Postal (video game)

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Postal
Postal Coverart.png
Developer(s)Running with Scissors
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Mike Riedel
Producer(s)Vince Desi
Designer(s)
  • David De Gasperies
  • Steve Macomber
  • Steve Wik
Composer(s)Christian A. Salyer
SeriesPostal
EngineRSPiX Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)Android, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X, Linux
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
September 24, 1997 (1997-09-24)[1]
Mac OS
  • NA: November 14, 1997 (1997-11-14)
Linux
  • NA: October 30, 2001 (2001-10-30)
  • WW: March 21, 2013 (2013-03-21) (digital)
OS X
  • WW: June 28, 2007 (2007-06-28)
Android
  • WW: April 10, 2015 (2015-04-10)
Genre(s)Top-down shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Postal is an isometric top-down shooter video game developed by Running with Scissors and published by Ripcord Games in 1997. A sequel to the game, Postal 2, was released in 2003. Director Uwe Boll bought the movie rights for the series and produced a film of the same name. A March 2001 re-release of the game, called Postal Plus, included a "Special Delivery" add-on. A remaster of the game, Postal Redux, was released for Microsoft Windows on May 20, 2016. At the end of 2016, the game's source code was released.[2] At the end of 2019, Running With Scissors released the game as freeware.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Postal is a 3D shooter with mainly isometric, but also some top-down levels featuring hand-painted backgrounds. Gameplay and interface are similar to first-person shooters of the time in most, but not on all counts:

  • Movement is always relative to the orientation of the player character (named "The Postal Dude"). The player, therefore, must always be aware of the direction the character is facing, which can be difficult to some players on the isometric maps.
  • There are eight weapon slots, each with a fixed amount of maximum ammo. The default weapon is a weak machine gun with unlimited ammo. Although it serves no practical purpose, the player can conceal their weapons by pressing the tilde key.
  • Contrary to first-person shooters, however, the goal is not to stay alive and just reach the next level, but to kill a given percentage of the armed NPCs on the map. Only then the exit to the next level is activated. Even if the player is dead, they may still exit the level as long as the required number of hostiles have been killed.

Plot[edit]

The game follows a man who has been evicted from his home. He believes that the United States Air Force is releasing poison gas in his town and only he is unaffected. He fights his way to the Air Force Base through various areas. During the progress of the game, a voice in the protagonist's head (voiced by Rick Hunter) can be heard taunting his victims.

After massacring the Air Force Base, he is then shown trying to massacre an elementary school, however, his weapons have no effect. He then has a mental breakdown and wakes up to find himself in a mental asylum. A doctor gives a report on the protagonist's mental state, suggesting that the stress of urban life may have caused him to "go postal", over images of a hellish corridor, the protagonist curled up in the fetal position in his cell, a close-up of his face (albeit covered by bindings) and the door to his cell, Cell 593. The final remarks are: "We may never know exactly what set him off, but rest assured we will have plenty of time to study him".

After the credits, manic cackling can be heard, suggesting that the protagonist may have somehow escaped the asylum.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

Postal was developed by Running with Scissors and published by Ripcord Games in 1997 for Windows and MacOS.[4]

Releases[edit]

In 2000 a Japanese version of Postal called Super Postal was released featuring Japanese voices and two exclusive levels, "Tokyo" and "Osaka". These levels have not been released anywhere else, but circulate in the Postal community.

Postal: Special Delivery, an expansion to the original Postal, was released on August 28, 1998[5] and featured four new levels and various new characters and voices. One level, in particular, was set in a parody of Wal-Mart and began with the Dude's demon chastising the store for not selling Postal, which foreshadows the off-kilter humor seen in Postal 2.

A March 2001 re-release of the game, called Postal Plus, included the "Special Delivery" add-on. It was ported to Linux by Loki Entertainment in the same year.

In 2002, Postal Plus (known as Postal: Classic and Uncut in Europe) bundled Postal and the Special Delivery expansion, with retail copies also including a demo for Postal 2.

Sequels[edit]

A sequel to the game, Postal 2, was released in 2003. Director Uwe Boll bought the movie rights for the series and produced a film of the same name.

Digital distribution re-release[edit]

Postal Plus was released on the digital distributor GOG.com in 2009 and a few years later on Steam. In 2013, it was updated with support for widescreen resolutions and modern hardware. The multiplayer component and level editor were removed, however. In 2015, it was updated with full Xbox 360 controller support.

Open source[edit]

In 2015, the developers announced that they will release the source code of the game "if someone promises to port it to the Dreamcast".[6] In June 2016 the developers gave the source code to a community developer who ported the game to Linux for the OpenPandora handheld.[7][8]

On December 28, 2016, the source code was released on Bitbucket under the GPLv2.[2][9]

Remaster[edit]

A remaster of the game, Postal Redux, was released for Microsoft Windows on May 20, 2016. A PlayStation 4 port was announced, however, due to financial constraints, it was canceled, as announced in an official Running with Scissors podcast.[10] Plans have been made to port the game on Linux. A Nintendo Switch version was released on October 16, 2020.

Reception[edit]

NPD Techworld, a firm that tracked sales in the United States,[18] reported 49,036 units sold of Postal by December 2002.[19]

Next Generation reviewed the PC version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Overall, Postal is a title that breaks absolutely no new ground, but its tongue-in-cheek shooting action comes together to form a well-above-average shooter that adds to the genre."[15]

Postal received mixed reviews from critics. GameRankings and Metacritic scores are respectively 57.00%[11] and 56/100.[12] GameSpot's Mark East gave the game a 6.6/10 score and commented: "The lack of longevity in the single-player mode and the simplistic multiplayer options make Postal a moderately fun ride, at best."[14] On regards to The Postal Dude's aggressive personality East comments on the Postal Dude's phrases from his diary, which indicate "something's not quite right in Postal Dude's noggin".[20]

In a retrospective, GamingOnLinux reviewer Hamish Paul Wilson gave the game 7/10, commenting that "there is no denying that Postal has some faults even when compared to some of the other games that were released around the same time as it, and time has definitely not been very kind to the title itself. But the concepts that the game explores, the ideas being expressed, and much of their actual implementations are just so interesting and compelling that one can still actually look past many of these faults and see the hidden gem that lies underneath."[21]

The reviewer from Pyramid #30 (March/April, 1998) stated that "Many people have thought the premise for the game is sick. Well, it is. But, that's what makes it fun. There's no quest for secret, lost treasure. There's no time-clock ticking away as you try desperately to save the world. There's no alien spaceships or fantastical powers. There's just good old fashioned, psychotic violence - something that our mass media entertainment powers have been bringing us on prime time for years."[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff (September 24, 1997). "Now Shipping". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on February 18, 1998. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
    "Now Shipping: ...Postal (Ripcord)..."
  2. ^ a b The Original POSTAL Has Been Made Open Source on runningwithscissors.com (December 28, 2016)
  3. ^ "In Development: POSTAL 4: No Regerts + POSTAL 2 giveaway". GOG.com. CD Projekt. 16 December 2019. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2020. From now on you can also get the first part of the POSTAL series for free on GOG.COM, this time permanently.
  4. ^ Dan Elektro (October 1997). "Postal". GamePro. No. 109. IDG. p. 113.
  5. ^ Gentry, Perry (August 28, 1998). "Weekend Releases". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "We're going to release the POSTAL 1 source code soon, but only if someone promises to port it to the Dreamcast." on twitter.com/RWSbleeter (2015)
  7. ^ POSTAL 1 running on Open Pandora. P1 is being opened sourced in the near future! on twitter.com/RWSbleeter (2016)
  8. ^ Postal Source Code by ptitseb "Things are progressing... Stay tuned." (2016)
  9. ^ license at bitbucket.org/gopostal/postal-1-open-source/src
  10. ^ Running with Scissors (June 2, 2017). "Revenge of The Bidet - I Regret Nothing Podcast #7 - 06/01/2017". Retrieved August 18, 2017 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ a b "Postal for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Postal for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Postal Review". Game Revolution. June 5, 2004. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  14. ^ a b East, Mark (October 17, 1997). "Postal Review". GameSpot. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 37. Imagine Media. January 1998. pp. 160, 162.
  16. ^ Bauman, Steve (1997). "Postal Review". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on April 6, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  17. ^ Redwood, Stephen. "Postal - Review". Games Domain. Archived from the original on July 12, 2003. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  18. ^ Spooner, John G. (June 13, 2003). "Gateway notebook goes for ratings". ZDNet. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  19. ^ Staff (May 2003). "The 10 Most Controversial PC Games of All Time". PC Gamer US. 10 (5): 50, 51.
  20. ^ East, Mark (October 18, 1997). "Postal Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  21. ^ Wilson, Hamish (October 28, 2012). "GamingOnLinux Reviews - Postal: Classic And Uncut". GamingOnLinux.com. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  22. ^ "Pyramid: Pyramid Pick: Postal". Sjgames.com. Retrieved February 6, 2020.

External links[edit]