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Poker Night at the Inventory

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Poker Night at the Inventory is an upcoming video poker game developed by Telltale Games. It will feature four crossover characters: Tycho from the Penny Arcade webcomic, Max from the Sam & Max franchise, the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, and Strong Bad from the Homestar Runner web series.


Poker Night is a computer-based Texas Hold 'Em poker simulation between the player as an unseen participant and the four characters, Max, Tycho, The Heavy, and Strong Bad. Each player starts with $10,000 and stays in the game until they are broke, with the goal of the player being the last player standing.[1]


Poker Night grew out of an idea from Telltale employees, wondering "what video characters do when they're not 'on the clock' in the games we play", according to Telltale CEO Dan Conners.[2] From there, they pitched the idea to other companies in the industry and were able to work out which characters they would be able to include.[2] Telltale considered how the four characters would interact with each other, developing dialog, banter, and reactions to certain plays.[3] The characters will be fully voiced, and will have distinctive tells and dynamic responses as the game progresses.[2] Conners stated the goal was to create the experience of "hanging out with their virtual buddies, shooting the breeze and playing a good game of poker".[3] Telltale is considering a potential series based on this game using different characters in the future, but would expect to see sales exceeding 100,000 to 200,000 units to make it feasible.[3]

Telltale Games have had previous experience working with several of the characters. Two of Telltale's episodic adventure series include three seasons of Sam & Max and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People based on the Homestar Runner web series; both were developed in conjunction with the original creators, Steve Purcell[4] and The Brothers Chaps[5], respectively. The appearance of Max and Strong Bad in Poker Night are based on the three-dimensional models from these games. The company's team were also fans of Valve's Team Fortress 2, including creating an informal team to participate in a competition between several game development studios; Telltale offered to create unique items based on Sam & Max to be given as a bonus gift for those that purchased the third season of Sam & Max through Steam, and formed a friendly working relationship with Valve as a result.[6]

Telltale aimed to make the game dialog-centric between the four featured characters. To that end, they created a large amount of dialog for each character and possible interactions between the characters; according to Jake Rodkin, Telltale's graphic designer and community manager, they wrote more lines of dialog for the game than a typical Sam & Max adventure episode.[1] Telltale always wanted to respect the original characters and worked with the individual creators and studios to improve the lines; they previously had gotten similar input from Matt Chapman for Strong Bad, while Jerry Holkins was extremely helpful to refine Tycho's character based on Telltale's draft dialog.[1] The developers also wanted to avoid any forced interactions, such as by making the Heavy threaten "I will murder!" at every bad turn and freaking out the other players. They developed what they felt were natural relationships: Tycho dislikes Strong Bad while getting along well with Max, while Heavy will look upon Strong Bad as a tiny Heavy.[1] The characters are also written to be somewhat cognizant of their nature; according to Rodkin, Tycho is aware the others are from video games, while Heavy remains blissfully unaware of his death-and-respawning cycle, simply attributing his memories of dying over and over again as dreams.[7]

Poker Night will be the first game that includes a voice artist for Tycho; this will be provided by voice actor Andrew "Kid Beyond" Chaikin (who had initially voiced Max in the first episode of Sam & Max Save the World). The other three characters will be voiced by their current voice actors: Max by William Kasten, Heavy by Gary Schwartz, and Strong Bad by Matt Chapman.[1] The game will include an optional language filter to censor stronger language in the game.[8] The game will use existing 3D models for Max, Heavy, and Strong Bad, while Tycho's is being built from scratch; at the time of the game's announcement near the Penny Arcade Expo, Telltale was still working on refining Tycho's model, though it was briefly seen during their Make a Scene panel at PAX.[9][10]

The game was teased by Telltale Games a week prior to its official announcement through a short video on Game Trailers TV, showing the silhouettes of the four characters' official art.[11] The game was officially announced by Telltale Games on September 2, 2010, the eve of the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Herring, Will (2010-09-06). PAX 2010: Poker Night at the Inventory. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Telltale Games (2010-09-02). "Telltale Announces the Citizen Kane of Poker Games". Press release. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Mastrapa, Gus (2010-09-03). Gamer Icons Talk Trash in Poker Night at the Inventory. Wired. Retrieved on 2010-09-03.
  4. Harold, Charles (2006-10-19). Dog and Rabbit Redux, and a Killer to Search Out. New York Times. Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  5. Interview With the Brothers Chaps. IGN (2008-04-14). Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  6. SnM + Steam = BFF. Telltale Games (2010-04-15). Retrieved on 2010-04-15.
  7. Rodkin, Jack (2010-09-03). Poker Night at the Inventory (some sort of crossover game?..). Telltale Games. Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  8. Rodkin, Jack (2010-09-03). Poker Night at the Inventory (some sort of crossover game?..). Telltale Games. Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  9. Rodkin, Jack (2010-09-03). Poker Night at the Inventory (some sort of crossover game?..). Telltale Games. Retrieved on 2010-09-06.
  10. Make a Scene with Telltale at PAX 2010
  11. Thompson, Mike (2010-08-28). Telltale Trailer Hints At Greatest Adventure Crossover Ever. Retrieved on 2010-09-03.

External links

Official website

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ContentTypeVideo Game +
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NamePoker Night at the Inventory +
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