Postal is series of games that are created by Arizona-based game company, Running with Scissors. The first game was released in 1997, and spawned one already released sequel, and a (Uwe Boll directed) movie.
Postal, also known as Postal 1, was a video game released in 1997. Now that the useless basics are out of the way, lets get down to what makes the original Postal such a great game.
In Postal, you play The Postal Dude, a man who is paranoid that everyone around him is a psychopathic killer bent on making him six feet under. And The Postal Dude's reaction to this paranoia is perfectly rational, he decides to arms himself with enough weapons to take on Texas, and begins massacring and ransacking trippy, hand-painted towns with a voraciousness and totality that would make even vikings squeamish.
But then again, vikings aren't quite what they used to be.
And that is pretty much the extent of the storyline. The only other things you'll learn are bits and pieces from The Postal Dude's journal in between levels, and an ending that will require you to grab your mind and twist it around like a Rubik's Cube to try and figure out what in the hell happened. And no, I'm not going to tell you the ending, go buy the game and see it for yourself, it's worth it.
The objective of the player in Postal is to go through each level, killing every hostile (aka, anybody and anything that exists) in the level to pass onto the next. To some jaded gamers of now-adays, who have been raised on the later Grand Theft Autos and other games of massive violence and sandbox play, Postal is nothing more than just an old game, with crude graphics and splotchy blood, and not anything worth causing a shitstorm of biblic proportions about. But If you are old enough to remember a time when Quake multiplayer was the greatest god-damned thing on the planet, and Diablo was moody, dark and gritty, not happy, bright and cartoony (Looking at you, Diablo 3), then you will probably remember the "small" stir that Postal caused when it hit shelves in 1997.
Postal was criticized heavily by Senator Joe Lieberman, who cited the game's allowance of the player to kill soldiers, men, women, children, police, and just about everything else that moved, in many different gory ways, as being harmful and detrimental to the youth of America.
Pictured: The day after playing Postal, according to Senator Lieberman.
The multiple different weapons and ways you could kill people in the game, and the manner in which the game presented a situation for the player to go on a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque killing frenzy, caused something in Senator Lieberman to break faster than a fat woman on a playground swing, and go into a rampage of his own to get Postal banned.
I couldn't find a picture of a fat girl breaking a swing, so here's a kitty in a hoodie!
Due to it's bad press, the game was pulled off the shelves by many retailers within only two weeks of it being released. Senator Joe Lieberman gave the game such a bad reputation as one of "America's most harmful media products", that the game was even pulled from shelves by Panasonic, who published the game originally. It was banned in many countries as being "too violent", and as if that wasn't enough, Running With Scissors was sued by the Postmaster General's office, also known as the office that runs the United States Postal Service, over a trademark suit of the word "Postal", which Running With Scissors did eventually win in 2003. It is estimated that the original game did not even sell over 250,000 copies worldwide, due to many countries banning the game completely. This did not stop the fine people of Running With Scissors from continuing on with their series, which brings me to my next section:
Nice transition eh? eh? Ah screw it let's just get on with this.
First the basics: Postal 2, (correctly styled as Postal2) is a computer game that was released in 2003, by Running with Scissors. Unlike the first game, which featured a top-down and sometimes isometric view akin to the Diablo series, Postal 2 is is played from a first-person perspective instead. It also features many more enemies than the first game, and it's gameplay progression is much less linear, which in normal speech, means you can just run around and do what you want instead of the actual objectives, ala sandbox-style play.
Contrary to the first game, this one actually has a somewhat coherent plot, with clear goals, but it is still a bit hazy on the details. The main idea is that you are once again the Postal Dude, somehow not dead or arrested after your first rampage, and you are living peacefully in the fictional town of Paradise, Arizona and you have errands to finish before Friday (the end of the game). Paradise is also known as the most bat-shit crazy place in all of Arizona, unless you count Tucson of course. You live in a trailer with your wife who you hate, and your lovable hound, Champ, who you also love/hate. The game starts with you waking up on Monday, only to get bitched at by your wife. This pattern repeats Monday to Friday, with the only difference being that each day you get a different set of objectives to finish before you can start the next day. You do not have to do these objectives in order, and you can do them whenever you please, whether it be after an afternoon snack, or your 3rd straight massacre of the day.
Some of the day's objectives are normal ones, like picking up milk or picking up your paycheck from Running with Scissors (that's right, the people who made the game put themselves in the game as the main character's employer). Others are just completely insane and humorous, such as get Gary Coleman's autograph, pissing on your dead father's grave, and getting a Krotchy doll, who is literally a kid's toy shaped like a pair of testicles.
And you thought I was joking.
And that is only the beginning for Postal 2's pure and unrelenting political incorrectness. The game features parts where you can kill Osama Bin Laden and take his "Weapon of Mass Destruction", taser people until they urinate on themselves, unzip your fly and urinate on someone else to make them throw up, stick guns up a cat's ass and use them as a silencer, and even more.
Surprisingly, Postal 2 did not start nearly as much controversy as it's predecessor, due in large part to Grand Theft Auto III coming out shortly before and taking up most of the criticism for violent video games at that time. Postal 2 did not, at first, sell very many copies, due in large part to the bad name associated with the Postal series and the fact that retailers did not want to chance getting in trouble or losing business by stocking such a game. It did eventually catch on and get a much larger player base, once the stigmata of violent and controversial video games died down a bit. But enough about the backstory and plot, let's get to the action.
Now you may think that since Postal 1 was infamous for its large amount of blood and gore and its brutal premise, that Postal 2 could do no less than to kick it up a notch in the "Kill-them-all!" department, well you'd be very, very right, and also partially wrong.
But mostly right.
This game does in fact out-do the first game to the nth degree, in almost every aspect, as I will discuss later. Yet the game also does something else that is completely opposite of the first game--it offers you the choice to play the entire game without killing even one single person. Sure it may be boring, and might make you want to take a shovel to your monitor, but the game still offers a choice. Even if it is a boring one. Though the "pacifist" choice is admittedly much harder to follow towards the second half of the game, when you have pretty much the entire US Armed Forces trotting around town, looking for a "mass killer" and starting giant fire-fights at random, even if you haven't killed a single person in game.
Oh come on, he's asking for it.
One of the best parts about Postal 2, is the option for selecting your difficulty. While most games will offer only the basic three or four modes (Easy, Medium, Hard, and sometimes Expert), Postal 2 has 13 different difficulty modes. Now that may seem like just a big waste, but a few of the modes actually change the way the game is played and how people react to you, not just the difficulty. The modes are:
Now thats some customizable difficulty right there. Now some of those difficulties may not seem bad, I mean in a normal FPS everyone is always trying to kill you anyway, right? Well you might change your mind after you see a few of the weapons that the good people of Paradise are packing.
And this is just how they say hello.
In the non-modded, original Postal 2, you still have an insane amount weapons, each of which can be used to cause untold amounts of mayhem, but because I am lazy, I will list only the basic ones that I find interesting. Deal with it.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. With mods and expansions the number of weapons you can have rises to the level of unwieldiness, but it's still funner than hell. Especially the cat cannon.
Postal 2 was much more successful than the first game, selling many more copies, and even earning a 79% out of 100 from PC Gamer, and a 7.5 out of 10 from Game Informer. Other critics, such as Computer Gaming World, gave postal a 0 and said that, "Postal 2 is the worst product ever foisted upon consumers." Regardless of the bad reviews, Postal 2 has actually gained quite a large cult following, and it even did well enough to warrant the creation of an expansion pack, entitled, Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend.
Sadly, his wife does not look like that.
In Apocalypse Weekend, you play the Postal Dude as he wakes up on Saturday in the hospital for a head-wound (The Postal Dude shot himself in the head because his wife would not stop bitching), to find out his wife has left him, and has taken his trailer and his dog. This of course pisses the Postal Dude off, and throughout the entire game his main mission is to kill his wife, and take back his dog and his trailer, even though the Apocalypse is happening around him, hence the title.
Throughout the game, the Postal Dude's head-wound causes him to experience hallucinations where he is attacked by giant mobs of Gary Coleman, and he must defeat them to get back to the normal game. Apocalypse Weekend also features a large number of boss monsters throughout the game, and many new weapons, such as machetes and scythes.
I suppose he just didn't...reap what he had sown? I'm sorry.
Eventually, you retake your trailer and your dog, and as you drive away you let off a nuclear bomb you had been saving to blow up a rival game company, and you head out for newer and better sights.
Postal 3, (officially known as Postal III), is an upcoming game from Running with Scissors. it is due to be released in 2010 for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Xbox 360. There is even a Playstation 3 port in the works, due to be released shortly after the initial release.
The story of Postal 3 is still sadly unrevealed, all that Running with Scissors has said is that you arrive in Paradise's sister town of Catharsis after having decided to move there after blowing up Paradise with a nuclear bomb at the end of Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend, and as tends to happen when the Postal Dude is around, people start killing other people, en masse.
The game will still have the sandbox style play of its predecessor, but no word is given yet as to whether or not there will still be daily objectives. One change that has been confirmed in Postal 3 is perspective. The game has been changed from first person to third person, and now allows you to now see the Postal Dude as you move around the city, blowing everything from here to hell.
It has also been said that a good amount of the old Postal 1 & 2 weapons will be returning, along with a few new ones that sound like quite a lot of fun, such as:
Now if that isn't awesome, I don't know what is.
There is also supposed to be the integration of special vehicles in the game, for the first time in the series. Sadly, not a lot has been said about what the Postal Dude will be allowed to cruise around in, but one has been verified--The Segway. That's right, the Dude can cruise around in the Segway, causing all kinds of hell.
Now you might be saying, "Really Running with Scissors? A Segway? Why not just give him a walker while you're at it. Talk about a 'special' ride." And any other day I would agree and join in with the mocking, but Running with Scissors has proved my opinion of the Segway wrong:
Running with Scissors are the first people in the world to make a Segway a bad-ass ride.
Yes, that is the Postal dude riding around on a Segway, firing his gun, and blowing up cars. If this doesn't make you immediately want to buy Postal III, then you are beyond hope.
I want you to think long and hard about the year 2007. Keep thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Okay you can stop now.
I said stop.
STOP GOD DAMNIT!
That's better. Now that I have your attention again, and the year 2007 is in your head, I want you to think about a movie that came out then called Postal. Sound familiar? Odds are probably not, because it was directed by Uwe Boll, and was shown on only 21 theatres across the nation. I mean holy shit, only 21, even a completely horrible movie would still be released to a few thousand theatres. Right about now you must be thinking, wow this movie must have really sucked to have gotten such universal theatrical scorn, and you'd be wrong. It is actually a good movie, at least as good as a movie on Postal can be. Sure it is very, very politically incorrect and all, but it is actually good. Now normally I wouldn't be caught dead writing about a Uwe Boll movie, because the stench of even thinking about such a movie it would burn all the hair off of everyone's eyebrows in a 100 mile radius.
And these babies need to be protected.
But I will say that Postal actually changed my opinion of Uwe Boll. And as much as it pains me to say, Uwe Boll actually made a good movie. This is the first movie that he has made based on a game, that the fans of the game will actually like for once, not make them all want to form an angry mob to burn down the theater.
Pictured: The release day of In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
The movies' plot is actually much better than that of the game's, namely because the movie actually has one. Though some parts you can tell were put in there just for shock value, some actually manage to be memorable, such as the scene with Little Germany (Think the most seriously fucked up child theme park in the world, then staff it with Germans who get drunk and act and dress in Lederhosen, and Nazi uniforms. And that is the most politically correct part of that scene.), while, like any other movie, there are some that just fall flat.
Now, Postal is most certainly not for everyone, especially conservatives or anyone who has problems with racial slurs, monkeys raping Mini-Me, boobs, or just all around total wrongness, and should not be viewed by such folks as they will just completely be unable to enjoy the movie. Now if you have an open mind, are a fan of the games, or just want to watch something really funny, then check it out. Just do NOT watch the film with your grandmother and/or parents and/or anybody really, I learned that lesson the hard way.
Hi there sonny, what are you watchi--OH MY GOD! What are those monkeys doing to that midget?
Regardless of the Postal series' controversy, it still has a large fan base, and a thriving mod community. There have been too many mods released to name all of them, so I will only list the best ones that I have tried:
Any of those three up there go with Postal 2 very well, and are funner than a barrel of monkeys, at least if you enjoy the Postal experience.
Running with Scissors has also released a few compilations of their games, the best of which is the "Postal 10th Anniversary Collectors Edition", which comes in a box of "Krotchy-O's", and includes Postal 1: Classic and Uncut, Postal 2: Share the Pain, Postal 2 Apocalypse Weekend, and Eternal Damnation, A Weekend in Paradise, a cd of "Music to Go Postal By", and even some stickers of Postal characters.
Yes, Krotchy-O's, now with Krotchy-shaped marshmallows!
For more information about the Postal series, check out the links below.