Poker Night at the Inventory is one of those games where its entire premise is in the title of the game – it’s a poker game. You can’t really drastically change the game of poker itself. However, you can do what Telltale Games have done – add some interesting characters to it.
Poker Night enlists some of the Internet’s most beloved characters into one underground club, facilitated in a video-game storage warehouse: The RED Heavy (Team Fortress 2), Tycho (Penny Arcade), Strongbad (Homestar Runner) and Max from the Sam & Max games. Each character has their own unique personality which, in the first and probably last time ever, will interact with characters from different series.
The game’s dialogue and interactions between these completely different characters from entirely different universes is what makes this game stand out so well and such a joy to play. There are hundred of unique voicelines for each character and a range of scenarios dictated by what happens during these tournaments of Poker that you, only known as The Player, happen to stumble across. Although the player remains completely silent during these confrontations, the other characters sometimes directly speak to the Player, or talk about the Player amongst themselves. This small recognition of the person behind the screen being validated and treated as if they were actually playing Poker with these dynamic depictions of fictional identities is really cool and gives that slightly cooler touch to a game where, like I said before, not much can really be done to make it accessible to people or to improve on it.
One other thing that makes Poker Night at the Inventory fun to play, prolonging its replayability, is that you can unlock different cosmetic decks and tables based on how many wins you get in the game and how you play, based on the franchises of the personalities that you play against. For example, a Team Fortress 2 pack with cards that feature characters from that intellectual property. Not only this, but the game keeps track of your statistics over the course of several games and unlockable items for Team Fortress 2 for knocking out each different character.
There’s not much to say about Poker Night at the Inventory: It’s a unique take and nice breath away from the usual online poker games that you can play, complete with fun little customisations, great dialogue and some tutorials for those who aren’t familiar with poker. It remains mostly underground (funnily enough) as a game, thanks to Telltale’s unfortunate bankruptcy and consequently having their game delisted from Steam, but that doesn’t stop it being a small little gem for those who enjoy Poker and seeing characters from different universes interact.