Tag Archives: WSOP Full House Pro

Not bluffing over Poker Night 2’s poor performance

poker night inventory 2 first imp

Last month, I dipped my big toe into the videogaming poker pool with World Series of Poker: Full House Pro, which is basically a poker game captained by Avatars with some cosmetic-only items to earn to pretty up your table while you wait for other players to make their moves. It’s all right, though the camera is wonky and I found it quite easy to lose all my money in a single gulp, but maybe that latter part is my fault and not directly the game’s. I haven’t gone back since I first touched it because, well…poker. But also because it just wasn’t very exciting and actually a bit of a technical mess, freezing up on me a handful of times, enough to birth an audible groan.

Anyways, for October, PlayStation Plus was offering Poker Night 2 for free for subscribers, and I will literally snatch up anything on the DownloadStation 3 so long as the price on the store is crossed off and replaced by the word free and isn’t 145 GB big (sorry, Uncharted 3, not gonna happen–ever). I never touched the original Poker Night at the Inventory and–wait a second. Hold up, everybody. I just noticed something. Is the second game called Poker Night 2 or Poker Night at the Inventory 2? I am finding it written both ways rather consistently across the board on this strange, uncontrollable mass of data we call the Internet. Whatever, I’ll stick with the shorter title for posting purposes. Sometimes it really sucks being a copyeditor because you can’t unsee some things.

Poker Night 2 is both your standard poker game and not. Yes, you play a tournament of Texas Hold ‘Em (or Omaha) until you eliminate the other players or see yourself turning out empty pockets, and the rules remain the same. There are small blinds and betting and checking and folding and all that jazz. It’s who you play with that is strange and beautiful; these are not randomly created Avatars or even real players via online multiplayer. No, you are going head to head with Sam from the Sam & Max franchise, Brock Samson from The Venture Bros., Ash Williams from The Evil Dead franchise, and Claptrap from the Borderlands series. Oh, and Portal‘s GLaDOS takes a supporting role as the dealer and player insulter. It’s a bizarre group of guys (well, not counting Mad Moxxi as the bartender and GLaDOS), but that’s where the game gets interesting, watching them interact with each other. That feeling of just hanging out, shooting the shit, and playing some poker is nailed expertly here, and any time I got eliminated from a tournament, I selected to watch the rest play out instead of skipping to the next round, as I cannot get enough of Brock’s dry humor and Claptrap’s overzealous attitude.

But here’s a question: why is every product Telltale Games puts out glitchy as frak? Jurassic Park: The Game and The Walking Dead suffer from constant hitching and weird transitions from gameplay to loading screens. It doesn’t make sense to me, and you’d think a company like them, at this point down the line, would’ve figured it out. I mean, I’m no programmer, but from the outside looking in, Poker Night 2‘s engine does not look very taxing, and yet the game would constantly freeze for ten to fifteen seconds before a new conversation would start, which is long enough for me to consider powering down the PlayStation 3. This became a regular aspect of playing Telltale’s poker and now I’ve learned to live with it, but what a shame.

As you play and win, you can earn tokens, which can be spent on cosmetic items, like themed decks and table felts. I’ve unlocked all the Borderlands items so far, which not only change how things look, but also prompt some new dialogue from our gaggle of goofy guests. You can also buy drinks for everyone, which will loosen them up and help reveal their tells; I tried this, but I’m no better at telling when digital characters are lying–thanks, L.A. Noire–than I am at with real-life people. It’s definitely skill, one I will always lack.

But otherwise, Poker Night 2 is at least a more original poker game, standing heads above its competition, and I give Telltale credit for selecting zany as its main attribute and turning it up to 11. I’d certainly rather listen to these characters chit and chat than simply hear nothing at all or, perhaps worst, some generic, uninteresting music looping. I’ll probably play a few more rounds in hopes of unlocking some other themed items, but after that, there’s not much else to do here. I’ll walk away poorer than ever before, but rich with great stories.

The Half-hour Hitbox: September 2013

half-hour hitbox sept 2013

And we’re back, for the second edition of Half-hour Hitbox. This is a new feature I debuted last month on Grinding Down wherein I touch shortly upon the videogames that I’ve touched shortly upon over the last month. See, it’s full circle and thematic and what-have-you. Sometimes I don’t get to write about every game I play or try out or give three seconds of my precious time, which stinks, as I’ve been enjoying writing about games lately. But now I have a place, a special place once every thirty to thirty-one days, where I can scribble down at least a couple of sentences and thoughts about some of these titles before they are lost to time, like tears in the rain. Don’t sue me, Ridley Scott.

And away we go…

Tekken 5


I actually ended up playing quite a bit of Tekken 5, which makes its appearance on this month’s Half-hour Hitbox a bit misleading, but whatever. When I began putting this post together, all I had done at that point was play a few rounds and marvel at the fact that you can experience the arcade versions of previous Tekken games by emulating from the main menu. But now, I’ve unlocked everyone possible via beating the Arcade mode over and over, as well as tried the “Devil Within” side story game, which is not as fun as I remember from the Tekken 3 days. You’re have a limited move list, fight the same goons one after the other, and the map and dungeon layout is so boring to the point of confusing. Wish this had volleyball or bowling…



This free-to-play game for my Windows 8 phone kind of came out of nowhere. And at first glance, it’s quite surprisingly. Like a mobile Red Dead Redemption, which, mind you, I’ve still not played despite it appearing on my annual sad-woe-is-me lists come the end of the year. You travel around the Wild West, shooting evil critters and creatures, riding horses, finding maps, collecting stuff, and doing missions for kind folks. Quite a lot here from the early look, but I’ve not yet sat down and actually played much of it to know if it is worth the effort.

World Series of Poker: Full House Pro


I’m not a big poker player, and if anything, I’m more likely to go a few rounds with Blackjack over at my landlord’s house using pretend money and enjoying a mixed drink with friends. I understand how poker works just fine, but I’m a terrible gambler. I never fold, just keep checking, because I like playing and being involved, and folding means you’re all by your lonesome, sitting there to watch others experience the hot action.

There’s a lot more here in WSOP: Full House Pro than just poker, but it all seems cosmetic stuff that you can really only get by playing a whole bunch of poker. Basically, you can unlock stuff for your Avatar to wear, new table and chair designs, chip tricks, and so on, to make this digital experience all the more your own. I was able to beat a pro in the single player campaign thanks to a really lucky hand of two Queens, but otherwise, I’ve had piss-poor luck and probably won’t play much more.

Halo: Spartan Assault (Lite)


I don’t even remember this. I guess I played, like, a demo for Halo: Spartan Assault. Must have been during a fugue state or something though. It’s still on my phone. I don’t know what to tell y’all.

Ascend: Hand of Kul


Hmm. I actually quite like a lot about Ascend: Hand of Kul, and not just the part that it is free to play. At first, it seemed a bit generic, just another hack-and-slash action title that couldn’t get out of God of War‘s massive shadow, with a few spells to cast when not beating enemies over the head with clubs and stone axes. But then you begin to have human worshippers climb up on your god-size body, and you can eat them for health or throw them at bad dudes or let them shoot arrows from your shoulders. And other players can challenge your terroritory, and you have to fight them off or lose those that see you as their one true god. But, by far, my favorite thing about Ascend: Hand of Kul is its tiny text, which is impossible to read, and how it randomly freezes, forcing me to perform a hard shutdown on my Xbox 360.

The Sims FreePlay


Played The Sims FreePlay–side note, that is a horrible name–for a grand total of five minutes, just to see if it worked on my Windows 8 phone. It does, just fine. Also unlocked an Achievement for having my dog dig up something in the backyard. Woo!

Silent Hill 2


Now that I have finished Chrono Cross and put it behind me, I can move on to another game from my list of must-beats for 2013. I’m tackling Silent Hill 2 next, as the cooling weather and looming month of October are simply perfect for exploring a mysterious, fog-heavy town full of demonic monsters that are undeniably the stuff of nightmares. Last time I gave this a go was back in 2008 during an unbearable New Jersian summer and…well. Started over from scratch and played for about an hour and a half so far, which puts James in that first creepy apartment complex full of rooms I don’t want to go in. Solved the clock puzzle and saved my game. More tonight, I’m sure.

The Half-hour Hitbox is a new monthly feature for Grinding Down, covering a handful of videogames that I’ve only gotten to play for less than an hour so far. My hopes in doing this is to remind myself that I played a wee bit of these games at one time or another, and I should hop back into them, if I liked that first bite.