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Postal 2
Postal2.jpg
Developer(s) Running with Scissors
Publisher(s) Whiptail Interactive , Linux Game Publishing (Linux Version)
Engine Unreal Engine 2.0
Version 1337 – Postal 2
1409 – P2: STP
1411 – P2: AW
Platform(s) Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
Release date(s) April 13, 2003
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: M (Mature)
OFLC: RC
USK: No release in Germany
Pegi: 18+
Media CD-ROM, download
System requirements Win 98, Me, 2000, XP, Pentium III 733 Mhz CPU, 128 MB RAM, DirectX 8.1, 32Mb DirectX 8.1 GeForce 2-class, DirectX Sound Card, 8× CD-ROM

Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, 700 MHz G3, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB Radeon or GeForce class video card

Linux Kernel 2.2 or later, Pentium 1GHz or better, Glibc 2.1.x or later, 128 MB RAM, OpenGL capable video card with 64 MB of RAM

Input methods Keyboard and mouse

Postal 2 (styled as Postal²) is a first-person shooter video game by Running with Scissors, and it is the sequel to the 1997 game Postal. Both are intentionally highly controversial due to high levels of violence and stereotyping. Unlike its predecessor, Postal 2 is played completely in first-person based on the Unreal Graphics Engine. Due to its graphic nature the game has been banned in Australia and several other places.

Contents

Plot

The player takes on the role of 'The Postal Dude' (all evidence given in-game indicates that the character's full legal name actually is "The Postal Dude, Jr.": his father's tombstone reads "T. Dude Sr."; characters constantly call him "Mr. The Dude" and a package for him is addressed to "P. Dude"), a tall thin man with a goatee, sunglasses, a blue alien t-shirt, and a long black leather coat. The Postal Dude also wears a Happy Smiley pin on his right lapel and a cross pin on his left one. 'The Postal Dude' lives in a trailer park with his nagging wife (only identified in the credits as 'Postal Dude's Bitch') in the town of Paradise, Arizona (there was, in fact, a real-life Arizona mining town called Paradise, which failed in the early 20th century, but there's no indication in the game of any intentional connection).

The game levels are split into days of the week starting Monday and finishing Friday. At the beginning of each day, Dude is given several tasks to accomplish, such as 'Get milk', 'Confess sins', and other seemingly mundane tasks. The purpose of the game is to finish all of the tasks throughout the week, and the player can accomplish these tasks in any way he wishes, be it as civilly or as chaotically as possible (it is possible, if occasionally difficult, to complete most tasks without engaging in battle, or, at least, killing other people). The daily tasks can be accomplished in any order, and the game includes one task that is only activated on a certain day if Dude performs a certain action.

Dude must put up with being flipped the bird, mugged, attacked by protesters, put upon by an obnoxious convenience store owner/terrorist and his patrons who cut before Dude in the "money-line", plus a marching band, a murderous toy mascot named Krotchy, the police and SWAT team, the ATF and the National Guard, a religious cult, savage butchers, psycho Taliban terrorists, and Gary Coleman, among many other things.

Gameplay

Interacting with a resident of Paradise

One of the major concepts of Postal 2 is that it is meant to be a "living world", a simulation of a tongue-in-cheek off-kilter town. Game characters live out their lives completely separate from the actions of Dude; walking around town, buying and selling merchandise, and even engaging in random shootouts with each other and the police.

Comparison with Grand Theft Auto

Like the Grand Theft Auto series, the game aims to be non-linear by allowing Postal Dude to explore the town of Paradise. At first, the Postal Dude can only enter the neighborhood areas directly adjacent to his own neighborhood, but new areas are unlocked as each day of the week passes. However, the local inhabitants also become progressively more violent and heavily armed as the week goes on, and on the final two days of the week, SWAT teams and National Guard squads patrolling Paradise wear heavy body armor and are well-armed. According to the storyline, they are there for a convention and in response to a request for assistance hunting down a spree killer. (It is implied that the killer is Postal Dude, regardless of whether or not he has been killing people during the course of the game.)

Unlike Grand Theft Auto, the game world is not one single large continuous map, but rather several different neighborhood maps broken up by loading zones (which are marked by road signs saying 'Load Zone'). One of the main gameplay complaints about the game upon its initial release was that the loading time for each new map was extremely long, seriously interrupting the flow of gameplay and reducing the motivation for exploring new areas. The vendor-released 1337 patch managed to significantly reduce load times.

Missions work differently than in Grand Theft Auto. Instead of choosing a mission and then carrying it out from the beginning to its end, players are given a series of tasks at the start of each day. They can then complete the tasks in any order they like, as they go along without having to specifically select them or initiate any missions.

Gary Coleman cameos

The game also features a cameo by Gary Coleman, acting as himself, who appears early on as the objective of one of the game's tasks (travel to the local shopping mall to get Gary's autograph). The player can choose to fight and kill Coleman as one of the game's two boss characters or simply have the book signed peacefully (after enduring a long line-up). Regardless of the Dude's actions, the police storm the building in an attempt to arrest Gary Coleman and a gunfight ensues which invariably results in Coleman's apparent demise, with or without the player's help. Later on in the game he can also be seen in the Police Station, when the player escapes from his cell he also frees everyone else—including Coleman, who can be seen running alongside Krotchy. Coleman apparently survives as he can be seen in the Apocalypse Weekend expansion, bandaged up in the hospital (various evil Gary Coleman clones also serve as recurring enemies during Postal Dude's constant hallucinations).

Props

The town features many cars but they are all "useless exploding props", according to Dude, and cannot be driven, although they can be blown up and sent flying into the air. In addition to cats and dogs, other animals present are elephants; these animals can be shot or set on fire—or simply annoyed by the player walking into them—causing them to trumpet with rage and attack anyone within stomping distance. A bizarre feature is the ability to pick up cats as an inventory item. When used, the Postal Dude shoves the barrel of the currently equipped firearm into the cat's anus (cats can only be used while equipped with a shotgun or assault rifle) as a 'silencer'. Every time a shot is fired, the cat meows in apparent agony, and the gunshot is muffled. After several shots the cat will be killed and will fly from the end of the weapon. Most dogs have the ability to befriend the Dude if he feeds them a continual supply of dog biscuits or feeds them any other food (pizza, donuts, fast food). Once a canine's loyalty has been earned, the dog will attack anyone who attacks the Dude, or alternatively, anyone whom the Dude attacks. Dogs will also chase and kill cats, and play fetch with the Dude's inventory items and also severed heads. There were also going to be cows included in the game, but they were left unprogrammed. They did appear in Apocalypse Weekend and the A Week in Paradise modification.

Game add-ons

Share the Pain

The updated edition of the game, entitled Postal 2: Share the Pain included a multiplayer mode. The Macintosh version of Postal 2 shipped only as Postal 2: Share the Pain. Share the Pain has since far eclipsed the original production version of Postal 2 in all markets, and from 2008 RWS released the multiplayer part of the game as freeware so it's still played and attracting new players.

Apocalypse Weekend

Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend (named such because the end of Postal 2 marks the beginning of the apocalypse in Paradise) was released by Running with Scissors, Inc. on May 12, 2005 for Windows, and September 28, 2005 for the Mac and Linux versions. Apocalypse Weekend expands the reaches of Paradise with new maps and missions, set on Saturday and Sunday, adds new weapons and foes, and raises Postal 2's gore and violence to an even greater level. All normal cats are also replaced with "dervish cats", which spin in a manner similar to that of Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil, attacking any nearby character when agitated. Dervish cats can also be collected and, rather than muffling guns, can be thrown at NPCs to attack them. While gameplay is similar to its parent Postal 2, Apocalypse Weekend is not as open-ended. The gameplay is more linear in design, with the player mostly forced to follow a certain path to complete the game—typical of most first-person shooter games. In addition, the player cannot play as a pacifist and is forced to kill animals and zombies in order to progress in the game. Both Postal 2: Share The Pain and Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend were ported to Linux and Macintosh by developer Ryan C. Gordon.

The add-on begins Saturday morning, with the Dude waking up in the hospital, his head bandaged from a near-fatal gunshot wound (while the Postal 2 ending leaves it ambiguous as to whether or not the Dude shot his wife or if his wife shot him; after he wakes up in the hospital he finds a card from his wife saying that she is leaving him, it was recently revealed on the official website[1] that the Dude shot himself due to his wife nagging him). The Dude proceeds through several missions including assignments from his former employers (RWS), encounters with zombies, and encounters with terrorists and the military. (With the exception of the zombies, it would appear the madness depicted at the end of Friday on the previous game has petered out). Periodically Dude's head wound causes him to enter a nether realm where he is attacked by creatures resembling Gary Coleman. Dude's ultimate goal is to recover his trailer and his dog. Throughout his weekend the Dude fights off hordes of zombies, rebels and the national guard until he finally faces "The God of Mad Cow disease". Once the Dude destroys it he leaves Paradise in his pickup truck with his dog and his trailer while Paradise explodes due to a massive nuclear warhead he "borrowed" to destroy a rival video game development and publishing company, which is believed to be Whiptail Interactive, which no longer publishes games by RWS but the name is obscured by black bars.. The Dude's last words of the game are "I regret nothing"

The expansion adds several new weapons, including a machete which can be thrown like a boomerang, serving as both a close- and long-range weapon, as well as sledgehammers and scythes which can also be thrown. Unlike the main game, Apocalypse Weekend also includes several "boss monster" encounters

A Week in Paradise

Created for the Fudge Pack compilation, A Week in Paradise is a slightly modified version of the main game, with several new maps added (including a college), additional weaponry (including nuclear weapons), and different outfits, hats and props for non-player characters. The zombies from Apocalypse Weekend also debut earlier in this version during an optional mission. The mod also gives the option for players to play the main Postal 2 and Apocalypse Weekend as a single continuous game, hence the title.

Eternal Damnation

A fan-produced mod that RWS included in its Fudge Pack compilation. Using the basic Postal 2 engine and elements, the game features completely new maps and a horror-based storyline that puts the player into the role of an escapee from a mental asylum. The zombies from Apocalypse Weekend play a major role in this modification, including a brand-new zombie (exclusive to Eternal Damnation) that resembles the plastinates of Body Worlds.

Controversy

Urinating on dismembered bodies in a terrorist training camp

The developers of the game counteracted criticism of the violence by claiming that the amount of violence is up to the players—they may go about their tasks without causing trouble, or they can create mayhem. Critics state that the game clearly urges people playing the game to indulge in homicidal behaviour, given that Dude is often attacked by ludicrous hate groups who despise everything from books to video games. Additionally, there are long queues when Dude visits the bank, the library, Church, and elsewhere. The people of Paradise are exceptionally rude and spit insults at Dude if he bumps into them, and furthermore weapons ranging from machine guns to rocket launchers are left lying around for him to collect.

Going on the rampage (or going postal, the phrase which the game is named after) is clearly encouraged, but never necessary. While difficult, it is possible for the player to complete the game without resorting to violence or having to kill anyone; although in this case, the player will have to resort to using cunning tactics to survive—including a greater temptation to steal and take drugs. Some missions put Dude into extremely hostile environments where he will be tempted to kill the people attacking him in order to survive, and at these moments the player will have to make a choice whether to fight or to flee. The attackers include book protesters who set the local library on fire and then attempt to murder everyone trapped inside, a band of armed robbers, and violent video game protesters who ironically begin brandishing weapons and opening fire on the Dude and the Running With Scissors (the company which makes the Postal series) staff without provocation.

In many of the scenarios presented, however, experienced players can make use of the game's version of monster infighting to actually cause police or other non-player characters to attack individuals who may be attacking the player, and thus escape from harm without inflicting any. Unlike other games that utilize the "monster infighting" feature (such as Doom), non-player characters do not have to be in the enemy's line-of-fire to enter "infighting" mode; some NPCs (particularly law enforcement and military characters) are programmed to attack anyone brandishing a weapon or firing same (an NPC fleeing in panic can also trigger an attack). In most (but not all) cases, once an enemy NPC is engaged by another NPC, he/she temporarily forgets about attacking the Postal Dude.

Several ambient features like advertisement signs, shop names, and interiors are loaded with some dark humor, thus exposing the decadent nature of Paradise. The game also involves some obvious inside jokes. Dude actually works for Running with Scissors, the game's developers, with its offices being the scene of a protest by a group opposed to violent computer games. Some of the company employees show up in other areas too, such as Mike Jaret, who appears as the cross-dresser in the gay bar, and executive producer Vince Desiderio, who appears as himself in the game. RWS personnel are considered allies to Postal Dude and will often attack NPCs that attack the player (although they may also attack Postal Dude if he accidentally or purposefully shoots at them several times in a row).

Some game critics regarded Postal 2 as being a single-joke affair which clearly sets out to shock and has limited play value, but it also has quite a cult following. Postal 2 did not achieve moral panic in the sense that the Grand Theft Auto series did. While violence and sexuality were part of both games, it is used with discretion in the GTA series, while it was excessive enough in Postal 2 that it was considered tasteless and senseless. Violence aside, reviewers gave low ratings to Postal 2 for its poor production values and occasional technical flaws. Unlike the GTA games, Postal 2's content was sufficiently over the edge to preclude widespread distribution, and many North American retailers would not stock it.

The game received additional negative publicity following the September 13, 2006, Dawson College shooting incident in Montreal. Media coverage regarding the shooter, Kimveer Gill, indicated that he played violent video games. Postal 2 was cited as one of these games, although some coverage by CTV erroneously stated that the game was only available for sale in the United Kingdom.

Regarding his views on the subject, Linux and Macintosh developer Ryan C. Gordon, who ported the game to those platforms, stated that he feels that the game holds a mirror to the worst aspects of modern society, saying in an interview that the game is a "brilliant caricature of our mangled, disconnected, fast-food society, disguised as a collection of dirty jokes and ultraviolence."[1]

Regardless of the critical commentary received by Postal 2, the game has earned a cult following and a movie has been produced.

Controversial aspects

Violence and police brutality

  • The option of attacking and/or killing police officers and soldiers, as well as bystanders.
  • Decapitating people with shovels or similar weapons (katana, machete etc.) and kicking the heads about.
  • Setting people on fire with a variety of methods, from gasoline and matches, to molotov cocktails and napalm launchers or even the kicking about of burning heads. If a kill by burning is achieved in multiplayer, the game will refer to it as a "Tibetan monk experience".
  • Stun gunning people until they cower on the ground and urinate on themselves.
  • When Postal Dude wears the police outfit and brutalizes innocent people, the other police officers openly admit that they are corrupt. At several points in the game, police NPCs are seen attacking and killing civilians for no apparent reason. Furthermore, while they will attempt to arrest Postal Dude if he commits a crime, they will always attempt to kill any NPCs they participate in monster infighting with, usually by beating the NPC to death with their batons even if the targeted NPC has surrendered and is begging for mercy. In multiplayer, if the player beats another player to death with a Police Baton, it is noted as the killed player's "Rodney King Impression"
  • Playing "fetch" with dogs using the severed heads of slain NPCs (it should be noted that dogs "friendly" to the player will also fetch any non-food items dropped or kicked around by the player).
  • The ability to dismember NPCs with weapons such as chainsaws, katanas, etc., and watch them attempt to crawl away. This ability is enhanced in the A Week in Paradise mod.

References of current and past events

  • Al-Qaeda terrorists who carry out a suicide bombing of a church and a marching band (these characters all resemble Osama bin Laden and many characters in the game of Middle Eastern descent are shown to be connected in some way with the terrorists. Osama bin Laden himself appears in the Tora Bora area).
  • The hunt for weapon of mass destruction in Iraq is parodied in the weapon called the "Weapon of Mass Destruction", found in the Tora Bora area after killing Bin Laden. It is a variation of the rocket launcher that fires chemical missiles.
  • Anthrax-filled cow's heads used as weapons which make the victims vomit blood.
  • A scene that bears resemblance to the Waco Siege of 1993, with a cult group being surrounded by ATF agents at "the compound".
  • Jihad, the company that makes the goat milk in Monday's chores.
  • References to Columbine High School massacre and other school slaughters are present as well. The trenchcoat-shirt-glasses outfit often sported by Postal Dude references that of the "Trenchcoat Mafia", a gamer clique with which the perpetrators at Columbine were erroneously affiliated. In the AWP expansion, when the player enters the arcade there is a game similar to Silent Scope called Teen Sniper. The cabinet artwork shows a child sitting on top of his school and firing at students. When the player commits suicide, relieved pedestrians say "I blame Doom". This is another reference to the Columbine disaster, as the two gunmen shared an admiration for the PC game Doom.

Stereotypes

  • Homophobia in the shape of an arcade game prop called Fag Hunter. The AWP mod (included in the Fudge Pack release) expands Fag Hunter into a mini-level where the player has to kill 20 stereotyped gay NPCs (depicted as bald, unshaven men wearing pink dresses).
  • Racial stereotypes, such as Habib, the owner of the Lucky Ganesh convenience store, who speaks with a stereotypical Indian accent similar of that of Apu from the FOX sitcom The Simpsons. Habib appears to be a Muslim, yet at the same time his store has obvious Hindu elements.

Miscellaneous

  • The use of cats as silencers for shotguns and machine guns by pushing the barrel of the gun into its rectum. This was commented on in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[2]
  • A kid's TV show mascot named Krotchy, who is essentially a giant cartoon scrotum. A talking toy with his likeness even says phrases such as "Daddy said only he can touch me there!" or "Don't touch me! I callin' my lawyer!" when used. Krotchy has a partner character named Larry the Crab, whose toy seems much less popular (indicated by the toy store being literally filled with Larry dolls and no Krotchy because Krotchy toys were sold out).
  • Numerous jabs and insults aimed at Joe Lieberman, including a banner that reads "Leiberman [sic], God sees your lies", the easiest difficulty setting is "Liebermode", and in the final newspaper announcing the apocalypse on Friday, a byline that reads "Lieberman blames Doom". (After a player's death or suicide, if the game is left running without restarting or reloading a saved game, NPCs standing around the body will invariably make statements such as "Somebody call Lieberman" and "I blame Doom"). Similarly, several jokes are aimed at Dave Grossman such as a video arcade named "Grossman's Arcade".
  • The game allows the player to urinate on people making them vomit in disgust.

Legal status

  • Postal 2 became the second computer game to be banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification of New Zealand after Manhunt.
  • It was also banned in Australia by the OFLC due to the absence of an 18+ rating for software.
  • In Sweden, the attorney general took the Swedish distributor of the game to court. He was prosecuted with "illegal depiction of violence", a crime falling under the Swedish freedom of speech-act. The court dismissed the case on December 12, 2006.[3]

Reception

On the review aggregator GameRankings, Postal 2 received an average score of 61% based on 37 reviews.[4] On Metacritic, the game received an average score of 50 out of 100, based on 27 reviews—indicating mixed or average reviews.[5]

Some of the game's better reviews came from PC Gamer, which gave the title a 79% out of 100, and Game Informer, which gave it a 7.5 out of 10. On the other end of the spectrum, GMR and Computer Gaming World each gave Postal 2 scores of zero;[6] CGW stated that "Postal 2 is the worst product ever foisted upon consumers."[7]

Postal 2: Share The Pain received an average score of 63% based on 15 reviews on the review aggregator GameRankings[8], and an average score of 59 out of 100 based on 10 reviews on Metacritic.[9]

Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend received an average score of 56% based on 7 reviews on the review aggregator GameRankings,[10] and an average score of 45 out of 100 based on 4 reviews on Metacritic.[11]

Sequel

Postal III is currently being developed by Running With Scissors and Akella, using Valve's Source engine.

Film adaptation

Although acknowledged as an adaptation of the first Postal game, the 2007 film adaptation of the same title directed by Uwe Boll borrows many elements from Postal 2, including the Krotchy doll, the trailer park, the cat silencer, the terrorists, and Uncle Dave and his compound, among others. Gary Coleman was not involved in this film; instead Verne Troyer, appearing as himself, fulfilled Coleman's function in the movie.

Trivia

  • Postal 2 appears briefly in the hip-hop music group Black Eyed Peas music video "Where Is the Love?", showing young children playing the game and running around with a gasoline can.
  • Apocalypse Weekend teases the player with an apparent "super-fun" pigeon hunting mission at one point as Postal Dude is handed a rocket launcher, only to break into a video from the Running With Scissors offices of an angry Vince Desiderio shouting profanities and exclaiming "we ain't got no budget for pigeon mission!" at Steve Wik, with a title card reading "super fun pigeon hunter mission cancelled due to budgetary restrictions. Thank you, the management". Afterwards, Postal Dude is standing amidst a tremendous blood smear in Paradise with numerous feathers in the air, proclaiming "wow, that was the most incredible thing I've ever done!".
  • Various headstones in the cemetery section read of things that were cut from the game at some point, including "Rebar Gun", "Meat Gun", "Rape Clowns", "Fetuses with guns", "Pigeons" (later referenced in Apocalypse Weekend- see above note) and "Postal Storyline" (a likely reference to the first Postal having no in-game story told). The AWP add-on also adds one called "Zombie Dad"; if urinated upon like the one for Postal Dude's dad, a zombie comes out of the ground and attacks the player.
  • At a certain part of the game, The Postal Dude, after being knocked out from being hit with a shovel, wakes up to find himself dressed as a gimp and locked in a box. Upon leaving the box he overhears two men having a discussion stolen from a famous Pulp Fiction scene, involving "Zed".
  • A line from the 1989 cult classic film UHF, "Guns don't kill people...I do!", is one of the many one-liners said by the Postal Dude throughout the game.

Notes

External links


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Postal 2
Box artwork for Postal 2.
Developer(s) Running With Scissors
Publisher(s) Whiptail Interactive
Engine Unreal Engine 2
Latest version 1409
Release date(s)
Genre(s) FPS, Adventure
System(s) Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Players 1-16
Rating(s)
ESRB: Mature
PEGI: Ages 18+
BBFC: 18
System requirements (help)
CPU clock speed

733MHz

System RAM

128MiB

Video RAM

32MiB

Website http://gopostal.com
Expansion pack(s) Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend
Preceded by Postal
Followed by Postal 3
Series Postal

Postal 2 is the sequel to the controversial Postal, notorious for its senseless graphically violent gameplay. In Postal 2, you walk a week in the shoes of the Postal Dude, completing various errands for your hateful wife. But there's something about this town that makes everyone a little wacko. Can you survive a week without going POSTAL?

Table of Contents

Postal 2/Table of Contents








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