Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) once described Marilyn Manson, Calvin Kline underwear ads and the game Postal as the “three worst things in American society.” This was back in the late 90’s. Besides being in the Senator’s bad books, Postal has been condemned by moralist groups, banned in several countries and sued by the United States Postal Service.
Before Grand Theft Auto III opened the floodgates, Postal was the lightning-rod of gaming controversy. Its excessive and grotesque violence along with is carefree mood made it one of the most controversial games of all time.
The basis of Postal is simple; gamers take on the role of The Postal Dude who has gone postal after being evicted from his apartment. From that point, it’s all about The Postal Dude going on a killing spree. The sequel, Postal 2, was no different, aside from the fact that the killing spree was optional. Now Postal III is currently in the works with an expected release date sometime in 2011.
Looking back, gaming controversy has become very mediocre and trivial. Controversies such as Resident Evil 5 being racist, the Taliban being featured in Medal of Honor, the “No Russian” mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the occasional demonic imagery in an RPG has only generated minor outcry over a trivial issue.
The last time a game caused this much controversy was the “Hot Coffee”-mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Rockstar was faced with multiple civil suits, a recall of all copies, and a Senate investigation. California even passed a law in response to the “Hot Coffee”-mod (which is being challenged in the US Supreme Court).
While gaming controversy has died down, there’s a good chance that Postal III will reignite it. When the game is released, expect a firestorm of moral panic and outrage to flood the gaming world.