with win #||Description|
|00||A simple traditional green design with the locations of cards marked on its surface|
|Max Imp||01||A red table with a picture of Max Imp|
|Trogdor||02||A green design with a Trogdor the Burninator pattern at the center|
|Telltale Games||04||A green table with the Telltale Games logo in the center|
|Automata||05||A black table with the picture of Carl from the Penny Arcade miniseries Automata in the center|
- This table gives the entire place a monochromatic coloring
|RED Team||07||A red and white table with Team Fortress' RED team logo in the center|
- This table causes the Heavy to wear the Dealer's Visor
|Fruit "Friend"||08||A dark blue table with a picture of a Fruit Fucker in the middle with oranges surrounding it|
|Videlectrix||10||A red and orange table with yellow circles around the Videlectrix logo in the center; their slogan just below|
- This table causes Strong Bad's model to changes to retro-style polygons
|BLU Team||11||A blue and white table with Team Fortress' BLU team logo in the center|
|Strongbadia||13||A table with the Strongbadian flag displayed on its surface|
|Team Fortress 2||14||A dirty orange table with the Team Fortress logo in the center|
|Twisp & Catsby||16||A dark blue table featuring Twisp on the right, Catsby on the left, and the moon at the very centre|
|Max & Crossbones||17||A green table with Max's skull and crossbones in the center|
- This table changes Max into a skeleton!!
|Freelance Police||19||A blue table with the Freelance Police emblem in the center|
|Telltale Games Shield||20||A black table featuring a shield in the center, representing the four characters in the game; the Telltale Games logo lies at the center of the shield|
- This table combines all the effects present in the Automata, RED Team, Videlectrix and Max & Crossbones tables
A new design of cards is unlocked at every three tournaments won.
|Deck of Cards||Unlocked with win #||Description|
|The Inventory (default deck)||00||A traditional deck of cards, designed to appear old|
|Team Fortress 2||03|
The black cards are colored blue and the Ace and the Royal cards have the following replacements:
- King -- The Heavy (Red); Soldier (Blue)
- Queen -- The Models from the ingame calendars
- Jack -- Scout (Blue); Demoman (Red)
- Back of Cards: Team Fortress 2 logo with blue and red corners
The cards are in 8-bit style; numbered cards simply feature the suit in the center with the card's corresponding number on top of it. The Ace and the Royal cards have the following replacements:
- Back of Cards: blue with a white star in the center
|Sam & Max||09||The Ace and the Royal cards have the following replacements:|
- Back of Cards: the Sam & Max logo with black edges on both top and bottom of cards
|Penny Arcade||12||The Ace and the Royal cards have the following replacements:|
- Ace -- Spade has a 20-sided RPG dice on the tip
- King -- Gabe and Tycho
- Queen -- Fruit Fucker (Blacks); Grapefruits (Reds)
- Jack -- Catsby
- Back of Cards: blue with a yellow band in the middle featuring Pac-Man's logo
The images on the Royal cards actually depend on the suit, with Penny Arcade for spades, Sam & Max for clubs, Homestar Runner for hearts, and Team Fortress 2 for diamonds. Also, the Ace and the Royals have the following replacements:
- Ace -- Spade is featured upside down with the Telltale Games logo in the center
- King -- Tycho & Gabe (Spades); Sam (Clubs); Strong Bad (Hearts); Heavy (Diamonds)
- Queen -- "Annarchy" Brahe (Spades); Flint Paper (Clubs); Strong Sad (Hearts); The Administrator (Diamonds)
- Jack -- Fruit Fucker (Spades); Max (Clubs); Homestar Runner (Hearts); Spy (Diamonds)
- Back of Cards: red with The Inventory logo in the center
The cards are actually normal, with the exception of the faces of the Royals, which are drawn in the manner of Graham Annable; there is also no letter indicating the specific royal. The Ace has the following replacement:
- Ace -- Spade has a gnome's head
- Back of Cards: blue with a fish in the center
|Poker Night Alternative Deck||21||This deck of cards has an inverted color scheme, which means that the entire card has the suit's corresponding color and the suits are actually white. The Ace and the Royals are the same as the Poker Night Deck|
- Back of Cards: black and white circles with The Inventory logo in the center
Pre-Purchase Bonus and Unlockables
|Those who chose to pre-purchase the game on Steam received the "Dealer's Visor" hat for The Heavy in Team Fortress 2.|
Poker Night also has 4 different unlockables that are also for use in Team Fortress 2. They are unlocked during "Item Rounds", when one of the characters hasn't got any cash on them and uses one of these as collateral. All items are cosmetic. They are:
|The Iron Curtain for the Heavy.|
- Heavy: I am sorry. I do not have this money... I did, but Sasha has been very good lately, and I wanted to get her gifts. The money is gone. I have no choice...
- Heavy: I have no choice but to buy in with Sasha, so I can keep honor.
- Max: It's... it's... beautiful!
- Heavy: I hope this is alright.
- Winslow: Ha, I see no problem with it. Whoever knocks him out will receive his buy-in.
|Max's Lugermorph for the Scout and Engineer.|
A Freelance Police "License to Maim" Badge from the Sam and Max games for any TF2 character.
- Max: Would you settle for a travel pack of tissues and a half-eaten jar of maraschino cherries?
- Winslow: Mmmm, I do relish a good cherry. But I'm afraid there may be an issue of parity.
- Max: I don't have any pears, either. Oh! I've also got 38 to 40k in uncut diamonds. But how about my gun and badge? Y'know, you can't put a price on a License to Maim.
- Winslow: Very well! The player to eliminate Max from the game will receive a pistol and a freelance police badge.
|Tycho's watch, The Enthusiast's Timepiece, for the Spy.|
- Tycho: Well this is embarrassing. I generally walk around with large bricks of money with which to buy into backroom card games, but I'm a little light this evening. Anyway, I think this should even it up.
|Strong Bad's "Dangeresque, Too?" sunglasses for the Demoman.|
- Strong Bad: Oh...Uh...I couldn't fit my briefcase full of cash in these pants, on account on my ample hind bosom. But I DO have these cool-cool-fady-shady Dangeresque glasses! They're worth like five ten thousand dollars..es. So, we're good right? You guys bought that?
- Winslow: If nobody else has a problem with it, Strong Bad will be buying in with collateral. Whoever knocks him out will receive his buy-in.
Following on the premise of introducing characters from other games featured as poker players, the game also features a handful of cameos from several characters from other games other than Poker Night at the Inventory, but mostly from the Sam & Max franchise.
Sam is the first character seen in the intro; he's seen standing on a far balcony, adjusting his tie and then leaving in a manner that very much resembles G-Man from the Half Life franchise.
Pom Pom has a cameo in the beginning of the game, during the intro, where he can be seen leaving the gaming table the player is about to join; apparently he lost in a previous game.
Flint Paper appears at the bar, right behind the table. His violent behavior, encounters, and philosophy is regularly referenced by Max.
Bluster Blaster is the arcade machine, visible in the background, near the stairs.
Bluster Blaster is a sentient arcade machine and a former member of C.O.P.S., a bunch of obsolete machines that help Sam and Max by acting as navigators for them.
From Telltale's Back To The Future episodic series, she is first seen in the intro cutscene, several months before the game was actually announced.
PC System Requirements
|Minimum Requirements||Recommended Requirements|
- OS: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent
- Memory: 1GB RAM
- Graphics: 128MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card
- DirectX®: Version 9.0c or better
- Hard Drive: 100MB space free
- Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
- OS: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- Processor: 3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent
- Memory: 1GB RAM
- Graphics: 256MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card
- DirectX®: Version 9.0c or better
- Hard Drive: 100MB space free
- Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device