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In 1997 game developer Running With Scissors created a game simply called Postal. The game had a very simple premise: the player's character, simply called The Postal Dude, is evicted from his home and he goes postal about it. The aim of the game is to kill a certain percentage of the population on every level. That's it. With virtually no plot and a gameplay centering around slaughtering unarmed civilians and armed policemen who come to their aid it was no surprise that the game generated quite a lot of controversy. Banned by several countries and in general despised by people who had no sense of humor, Postal became one of the most controversial games in history. Then, in 2003, Running With Scissors gave us the sequel, Postal 2.
Postal 2 was more than a sequel to a controversial game, it was also an answer to all the criticism received for the original game. A quite humorous answer in fact, which takes a jab at just about everyone who had a complaint about the first game being too violent and controversial. For starters, Postal 2 does not require you to go on a killing spree. You can literally finish the game without killing anyone (although the expansion pack changed that a bit). Then there's one of the opening missions in the game, in which your task is to go to work. That's right. In the sequel to Postal, one of the most violent and controversial games ever made, you need to go to your workplace and just do your job. Surreal, isn't it?
But that's just the beginning of an insanely dark joke at the expense of all the protesters who hate violent computer games. When you arrive at work it turns out you are working at Running With Scissors, the company that developed the actual game. As you arrive, you see a large group of people with signs protesting against violent computer games in front of the building. Vince Desi, the actual boss of RWS fires you on the spot, and if you don't like that, you can blow his brains out with a shotgun. But you don't have to. That's the nice thing about Postal 2. It's only as violent as you want it to be.
However, the game does tend to put you into situations where you are tempted to resort to violence. Right after Vince Desi fires you, a cutscene reveals that the protesters outside the building pulled out some guns and assault rifles and proceeded to break into the building to slaughter the RWS staff. That's right. The people who protest against violent computer games try to kill the game developers in Postal 2. With guns. Just how awesome is that? The ultimate joke at the expense of the real life protesters.
Now, if you were nice and didn't kill your former boss for firing you, the RWS employees remain friendly to you and fight alongside you against the protesters, making it easier for you to survive. But again, you can just sneak/run away from the whole conflict without killing anyone if you don't want to take anyone's life. But later when you try to cash in your paycheck at the bank and a bunch of bank robbers show up guns blazing, or when you get kidnapped by a bunch of rednecks that want to anally rape you, or when you get locked in a burning library by environmentalists who think that they can save the trees by burning books, or when you get caught in a firefight between the ATF and your Uncle Dave and his fanatic disciples, you'll want to think twice about whether you want to be a pacifist in this game...
In any case, Postal 2 offers a dark humor experience like few other games do out there. The things you have to put up with during the main missions of the game (which are given to you by your wife in the form of a list of chores to complete each day) range from absurd to insane, including putting up with long queues when going to a confession or buying milk, getting attacked by a guy dressed in a Krotchy costume, being sent a letterbomb and subsequently getting attacked by the angry workers of the local post office, or getting caught in a napalm factory just as an accident blows up the whole building (and in case you're wondering what you were doing there in the first place, get this: your wife wants you to get some weedkiller, and what better to use for this purpose than napalm), or the general bad attitude the townspeople show towards signing your petition to "make whiney congressmen play violent video games".
You also have the option to do some really ironic things, like kicking, pissing on, or outright slaughtering the people in the queue before you at the confession just so you can get in to the priest quicker, or purposely getting yourself arrested and then sneaking out in a stolen police uniform, or worse, walk into the police station armed to the teeth and pretty much re-enact the infamous police precinct shootout scene of the first Terminator movie (if you don't know which scene we're referring to, you're probably too young for this website).
So if you like crude, dark humor and are fairly open minded you can have a lot of fun with Postal 2. Now before we finish we should also say a few words about the Postal movie. In 2007 a movie adaptation of Postal 2 was filmed with the title Postal. The movie was directed by Uwe Boll.
Sit back down! Trust us, it's worth it...
As we were saying, the movie was directed by Uwe Boll, and quite frankly, it's his best movie ever made. Which isn't saying much considering how much his movies suck. But this one really is quite entertaining, and while a more skilled director could have certainly done a much better job, the movie manages to capture Postal 2's "it's only as violent as you want it to be" feeling as well as its crude humor.
Boll himself appears in the movie, playing himself in fact, and he gives us the beautiful pleasure of seeing him get nearly strangled by Vince Desi (played by the real Vince Desi) and later get killed by a gunshot to the balls. The movie ends in a truly surreal way by referencing a scene from a famous classic movie in a way that some would call disrespectful, others insane, yet others brilliant. We think it's brilliant, obviously.
To summarize, Postal 2 and its movie adaptation are both worth to check out for anyone who loves dark humor. Postal 2 is available for purchase on Good Old Games for a real bargain price and their version is made compatible with modern operating systems, so if the game picked your interest you can play that version on a present day computer. Also, as always, feel free to discuss either the game or the movie at our facebook page. Until next time, good evening!
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