By AhmadMetallic 13 Comments
Sometimes I really wonder where it went wrong for us video game players (let's just say gamers, dammit).
I remember a world where people played games because they were interactive and crazy. The idea of having a virtual arena or city or section of space where you can move, jump, float, crawl, drive vehicles, shoot guns, interact with the virtual people and machines and animals and beasts and ghosts within these game worlds, was fascinating.
I remember when video games were actually games to be played for people. Programs on consoles and computers that didn't have to provide anything more than gameplay to be given a chance.
As Sam Lake puts it, "When you give controls to a player, crazy things happen." That's what video games have always been about for me. Yes I appreciate a good story, yes I appreciate tight responsive controls, cutting edge graphics and groundbreaking innovation in the various aspects of video games, and yes I welcome non-jank in a game.
I don't see why that should mean that the lesser games should be considered bad abominations.
The very first game I played when I stepped into a "net/gaming cafe" for my first time, was Postal 2. Back then, I think it was around 2004, I was already familiar with what we today consider great games.
I was already familiar with the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Max Payne, Age of Empires, Call of Duty, Mu Online, Unreal Tournament and Neverwinter Nights, all games praised for either innovative and tight gameplay, great storytelling and writing, or both. But that didn't stop me from falling in love with Postal 2.
The kid inside that is entertained and amused with simply insane and absurd actions that certain games can provide was still there and he never left.
Jumping around like an idiot, peeing on people til they puked, drenching them with gasoline and spamming lit matches at them til they caught on fire, shooting their skulls off and kicking them around as the stomping sound played like music to my ears, all wrapped with the silly theme of a deadbeat living in a trailer with his wife being bossed around by her, going on all kinds of seemingly-mundane yet extremely surprising and fun missions such as buying milk cartons and visiting his father's grave only to be asked to PEE ON IT when you get there..
I loved that game because it nailed the two things it set out to do:
- Delivering the simple childish comedy that we distance ourselves from in search for deeper more brain-demanding humor in order to feel more mature and progressive. Believe me, after a whole day of Giant Bomb inside jokes and clever wall-of-text humor from the various clever websites you frequent, nothing is funnier than going home to some really stupid Postal humor that doesn't require more than your senses to make you start giggling.
- Delivering the shitty yet extremely entertaining and fun gameplay that provides total freedom and thus all kinds of jank. The gameplay that the "good" games try to amend and replace with tighter more responsive experiences.
Long story short,I was determined to purchase two games this year on day 1. Postal 3 and Alan Wake, both for PC of course, as a big thank you to Running With Scissors and Remedy for countless hours of Max Payne & Postal 2 pleasure as a teenager, for many many years.
Sadly, the Quick Look of Postal 3 on my favorite gaming website was really.. painful. I couldn't go on for more than 10-15 minutes, I cringed the whole way through, and I blamed the game for it. After watching that I was certain that RWS fucked up the game, that they sucked the joy out of it and turned it into a big chore, one that felt like shit in execution & gameplay, no less.
After watching it, I decided to save my money, and scratched Postal 3 off my to-buy list. Then recently, I stumbled upon a gameplay video of the game and I thought to myself, hey, this doesn't look half bad.
Once again I began debating buying the game, at which point I did what I usually do in this case, to make sure the money I make standing on my feet every day doesn't go down the toilet.
All I'm here to tell you is that, if you enjoy video games that are based around the fun of interacting with said game, and especially if you enjoyed Postal 2, that you should reconsider about Postal 3.
In exactly 5.5 minutes of gameplay I finished the entire opening level that Ryan and Vinny tried desperately to progress in (throwing grenades at zombies, pepper spraying the soldiers, spilling gas on the zombies & burning them etc..), cleaned up the porn store and popped the hockey moms in the face with dirty tissues from my first try, then jumped into the HIV-infected cat quest where I ran around like an idiot drugging & picking up the cats as the asian cooks came after me with machetes and assault rifles, worked as a temporary body guard for a young slut-looking celebrity whom I defended from same hockey moms by tasing them in the ass, all the while laughing my ass off at the silly, shallow and cheap looking/sounding jokes and screens that are self-aware and intentionally stupid.
Finally I had TO DECIDE WHETHER TO HELP THE POLICE KILL THE PETA-SCIENTOLOGISTS FOR A REWARD OR JOINING THOSE TERRORISTS IN HOPES OF HAVING WILD SEX WITH THEIR WEMENZ AFTERWARDS.
Decisions in a Postal game, that was fucking hilarious.
This game, I think, has reserved a spot on my top 10 of 2012 list. Too early to tell, though.
With all due love and respect for the Giant Bomb staff, after way too many incidents of them selling me on a bad game or making me skip a good one, I no longer feel they can provide good video game criticism and showcase proper gameplay. This is slowly turning into an entertainment TV website, and it's been really annoying me that I can no longer count on Jeff Gerstmann's opinion as much as I can laugh at his funny jokes..
If you can't detach yourself from the "high class gamer" persona which idolizes Mass Effect and accepts nothing less than witty, clever, preferably British comedy, (or detach yourself from the GB fanboy who takes the staff's words as truth. It's OK, I do that too sometimes!), then you can disregard this blog.
If the kid in you that likes going crazy and not always jumping on the STORY BANDWAGON and remembering that games don't necessarily have to consist of visual drama or provide flawless gameplay to entertain you, I recommend giving Postal 3 a shot.
P.S. I'm sometimes told that I sound angry when I express myself? There's no anger to aggression in this post, just FYI :P I'm typing thoughts here is all.