"Welcome to Paradise… Arizona. They’re out to get you. Or are they? It doesn’t matter. You don’t have time to think, only time to kill."
POSTAL (known as Going Postal in Europe and POSTAL: Going Over The Edge in the Netherlands and Germany') is the first game in the POSTAL franchise.
Development began in 1996 and the game was released in November 1997 by Running With Scissors and Ripcord Games. At the time, this game was very controversial due to it being a mass murder simulator. Because of the game's morbid theme, it was banned in over 10 countries.
The plot of POSTAL is deliberately kept vague as to not distract from the gameplay.
From what can be gathered through the original website, manual, and the game itself, an average man known only as the Postal Dude discovers that a mind-altering substance has been released onto the town of Paradise, infecting the populace with insanity and bloodlust. Capped off by the sudden eviction from his home, the Postal Dude believes himself to be the only sane man left and sets out to put an end to the madness in his town, which he believes originates from a local Air Force base.
The game ends with the Postal Dude experiencing some sort of psychotic episode. He attempts to murder a group of elementary school students during recess, but realizes that his weapons are useless as the children are seemingly unaffected. After passing out, he's presumably captured and incarcerated in a mental institution.
The ending movie features a doctor making a report on the Dude's psyche, commenting on the phenomena of "going postal" and how the stresses of modern life can drive one to madness. The Dude himself is shown lying in a padded cell, straight-jacket bound, suggesting he was truly insane all along.
The game primarily has an isometric point of view, but some levels are set in a top-down perspective. The main objective of each level is to kill a certain number of hostiles. Enemies range from pistol wielding police, bomb throwing vigilantes, rifle toting SWAT teams, and rocket firing soldiers, among others. In addition to hostiles, each map has a number of unarmed civilians that the player has the option of killing. There is no reward or punishment for killing civilians. One also has the ability to execute "downed" (a state of near death where the target is crawling on the ground after being shot a number of times) hostiles/civilians which is completely optional, holding no punishment or reward. Basically, the goal is to survive against waves of enemies while killing/executing as many or as little bystanders as you like.
Throughout each level, weapon and health pickups can be collected that aid the player in combat. After killing a given percentage of hostiles in a level, the player must press F1 to move on to the next level.
In addition to the Single Player Campaign, there is also a Challenge Mode (known as the Gauntlet) and a Level Editor where the players can create their own levels to play.
The Game features a multiplayer mode for 15 players that can be played in LAN or the RWS server base. Due to the very high amount of glitches and connection problems, the mode was very unpopular. There are three modes:
- Going Postal: The typical Deathmatch, 2 to 15 players kill each other on any map of the single player levels. The player who kills more wins at the end.
- Capture The Flag (CTF): Two teams (Green and Yellow) are placed in a random spot of the arena and must capture the flag of the enemy and bring it back to the marked spot that is randomly generated. The team who captures the flag at least 3 times are victorious.
- The March: A challenge mode, two to six players are placed on the spawn but they cannot hurt one another like in "Going Postal". They must kill the maximum amount of civilians in the quickest time as possible to earn points displayed on the top screen. The player who gets more points at the end wins.
In December of 1997, a special patch was released to make POSTAL more christmasy. This included new lines for the Postal Dude and enemies, reskinned enemies into Santa Clauses, reskinned throwables into presents, and Reindeer Ostriches.
On March 21st, 2013, POSTAL was re-released on Steam with several updates allowing the game to be played on modern hardware, a higher resolution, and widescreen support. However, this version removes the Multiplayer and the Level Editor.
On October 5th, 2015, the game received a major update which implemented proper twin-stick controller support and support for widescreen monitors.
20th Anniversary Community Update
On November, 14th 2017, with the help from the POSTAL community, the game was updated to coincide with the game's 20th anniversary. This brought about many improvements and "under the hood" changes. Most notable are the re-inclusion of the Japanese Super POSTAL levels and modern mouse aiming controls similar to those seen in POSTAL Redux.
Main article: POSTAL Redux
POSTAL Redux was released on May 20th 2016. Redux was developed using Unreal Engine 4, with almost all of the assets rebuilt from scratch in high definition and features a brand new, arcade-style Rampage mode, alongside a co-operative campaign.
Main article: Hatred
A spiritual successor, titled Hatred, was announced on June 1st 2013 to massive controversy. Developed by Destructive Creations with no input from Running With Scissors, the game was released on June 1st, 2015. It was a commercial success and currently holds a "Mostly Positive" rating on Steam.
On December 28th 2016, the Source Code was released under the GPL2 license to the public. The source code can be found at the link below.
Along with the release of the source code, Running With Scissors have turned POSTAL over to the fans to further improve the game. The best mods/restorations were added with the 20th Anniversary Community Update in 2017.
In addition, the game was made freeware on Steam and GoG.
- The Postal Dude (by default as it can be changed in the multiplayer settings) wears a red coat in the original disc version of Postal, yet the first color on the list (as the config lists them by number) is black (which is number zero).
- This entry is noted for being the darkest and most disturbing title in the series. Many people who are familiar with POSTAL 2, or its inclusion of crude humor, are often surprised to find out how radically different the sequel and first game are from each other.
- The voice heard within gameplay, voiced by Rick Hunter, is not the Postal Dude speaking, but another voice (implied to be a demon) in his head taunting him and commanding him to kill. This is verifiable by the fact that within the game's files, this voice is labelled as "demon".
- The game's Central Park theme was a sample from the Altered States sample collection. The track is called "Is That The Door?". This sample was used in other pieces of entertainment, most notably 28 Days Later and Half-Life 2.
- In the credits, there is a person credited for "Story" and "Cutscene text" known as "The Pain Killer". This was revealed to be Bill Kunkel by Vince Desi in the RWS podcast.
- In the initial release, if the game detects that it's running without the CD inserted, everyone in the level is set on fire.
- The Postal Dude's "WHAT?! You don't sell POSTAL?" line upon starting EZ mart is a reference to the fact the game was blacklisted from many stores due to the controversy surrounding it.