Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Postal

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_375392124_preview_4.jpg
Running With Scissors insists that the actions depicted should not be reenacted in Real Life.
"I Regret Nothing."
The Postal Dude
Advertisement:

Before Uwe Boll brought us 2007's Postal, there was the Postal video game series, developed by Running With Scissors, which started with 1997's Postal. The game puts you in the shoes of "The Postal Dude", who believes himself the Only Sane Man in a world gone mad (he's not). As such, he goes on a bloody rampage, shooting it out with cops, soldiers, and innocent bystanders alike.

The game spawned three sequels: Postal 2 (2003), Postal III (2011), and Postal 4: No Regerts (2019). It also spawned the aforementioned loose film adaptation in 2007 by Uwe Boll.

On 20 May 2016, RWS released POSTAL Redux, an HD remake of the original Postal, on Steam, and later open sourced the original version of Postal 1. Four years later, it was ported to the Nintendo Switch on October 16th 2020, making it the first time the Postal series has appeared on a console. It then received a PlayStation 4 port in March 2021.

Advertisement:

Another spin-off known as Postal: Brain Damaged, developed by Hyperstrange and supervised by Running With Scissors, was announced on 5 September, 2020 at Realms Deep, and is slated for a mid-2022 release for PC and consoles. Unlike the other games in the series, Brain Damaged is a Retraux shooter that harkens back to the violent first person shooters of The '90s, such as Doom and Wolfenstein 3-D, with an atmosphere reminiscent of the original game's. Watch the announcement trailer here.

Not to be confused with Portal, although a 2016 update for the second game, which promises of a store which will open in 2016 (in-universe), pokes fun of it in the newly opened "STEME Store". See also Hatred, the Spiritual Licensee of these games.


Advertisement:

Hi there, would you like to sign my trope examples?:

    open/close all folders 

    Series-wide Tropes 
  • Artificial Stupidity: Taken to absurd levels in the third installment. Enemies won't shoot you even if you're right in front of them or sometimes they will completely ignore your existence even while you're attacking them. And friendly AI also have problems with pathfinding and following you, making escort missions even more frustrating than they already could be.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Postal Dude's attire of choice, with Cool Shades and, in the third game, fingerless gloves.
  • Black Comedy: While the first game was far more gritty and took itself more seriously, the later games moved into this territory and reveled in it without ever looking back.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Hell yeah.
  • Catchphrase: I Regret Nothing.
  • Crapsack World: No normal person would want to live in Paradise. The police are corrupt, and all the townspeople appear to be idiots and/or straight-up psychopaths.
    • It's worse in Catharsis, as the global economic meltdown has shot gas prices through the roof. The place is a border town and houses the G.W. Bush memorial border fence, which is used to keep Americans from illegally entering Mexico to look for jobs instead of the other way around. Any "illegals" crossing from Mexico are nothing but Al Qaeda wearing piss-poor disguises.
  • Creator Provincialism: 2, III, and 4: No Regerts are all set in fictional areas in Arizona. Running with Scissors was founded in Tucson AZ and continues to operate there.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Dude.
  • Deconstruction: All of the games in the franchise can be deconstructions of the "Murder Simulator" genre and of it's own games- Postal 1 looking like an absolutely serious and downright chilling examination of the mind of a spree killer and what it would be like being as mentally ill as him (Hint: Not fun) as a deconstruction of Postal 2 and III, while 2 and III, in turn, are completely silly and ludicrous deconstructions of Postal 1 by mocking the edgy approach to these games and playing the atrocities off as giggle-worthy.
  • Denser and Wackier: The first game was played relatively straight, whereas the games from 2 onward are basically the video game equivalent to South Park.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Postal 1 doesn't play itself for laughs much like Postal 2, Postal III, and Postal 4: No Regerts do, being a lot more grim, dark and at times even frightening. This causes many surprises by fans seeking out the first game after playing the second one, expecting the same level of humor. It doesn't help that Postal 2 is an open world first person shooter while Postal 1 is a linear isometric shooter.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Though in the second and third games, it depends on the player's actions. Still, the difference between "everything" and "damn near everything" is academic here.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • Everyone is your enemy and you want to kill them all because... well, that bit was excised so it wouldn't get in the way so much. You're probably just deranged.
    • In the sequel, you do your chores, mostly by killing anyone who denies you the objective. Or you can just watch the world fall apart around you.
    • In Paradise Lost, you come out of a radiation coma after 11 years, only to find that Champ has vanished completely. Now you have to find him.
    • Postal III is really just about the Dude trying to escape Catharsis, as it's not much better than Paradise.
  • Fat Bitch: The Dude's wife, at least in the movie. In both it and the second game, she's simply known as "The Dude's Bitch". According to Paradise Lost, she was indeed this before her dating Mad Cow Mike J made her thin. After the boss fight, Mike J revives her with his milk, turning her fat again.
  • For the Lulz and For the Evulz: Of course, it depends on how amoral you want to be. In the second game, it is entirely possible to do a Pacifist Run and complete the game.
  • Genre Shift: Not for the games, but for the developer. Prior to Postal, these people made such games as Tom & Jerry and Bobby's World for the SNES, amongst other titles largely aimed at children. They also made the well-known Spy VS Spy game. Why'd they shift over? They basically got tired of making licensed games and wanted to do their own stuff.
  • Going Postal: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Guide Dang It!: In the first game, many players clearly had trouble figuring out that pressing F1 was how you moved on to the next level after you completed all objectives, given that the Steam version has an achievement called "Oh, you press F1!" for reaching the second level.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Postal Dude, when killing terrorists and zombies. The Dude can actually embrace the "Heroic" part in Postal III, where he can become a cop and use non-lethal force to take down bad guys.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Available in every game to date.
  • Moral Guardians: The series attracted the attention of them in real life, while the games themselves mock them, by portraying them as hypocritically violent protesters.
  • Negative Continuity: While there is some semblance of continuity in the games, details tend to change not only from game to game but even mission to mission; it's fully possible for Gary Coleman and Krotchy to die in Postal 2 only to turn up alive and well in prison on Friday . Sometimes the Dude will actively acknowledge the inconsistencies in continuity, such as trying to ask Mike J. why he's human again in 4 when in 2, he became Mad Cow Mike J., a demonic cow monster.
  • Press X to Die: Played literally. In Postal 1, the player can press "Q" to commit suicide by gunshot. Postal 2 allows you to press "G" do the same, but by biting a hand-grenade, which doubles as a Suicide Attack. This was removed from Postal III and Paradise Lost, though the former nods to it in the form of the "Emo" achievement, for injuring yourself.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The series completely runs on it.
  • The Sociopath: The Postal Dude. Of course, that depends on the player's choices.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The Dude remarks on it in Apocalypse Weekend during an early hallucination sequence, noting after killing what appears to be a demon with the voice and features of Gary Coleman that "With my luck, that's really a nun, or someone's grandmother. But there's no sense in taking chances."
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: The whole point of the series.
    • In the first two games, the player can encounter a marching band that will inevitably be lit on fire or blown up.
    • In Postal 2, it's possible to shoot a character, light him on fire, piss on him to put the fire out, kick him to death while he is crawling on the ground, then whack the charred corpse's head off with a shovel for good measure - ideally in the direction of another NPC to make them panic.
  • Villain Protagonist: Though frankly, most characters he meets aren't much better.
  • Vulgar Humor: From pissing on anything you come across to ribald sexual references to wearing an ass-less gimp suit, the series love to cash in the shock value to players.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The second and third games to varying degrees. The first game, and the second game's first expansion are linear, level-based games, but some levels are fairly open in design and allow for at least some exploration (particularly the "Lower Paradise" area of Apocalypse Weekend). Postal III eventually had a Free Roam mode patched in.
  • World of Jerkass: Pretty much everyone The Dude meets ranges from "jerk" to "attempting to murder you and everyone else", so it's not too surprising that he has the attitude to match.

    Postal and Postal Redux 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5019_postal_macintosh_front_cover.jpg

  • All There in the Manual: There's no Backstory or anything in the game, save for the unsettling loading screens, nor a tutorial of any sort. The manual and Hard mode in POSTAL Redux fills you in a bit, suggesting that a Hate Plague has infected the town.
    • The intro to Postal III reveals that his house was foreclosed on, which caused the Dude to snap. Even if that game is no longer canon, it was revealed to be a coma hallucination the Dude had between Apocalypse Weekend and Paradise Lost, so presumably a comment on the Dude's past from the Dude himself is still factual.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Both versions:
      • Entering a new level will fully replenish your health, regardless of how much you lost during the previous level.
      • If you fill out your ammo/health with a pick up, that pick up will still remain around with some health/ammo left for you to collect in case of emergencies.
    • Redux:
      • In the original game, you couldn't run and use the shotgun at the same time. Using the shotgun requires you to stand still, leaving you open to enemy attacks while trying to kill a hostile. Redux allows you to run and use the shotgun at the same time with no issues.
      • Grenades, firebombs and mines were treated as primary weapons in the original, meaning you had to manually use them like any other weapon. Redux treats them as secondary weapons, as they now can be used with a dedicated secondary fire button.
      • Hostile health is now displayed with a crosshair. Not only that, but they're less tankier to kill than the original.
  • Alternate Continuity: Redux is implied to be this with all the changes made from the original taken into account. Both Postal 1 and Redux are also heavily implied to be in a separate continuity than the one Postal 2 occurs in.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Every panicking unarmed civilian will run around in absolutely random directions. They will not try to actually run away from the heavily armed lunatic, nor will they try to steer clear from crossfire.
  • Body Horror: The credits screen that appears every time you quit.
  • The Cameo: A cheat code in Redux unlocks Not Important/The Antagonist as a playable character, complete with his own voice lines.
  • Developers' Foresight: The game will notify you if you manage to complete a level without killing any innocents. It will keep track of innocents who get caught in the crossfire and killed by enemies, and those will not be counted against the player.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Unlike the games after, the events of the first Postal aren't Played for Laughs in the slightest (other than some Bond One-Liners from the Postal Dude), and are instead played for all the Nightmare Fuel you'd expect from a guy snapping and going on a killing spree.
  • Exploding Barrels: Played straight, and also used somewhat creatively to simulate other explosive environmental objects like gas pumps.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played with. The final level in the original game is called "The Elementary School", but it's all scripted. The Dude shows up and opens fire on a playground, but the children aren't affected. Then he has his breakdown. On the other hand, the kids from that level seem to be the same shorter sprites you can kill during the game, so who knows?
  • Mind Screw:
    • The loading screens, despite nothing really supernatural happening in game. Justified in that the protagonist had gone insane.
    • Both the original and the Redux endings can count as this. The original ending has the Dude attempting to shoot up an elementary school, finding out that his guns do nothing, and collapsing as the screen distorts. The Redux ending has him trying to kill one "hostile" in a church, coming across a funeral that may or may not be his own and collapsing to the ground as the casket is lowered and the "hostile" tally is fulfilled. Both end the same way, with the Dude incarcerated into an asylum to be studied.
    • Redux's Co-Op ending is even worse. It implies that there's more than one Postal Dude, with the Co-Op Dudes arriving at the Campaign/Rampage Dude's cell to finish him.
    • Hell, Postal 1 as a whole could be considered one due to how out-of-place it feels next to every other game in the series.
  • Multiple Endings: Redux actually has six endings, each one with their own minor differences. One for beating the game normally, one for beating Rampage Mode, one for beating the game on Hard/Nightmare Mode (which changes the loading screen messages to the journal entries from the original game's manual, as well), one for beating either the Super Delivery (Special Delivery and Super Postal levels) or Excess Postage (base game levels + Super Delivery levels) campaigns, and one for beating the game in Co-Op.
  • Murder Simulators: The game seems dangerously close to one, at times.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Redux introduces a revolver that's very powerful.
  • Shout-Out: One of the buildings in the Carnival level in Redux sports a green poster advertising JoJo the Idiot Circus Boy
  • Title Drop: One of the Dude's taunts is simply "Postal!".
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The original game was rereleased on Steam in 2015 with support for modern hardware, improved mouse and keyboard controls, gamepad compatibility, achievements, high resolution settings, widescreen support and all levels from the "Special Delivery" expansion pack. And to celebreate the series 20th anniversary in 2017, Running With Scissors released a patch including the two Japan-exclusive levels from "Super Postal" worldwide for the first time since its release. Unfortunately, online multiplayer and the level editor were removed from this version.
    • Redux includes new character models for the Dude, civilians and hostiles, redone artwork for the levels, loading screens and the ending, new endings, redone soundtrack, new and redone voicework, a new level (The Carnival), a new weapon (the revolver), new skins, Not Important/The Antagonist from Hatred as a playable character, QOL improvements, rebalanced difficulty and a new Score Attack mode known as "Rampage Mode". Later updates for the remake included levels from both expansions, online co-op and a deathmatch mode.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • The final level of the original game has the Dude undergo one of these upon opening fire on a playground full of children and finding that they are completely impervious to his weapons.
    • The final level in Redux, "The End", has the Dude heading to church, finding it's locked and empty, then moving straight into a funeral, presumably his own (as the hostile count is a measly 1, and it's reduced to 0 when the coffin is lowered), before he has his breakdown.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Averted hard in both the original game and Redux. Lead designer and co-creator of RWS Vince Desi has made it clear that for all the things he's okay with a player being able to do in videogames, murdering children is effectively the one line he refuses to ever cross. In fact this is part of what caused the game to become so controversial because at the time the New York Times wrote an article saying you CAN kill the children, and when Vince called them up over it and they were so nonchalant about the lie told and their refusal to print a correction, he sorta implied he was going to go over there and bash the writer's face in, which got him a call from the FBI.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Postal

Parodied in the Postal film adaptation: the interview process for one Incompetence, Inc. involves ever more surreal and nonsensical questions, asked by a hostile stenographer who doesn't even bother to wait for answers, until the Postal Guy snaps entirely. His outburst gets him to the top of the list.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IncomprehensibleEntranceExam

Media sources:

Report