Telltale Reveal Poker Night At The Inventory

By John Walker on September 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 am.

It's not a sight I was expecting to see.

Telltale have revealed the game they were teasing last week, and it’s not the Back To The Future series that was announced yesterday. It’s called Poker Night at the Inventory, and features a gaming all-star cast.

Sitting down at the green table are Penny Arcade’s Tycho, Team Fortress 2’s Heavy, Strong Bad of Homestar Runner fame, and Sam & Max’s very own Max.

Which is an achievement in itself, convincing Valve to come on board with this idea. Telltale describes the game like this:

“Prepare for a different kind of poker night in a very different kind of club. In Poker Night at the Inventory, you’ll deal with Penny Arcade’s clever, cunning Tycho, Team Fortress 2’s hulking Heavy, Homestar Runner’s self-proclaimed “awesome icon” Strong Bad and the hyperkinetic “rabbity-thing” from Sam & Max. These characters come together in ways some never thought possible, in a setting few would have predicted. You’ll experience a new style of poker, particularly when hands don’t go the way of the other fiery competitors at the table.”

And that’s all that’s known. We are going to investigate further. What you can do, however, is pre-order it. It’s $4.95 from the Telltale site (with an offer to get 25% off other purchases if you do), and currently £2.92 on UK Steam. This is a pre-order without really knowing what the game is, of course.

It’ll be interesting, as there’s been very few decent poker games. In fact, I’ve yet to play a decent Hold ‘Em simulator, with AI that can both bluff and read. Presumably if Telltale hasn’t cracked this – and maybe they have – they’ll instead make the experience worthwhile purely by the power of silly. (It’s a technique that can work, but I need to shake thoughts of National Lampoon’s Chess Maniac Five Billion And One from my head). There’s no fixed release date yet, but it will apparently be this “Fall”.

Also good to see Strong Bad in there, which presumably means the Bros. Chaps are on board to provide the voice at least, despite their website being left fallow since April this year. Perhaps there’s still hope for a return of Homestar Runner too.

I love the idea of characters from various unconnected games getting together. I especially love that they’re all in their own graphical style. I want more of this. And since you’d have a pretty crappy game of poker with only four people playing, presumably there’s some unrevealed characters yet. So who would you like to see get added to the field?

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65 Comments »

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  1. robrob says:

    Poker in the Inventory? I hardly know her!

    • MD says:

      This probably says more about my mental state than the quality of your joke, but thanks for the making me giggle :)

  2. ChaK_ says:

    I don’t like the strong cool thingy dude

  3. Dmo says:

    He’s a lagomorph.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      As every educated gamer knows, “lagomorph” is just Greek for “rabbity-thing”.

  4. Rick says:

    The heavy looks great on TTG’s engine there. Very atmospheric.

  5. James says:

    Ha!

    Yeah though, this is insane. It would be a bad joke if it wasn’t real, and you all must realize that.

    • Tei says:

      It depends on the implementation. If anything, this is ruined by not including Minsc and Boo or $insert_here_your_favorite_evil_character

    • Sarlix Wester says:

      I was just thinking Minsc.

      ‘A den of stinking evil. Cover your nose Boo! we will leave no crevice untouched!’

      Surely Guy Brush will make an appearance?

    • sfury says:

      SHODAN as an AI player?

  6. Rinox says:

    I would have totally shelled out cash on a poker game with all TF2 classes.

  7. Mr Chug says:

    If they don’t have a scene where Heavy rips off Max’s scalp and uses it as a hat, I’m not buying it.

    If they do, I’m buying it for me and all my friends.

  8. Sarlix Wester says:

    Will Fred Wester be there?

  9. Tei says:

    A furry, a boxer, a mercenary, and a webcomic author enters a bar…

    • Tei says:

      ..and ask for 2 beers.
      “Why 2 beers?”, ask the barman.
      – Well – say Tycho – half the time I defend the position of the industry on my webcomic. That counts as mercenary.
      “but that will be still 3 beers”
      – Well… – Tycho replies uneasy – I am furry too.
      Max remove his mask, and shows… Max is Tycho!. Then is seen that Tycho whas all the time a remote controlled drone by the industry. He is a robot, and a furry!.

      – Beer, beer, beer, BEEEEERRRR – a group of vikings in the background is singing.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      *tea nose snort*

    • BooleanBob says:

      More jokes please, Tei. Write a book if you can!

    • pipman3000 says:

      you are the best poster here.

  10. rocketman71 says:

    Bah

  11. Brumisator says:

    WTF? it’s really a poker game?

    …well…uh…okay.

  12. Miko says:

    Well this is the least exciting gaming news of the year so far.

  13. AbyssUK says:

    I call DOG from HL2 as one of the extra characters.. or maybe gman with his briefcase full of chips

  14. Skinlo says:

    Which engine are they all being rendered in? Surely the different light models and graphics will require different engines?

  15. MD says:

    I can’t imagine poker ever being fun without real opponents, but who knows. They’re taking the right approach, I guess, going for character rather than purity.

  16. Hideous says:

    Why would it require different engines? You can have different shaders and different light rendering algorithms in the same engine, you know.

  17. Captain Yarrrr says:

    Ugh, wasted oppertunity right here. If a company has a liscense to a bunch of characters, the one thing that they really need to do is make a Super Smash Bros-esque fighting game. Because watching the Heavy punch in Strongbads face would make me smile.

    • Rick says:

      Well, you should have realised when this was first announced that a) there was no way in Hell, LLC that an adventure game studio that has expressed little interest for developing action games would not be making a rip-off of a Super Smash Bros or any other similar game and b) TTG has been long asked to do a more high profile followup to Telltale Texas Hold’em.

      Besides, if there isn’t a situation in the game where the Heavy doesn’t punch Strong Bad, or get into a firefight with Max somehow, I’d be surprised.

  18. commenter says:

    Do you think it is a wise idea playing poker against the heavy? I mean it is a wise idea to play anything where the heavy risk losing against the heavy?

  19. Jim9137 says:

    Lacks Doomguy. Duke. Bioforge dude. The SPOON.

    mostly it lacks the spoon. Oh, the dreams. ;_;

  20. The Pink Ninja says:

    Ooooooooooooooh this is bad…

  21. Dominic White says:

    They’ve mentioned that despite being a $5 poker game, there’s more dialogue in this than one of their Sam & Max episodes. That means there should be a lot of potential banter between the four. That bodes well.

    It’s one of my personal shames that I never learned to play poker. Maybe it’s time.

  22. jon_hill987 says:

    I want to see J.C. Denton in there.

    “You’re vearing sunglasses on a night operation?”

  23. Xocrates says:

    Why do I get the feeling reading the article that Mr. Walker hasn’t even heard of Telltale’s Texas Hold’em?

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Because he hasn’t? :)

      I liked it… Even thou:
      1) it cries – get a new engine ALREADY!
      2) I’m glad I got it for free during their promo :)

  24. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    We need more PC All-Stars games ! (beside the indie equivalent of Smash Bros. and to some extend, Garry’s Mod)

    • Simon says:

      Indie equivalent of SSB? Where what how when givez please? :D

  25. GibletHead2000 says:

    If I were going to play a poker game, I think I would play this poker game.

    I bet they could make a killing licensing it to an online casino, or something like that. ;-)

  26. Brulleks says:

    And in the next exciting Telltale release, Max Payne, Serious Sam, Lara Croft and Postal Dude will gather together in some of the most exotic locations on Earth for a game of Tiddlywinks.

  27. H says:

    I’ll get this even though I don’t know how to play poker. I hope it teaches me. I really do.

  28. Rinox says:

    At least the game won’t take itself seriously. The current global mediatisation/professionalisation of poker is just ridiculous for a game that relies largely on luck. They may as well organise a Ludo, Risk or Monopoly World Series.

    Late night Risk programs > late night poker programs.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Well…no. Being a winning poker player relies largely on maths, specifically having a good understanding of equity and expected value. That’s how poker professionals make a living out of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      Right. It can’t be mostly luck if some people are consistently winning a lot more than some other people. While it is luck on the micro scale of an individual hand, good judgment and a fine appreciation of the odds is necessary to win matches, which are decidedly macro.

    • Nick says:

      You see, you have to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run.

    • SubterraneanRivers says:

      A ‘Risk’ world serious would blow my mind

    • Rinox says:

      The math aren’t very hard. You could do it, I could do it.

      The biggest reason why there are people who consistently (and this is very relative, there are no ‘dominant’ poker players like say a Federer in tennis) is because of a combination of the law of numbers (if X amount of people are getting lucky/not lucky, there will always be a person who got more lucky than the others in the long run) and the fact that is a self-fulfilling prophecy: once you get into the circuit and establish a name, tournaments will actually invite you and give you the money to play with instead of having you put down the entrance fees (which can be quite steep).

      I’m not saying there isn’t SOME skill involved, but most people who are above averagely intelligent can learn the math rapidly. Reading people is more of a talent, but at the top levels reading isn’t very useful since most people have mastered their tics. On a less objective note, I have a hard time believing that a world class douche like Hellmuth can be attribute any superhuman intelligence or psychological skills. :P

      Risk is almost the same as poker in that a) you can easily learn the math (odds on the dice) and b) reading people’s intentions is an important part of the game.

      In short, I define any game that can be won by sheer luck as a non-sport. If you have a basic grasp of the rules of tennis and get really lucky, you still won’t beat a world class tennis player. If you have a basic grasp of the rules of poker and get really lucky, you can definitely beat a collection of world class poker players. That’s the biggest difference, and why poker isn’t a skill-based sport imho.

    • Rinox says:

      The math isn’t very hard. You could do it, I could do it.

      The biggest reason why there are people who consistently (and this is very relative, there are no ‘dominant’ poker players like say a Federer in tennis) is because of a combination of the law of numbers (if X amount of people are getting lucky/not lucky, there will always be a person who got more lucky than the others in the long run) and the fact that is a self-fulfilling prophecy: once you get into the circuit and establish a name, tournaments will actually invite you and give you the money to play with instead of having you put down the entrance fees (which can be quite steep).

      I’m not saying there isn’t SOME skill involved, but most people who are above averagely intelligent can learn the math rapidly. Reading people is more of a talent, but at the top levels reading isn’t very useful since most people have mastered their tics. On a less objective note, I have a hard time believing that a world class douche like Hellmuth can be attribute any superhuman intelligence or psychological skills. :P

      Risk is almost the same as poker in that a) you can easily learn the math (odds on the dice) and b) reading people’s intentions is an important part of the game.

      In short, I define any game that can be won by sheer luck as a non-sport. If you have a basic grasp of the rules of tennis and get really lucky, you still won’t beat a world class tennis player. If you have a basic grasp of the rules of poker and get really lucky, you can definitely beat a collection of world class poker players. That’s the biggest difference, and why poker isn’t a skill-based sport imho.

  29. Zero says:

    As far as finding a not-shit poker sim, which can read and bluff, try Poker Academy. That’s a good one — it’s based on a university research project called “Pokibot” that I think is still up and running. The AI learn your style and adapt, there’s a few hundred carefully-tuned profiles, and they got the idea for the strongest ones from the books of David Sklansky, far and away the best theorist in the game. I think it’s still 30 bucks, but I’m at work so I’m not sure.

  30. bit_crusherrr says:

    I don’t know why bought I bought this as soon as I saw it. I don’t even know how to play poker.

    Maybe It will get some some exclusive hat on TF2… which I don’t like :X

  31. Did you know that? says:

    Most engines have the ability to apply different lighting effects to different textures.

    Now you know.

  32. Diziet says:

    This almost makes up for the disappointment I currently feel! Thank you!

  33. Anthony says:

    As to other decent Poker games, I have become sadly addicted to playing Hold ‘Em in Red Dead Redemption. It’s also fun to get caught cheating.

  34. GewaltSam says:

    That is not right. If you play a hundred hands, luck decides mostly. If you play a hundred thousand hands, your overall performance decides.

    I started playing Poker like 3 or 4 years ago (shortly after the big boom), and i invested quite some time into strategy and the maths behind it. While I am far away from being pro (or even halfway decent, as it requires lots of time and discipline), I would say i gathered some insight on the game.
    The principles of poker aren’t hard to learn, but it’s far from easy to master. There is so much you have to take into account (or at least you COULD take into account), that not everybody is able to learn it; not even close. If you play poker on a low skill level it is so much different from what goes on in high stakes play. And you CAN master it if you bring the needed time, effort and intelligence.
    What’s important too is that there are two kinds of playing poker: playing it online where people are grinding hundreds of thousands of hands for money or playing it on the table, where you wouldn’t have that much hands in a lifetime, but where you need to read your opponent by “physical signs”. Offline play seems much more like luck, but trust me: play a few hundred hands with a pro and he will read you like an open book and adapt to what you are doing. Online play meanwhile depends so much on math it’s not the slightest bit funny. You don’t need to know much to be a winning player on lower stakes, but to win on mid or high stakes regularly, you need to know what you’re doing. Try to see it like that: Hundreds of dollars are on the table, and people will try everything to get an edge in winning this money. So you need to be tough or lose everything you got. Some people are playing like 1k to 2k hands a day (mostly by multi-tabling), and if you play like 250k hands a year, it’s not luck, its your overall skill on what your winnings (or losings) depend. You could have what’s called an up- or downswing, but the more you play, the more luck steps behind your skill. And that’s a fact.
    And don’t tell me “they are not better at playing poker, they just got lucky” – that’s not the case. There are few to none players out there making big money in a long time period by playing bad poker and not really knowing the maths behind it. And i mean all of the maths, not just the basics like pot odds. For example, ever heard of fold equity? Reversed pot odds? Squeeze play, the right amount of a potsize bet, semibluffing, etc.? And if you do, you mastered all that? I could go on, and honestly, some of the things i mentioned i don’t understand either, but that’s not my point. The guys and gals that are winning at Poker know their odds and try to always get the edge on their opponents. That’s what makes them winning players.

  35. GewaltSam says:

    Sorry guys, that was a reply to Rinox’ comment.