The Postal Dude

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The Postal Dude
PostalDude.jpg
The Postal Dude as he appears in Postal
First game Postal (1997)
Created by Vince Desiderio
Voiced by Vince Desiderio (Postal [grunts and screams])
Rick Hunter (Postal [demon], Postal 2, Apocalypse Weekend, Paradise Lost)
Cory Cruise (Postal III, Paradise Lost)[1]
Portrayed by Zack Ward (Postal (film))

The Postal Dude is the main protagonist of the Postal video game series by Running With Scissors, as well as the film Postal. He was voiced by voice actor Rick Hunter in Postal and Postal 2, and by Cory Cruise in Postal III, while Zack Ward portrays the character in the film. Due to his violent nature, The Postal Dude is regarded as one of the most controversial video game characters.[2]

Character development[edit]

When designing Postal in 1996, Art Director Randy Briley designed Postal Dude as a dark, brooding character to match the design style of the game. It was intended from the start that the character had no back story at all so to give the player the ability to impose whatever back story or personality onto the character they desired.[3] He is voiced by Rick Hunter, who returned for the sequel and its two expansion packs Apocalypse Weekend and Paradise Lost, which was released in 2005 and 2015 respectively and included some small redesigns of Postal Dude.[3]

Postal 2 was released in 2003 as a fully 3D first person shooter. The increased graphics capability allowed for Postal Dude to be presented in more detail. The final design for the character (visible in mirrors and some pre-rendered third-person sequences) was completed in 2001 by art director Josh Leichliter.

Running With Scissors CEO Vince Desi describes the character as "like Clint Eastwood" in that he wants to mind his own business but people won't leave him alone.[4] Unlike Postal, in which killing is necessary to complete a level, Postal Dude is not required to kill anyone to complete an errand in Postal 2. However, when trying to complete the errands of each day, he constantly faces opposition from several groups, including protesters, rednecks, terrorists, agents of law enforcement organizations, and a toy mascot resembling a giant scrotum named Krotchy. Desi indicated in an interview that the character's actions are completely up to the player. There is the option of nonviolence if the player chooses.[5]

Even though the Dude's age is never specified, design documents for Postal dating back to 1996 state that the character is 27 years old. Even though Rick Hunter voices the Dude in Postal, the voice is not meant to be that of the Dude - his grunts when getting hurt sound completely different to the ones used in Postal 2 and all the Hunter voice files are prefixed with "demon". It was revealed by Paradise Lost lead designer Marphy Black in 2015 that Vince Desi voiced the Dude's grunts and screams.

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

Very little is known about Postal Dude from Postal. The character "goes postal", and decides to kill everyone in the town for mostly unknown reasons (although the manual explains that the Postal Dude believes the town's populace to be stricken with a madness plague, and that it's up to him to stop it). Postal Dude has a diary which allows the player to know a bit about the character's paranoid psychosis. This diary is displayed between levels, and contains phrases such as "The earth is hungry. Its heart throbs and demands cleansing. The earth is also thirsty."[6]

Postal Dude's character is much more developed in Postal 2. He has moved to the fictional town of Paradise, Arizona, after being hired by Running With Scissors, Inc., who also act as characters in the video game. Postal Dude lives in a trailer park with his wife (an unseen character identified only as "Postal Dude's Bitch"),[7] and has a pet Pit bull named Champ, based on Desi's real pet Champ.[8] It is Monday in the beginning of the video game, and Postal Dude's wife gives him a list of errands to complete, which include things like "Cash paycheck" or "Get milk". When Postal Dude goes to Running With Scissors to pick up a paycheck, he is fired by Vince Desi (who appears as himself in the video game) for unspecified reasons, so at the end of the day, Postal Dude's wife decides to give him more errands to complete for the rest of the week. On Tuesday, it is revealed that Postal Dude is a Methodist, since one of his errands is to "Confess sins" in the church. Tuesday and Wednesday also reveal that Postal Dude is active in politics: two errands involve getting signs for a petition "to make whiney [sic] congressmen play violent video games" and vote in the general election of Paradise. Postal Dude has a deceased father whom he hated, to the point that the first errand of Wednesday is to "piss on Dad". Apart from his wife and his deceased father, Postal Dude's only other known family member is his Uncle Dave, leader of a religious cult who is implied to be David Koresh. After completing the errands of each day, Postal Dude is seen returning to his trailer and is heard having short conversations with his wife about the events that took place while completing the errands. These conversations heavily suggest that their relation is a hostile one. On Friday, at the end of the game, Postal Dude's wife asks him if he remembered her Rocky Road ice cream, which she tells him not to forget on Monday. However, getting the Rocky Road is not a mission and there is no actual level to get it. The conversation is quickly ended with a gunshot, of which leaves a cliffhanger ending as to whether the Postal Dude has shot his wife, his wife has shot him, or he has shot himself.

In Apocalypse Weekend, it is Saturday, and the Postal Dude wakes up in the hospital because of his gunshot wound, which is ambiguously revealed to have been caused by an "unfortunate firearms accident". In turn, this causes him from time to time to have hallucinations, seeing a distorted version of the world he is in, and fighting Gary Coleman-esque creatures. Postal Dude receives several "get well" cards: one is from his wife telling him she has left him, and the others tell him that his pet Champ is in the dog pound and that his trailer has been taken away. He is required to complete new, more complicated missions. Unlike the main game, the expansion actually requires Postal Dude to kill, varying from zombies to cows to elephants. Desi reappears as a character in the expansion, hiring Postal Dude again to obtain a gold disc from a rival publisher of Running With Scissors, and then to enter a terrorist training camp to retrieve a nuclear bomb to destroy the whole company. After completing these missions, Postal Dude goes to the dog pound to look for Champ, and after finding him, he proceeds to get out of Paradise, though not before confronting "Mike J, Kosher Mad Cow Zombie, God of Hellfire", a giant demon-like creature who serves as the final boss of the game. After defeating the boss, Postal Dude is seen driving his car with Champ, while Paradise is completely destroyed by the nuclear bomb. Postal Dude says "I regret nothing", and the game ends.

Postal Dude returns as the main character in Postal III. He has moved to Paradise's sister city Catharsis. According to Running With Scissors' official website, Postal Dude is just "trying to save up for new tinfoil to put over his trailer windows."[9] Postal III will also let the player decide which way Postal Dude is going to follow: the "good" way by joining the Catharsis police force to protect the citizens, or the "bad" way and join the schemes of Mayor Chomo (portrayed by Ron Jeremy) and Uncle Dave.[10] In an interview, Steve Wik (Lead Design/Creative Director of Running With Scissors) and Andrew Belkin (Lead Producer of Akella) commented that Postal III would focus more on Postal Dude's personality, as well as his past and future actions, hence the idea of making Postal III a third-person shooter.[11]

Paradise Lost retconned Postal III by revealing that it was all an 11 year nightmare of a "dark future" after Postal Dude crashed his car escaping from Paradise.[12] In that time, Paradise has turned into a nuclear wasteland, and Champ mutated into a giant demon and was sealed in a place called the Hell Hole. Paradise Lost follows Postal Dude's quest to free Champ and restore him to his dog form, encountering many familiar foes such as Mike J, Postal Dude's Bitch, and Gary Coleman.

In film[edit]

Zack Ward portrays Postal Dude in Uwe Boll's film adaptation of the game. Ward described the character as somebody who just wanted to be liked and accepted. Ward said that he did not base his performance as Postal Dude on the video game renditions as he never played them, but on the script. Though the film has elements from both Postal and Postal 2, the character of Postal Dude was completely changed. In an interview with Gamasutra, Vince Desi commented that Ward as Postal Dude "has the look and he’s funny at the same time."[13]

Postal Dude is mocked in a job interview, his local unemployment office kicks him out, and his wife cheats on him. He decides to get some money to leave Paradise, so he teams up with his Uncle Dave, who owes the government over a million dollars in taxes, to devise a plan to steal a shipment of 2000 Krotchy dolls, toys resembling a scrotum that seem to be really popular in Paradise, and to sell them for $4000 dollars apiece. When they arrive at the amusement park where the shipment is expected to arrive, Postal Dude and Uncle Dave's religious cult face opposition from Al Qaeda, who also want to steal the shipment for their own purposes. The two groups fight each other, resulting in the deaths of many innocent children, but the cult manages to get the shipment and Verne Troyer, the park's opening day guest. When they arrive to the cult's compound, they discover that the place has been invaded by terrorists, so they take shelter in the compound's bunker. Once there, Uncle Dave's right man hand Richard proceeds to initiate apocalypse per Uncle Dave's fictional bible, by throwing Verne Troyer to a group of chimpanzees to rape him, and then to kill Dave himself. After doing so, Richard imprisons Postal Dude in the bunker. After escaping from the compound, Postal Dude goes postal and begins a one-man war against his wife and her lovers, his uncle's murderer, the terrorists, the police, the angry townsfolk who want him dead, and the remains of the now-mad cult. He is joined by Faith, a young barista whom he has met before, and the two of them proceed to kill everyone except Osama bin Laden, who manages to escape with the help of a helicopter sent by his best friend George W. Bush. Postal Dude then prepares to leave the town along with Faith and Champ before it gets hit by 30 nuclear missiles unleashed by China in retaliation for Bush's declaration blaming China and India for the violence in Paradise.

Reception[edit]

Critics often comment on Postal Dude's aggressive personality. GameSpot's Mark East comments on the Postal Dude's phrases from his diary, which indicate "something's not quite right in Postal Dude's noggin".[6] Michael L. House from Allgame describes Postal Dude as a "rampaging, murderous character."[14] Ivan Deez from IGN says that Postal Dude has a "sick mind", when referring to the source of some of the errands he has to complete.[15] Macdonald and Rocha from Canada.com describe Postal Dude as a man whose "raison d'être was to eliminate anyone - man, woman and child - with a dizzying arsenal of weapons", but at the same time as "a misunderstood and ostracized man who takes his revenge on the world with a killing spree."[16]

Controversy[edit]

In 2006 after the shooting in a college by Kimveer Gill in Canada, Postal Dude was singled out as a character Gill identified with. In Gill's blog he expressed admiration for Postal Dude, saying that "Postal dude was sad before he became angry and psychotic, that's the part we've never seen in the game. He was normal, but the world made him the way he became." Postal² was singled out as one of Gill's favorite games.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Website Launch and New Videos Postal III isn’t dead, it just smells funny Running With Scissors, August 18, 2010
  2. ^ Duralde, Carlos. "Controversy in Video Games - Postal 2". 
  3. ^ a b "The Secret History of the POSTAL Dude". Running With Scissors. July 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Postal 3 First Impression Interview". VGCore.com. Retrieved November 30, 2007. 
  5. ^ Butts, Steve (December 5, 2002). "IGN PC Interview with Vince Desi". IGN. Retrieved November 30, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b East, Mark (October 18, 1997). "Postal Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  7. ^ Postalnation.net (Archived from the original on October 14, 2007.)
  8. ^ Champ's Corner at Running With Scissors official website.
  9. ^ POSTAL 3 Characters at Running With Scissors official website.
  10. ^ POSTAL 3 Story at Running With Scissors official website.
  11. ^ "Postal III interview". Ugdb.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ Brown, Fraser (2014). "Postal 2 is getting another expansion, 12 years after it launched". PC Magazine. 
  13. ^ Wallis, Alistair (October 26, 2006). "Q&A: Running With Scissors' Vince Desi on Postal III Mayhem". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  14. ^ House, Michael L. "Postal". Allgame. All Media Group. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ Deez, Ivan (April 3, 2003). "Postal 2 Review". IGN. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  16. ^ Macdonald, Don & Rocha, Roberto (September 15, 2006). "Montreal gunman admired violent video-game character". canada.com. Retrieved November 30, 2007. 

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