We may spend much of our time here looking back on comic-related video games of the past. But it’s also hard not to be excited about future video games when it comes to Marvel specifically. After years of what seemed to be a relatively disinterested approach to the gaming world, the company is ramping up its efforts now. We’ve already seen an Avengers game released for major consoles (along with subsequent updates), and there are rumored to be numerous similar offerings in the works.
That alone makes for a lot of excitement. A Marvel fan can reasonably talk themselves into just about any character, team of characters, or storyline producing a quality console game. At the same time though, it’s a lot of fun to think outside the box with regard to Marvel’s renewed efforts in gaming. And to that point, I’ve come to a weird conclusion: Marvel should produce its own poker arcade game.
- Every Single Character Would Be Fair Game
In last year’s look at some new Cyclops content from Marvel, it was noted that this particular X-Men hero has long polarized fans. People either love him or hate him, and naturally this affects the enthusiasm for comics, films, and even games involving Cyclops. Some may have been thrilled to see him given a prominent role in the modern X-Men films; some may be disappointed to draw the character for their teams in Marvel’s combat-oriented mobile games, and so on.
In a poker game though, every character would be fair game, because there really wouldn’t be protagonists or main focal points. Marvel could conceivably populate a game like this with hundreds or thousands of heroes and villains randomly rotating around poker tables. There would be no risk of a polarizing character turning players away.
- Personalities & Powers Would Be Fun
This point more or less speaks for itself. Just to dig into it a little bit though, it would be a lot of fun to see Marvel work character personalities, powers, and backgrounds into a game like this. While a poker game would obviously have relatively little action, it could actually be almost more like a comic in conveying the traits that define characters. Whether that means Wolverine is gruffly downing beers at his corner of the table, Spider-Man is seizing poker chips with his web, or anything of the sort, it would be a ton of fun if done well.
- Game Variety is Easy
For a lot of people today, “poker video game” is basically synonymous with “Texas Hold’Em.” And in all likelihood that would be the core style of poker in a Marvel game such as this. We know that above all else Marvel likes to inject new content into its projects and keep things fresh for fans though, which means a game solely revolving around Hold’Em probably isn’t there style. In this case though, adding variety would be easy.
First and foremost, there are other styles of poker. After Hold’Em, Omaha poker is known as the next most popular variety, and is very easy for Hold’Em players to pick up (given that the two are quite similar). And even beyond Omaha, various forms of “draw” and “stud” poker could be built in, such that players could enjoy more options over time. Furthermore, if this went well and the game was succeeding, Marvel could easily progress to other casino-style games, like blackjack or craps. Basically, it would be easy to add depth to a Marvel poker game.
- Poker is Outrageously Popular
This point, too, speaks for itself. But suffice it to say poker remains incredibly popular all around the world. If we keep in mind that Marvel’s primary goals at all times are to expand its audience and increase that audience’s enthusiasm, it’s almost harder to argue against a poker game than for one.
- There’s Comic Precedent
Finally — and probably most convincingly to die-hard comics fans — there’s precedent in Marvel work! Chronicles of The Thing’s poker games lasted through a number of different issues, injecting some straight-up poker drama into Marvel’s comics just 15 years or so ago. This running saga, sometimes referred to as “The Thing’s Floating Superhero Poker Game,” indicates that there are at least some in the larger Marvel creative universe who are interested in the game. A poker video game wouldn’t have to be based specifically on this strain of comic poker competition, but the latter still provides something of a foundation for the idea.
So, there you go. I understand this hypothetical game may never exist, and certainly isn’t at the top of Marvel’s list of priorities. But I also think it would be fun, profitable, and — by comparison to lots of other modern Marvel projects — pretty easy to make.