Nice overreaction at CGW vis a vis Postal 2

Robert Coffey gave Postal 2 zero stars – a first for CGW – and the editors let him get away with it.

Let’s see. Again, zero stars have never been given to a game before. Outpost did not get zero stars. The first BC3K did not get zero stars. Descent to Undermountain did not get zero stars. Hell, Riana Rouge didn’t get zero stars. I’ve played through Postal 2. It is sophmoric, needlessly violent, and very, very low-brow. It does not, however, crash all the time on me. (Countless games). It does not have an uninstaller routine that may nuke my entire C: drive. (Myth 2, Pool of Radiance). Etc. In short, the zero star rating is bullshit. CGW, in delivering this rating, is essentially using the same “look at me, look at my” histronics that Postal 2 rubs in your face. A zero star rating for what? Queasy gore? Solider of Fortune 2 is far more garishly ghoulish. Long loading time? Uh, well, they didn’t bother me that much. (Then again, I had a C=64 and a 1540 floppy, so I have patience). The spartan modelling? Yeah, there is some definite ugly architecture in the game, but come on. The sheer bloody potty-mindedness? OH WELL.

Again, tastelessness and rudeness abound in the game…but that’s the POINT. Condemning Postal 2 on its content is like criticizing that classic of lowest-common-denominator humor, Blazing Saddles, because it is not The Magnificent Seven. Postal 2 is dreck, and not even particularly well-executed dreck (Carmageddon 1 was superbly-executed dreck, for instance), but…why?

Either that, or I’m just a evil-minded hateful little creature who cannot recognize pure unacceptable filth when I see. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to reading Juggs now in my single-wide trailer.


Juggs has articles? Maybe I should renew my subscription.

Which issue is this?

Wow, that’s pretty bad. I mean, I don’t think that Postal 2 is a good game either, but I don’t think it deserves 0 stars. That’s like saying the game has absolutely nothing good in it. At least the graphics are kind of pretty.

Well whatever, them giving it zero stars is the same as those moronic PC Gamer joke reviews. Just serves to bring the magazine down more than anything else.

HITLER gave something zero stars!

I’m glad someone took a stand and made it clear that there are some lines that need not be crossed, that there are games that don’t have any merit what-so-ever.

Kudos to CGW for saying “no thanks” to this piece of trash, which isn’t worth the amount of time any of us have given it.

WHAT??? So a game MUST have a redeeming social message to be good???

That’s BULL. and it’s exactly why this game got a low score, a collective ‘We are above this kind of stuff’ went up from the reviewers as they smoked their pipe and averted their eyes when ‘South Park’ came on lest their monocle be ejected from their eye.

Mindless, sloppy, insulting, disgusting, perverted fun is STILL fun. Period. Just because a game features disgusting acts means that it’s a better game than one featuring Ronald MacDonald handing out toys to good boys and girls? Question mark.
That’s bull. This shitty ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude is the exact thing you would be mercilessly making fun of someone over with any other game.

Giving them a zero is exactly what they want. Ooh! We’re the worst game of the year! We’re more edgy than a Garden Weasel!

You said it. Payola at work here.

I didn’t realize game magazines were in the business of making political statements.

Anyway, it’s funny that you’re talking about the content of the game, rather than the quality of the game itself. I guess I just thought people should rate a game on how good/bad it is, not whether or not it offends them.

WHAT??? So a game MUST have a redeeming social message to be good???[/quote]

This is a pretty bad misrepresentation of what Adam said. He feels Postal 2 is trash and he’s happy CGW slammed it. He didn’t mention anything about games needing “a redeeming social message.”

This looks a lot like snobbery, but reversed. Why are moral claims only made by stuffy, pretentious old white men with their smoking jackets and monocles?

But what if they just didn’t find it fun? What if the little enjoyment they got out of the game was eclipsed by the mindless, sloppy, insulting, disgusting, and perverted gameplay?

Maybe, maybe not. But I’m just not sure why this is a shitty ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. Does the body of the review do a good job of explaining the reasoning behind the final score? I haven’t read the review, so I don’t know.

It just seems to me that some people are upset that CGW is making a moral judgement about a game. What suprises me is not that people disagree with the moral judgment – I don’t think I’ve seen anyone on these boards yet try to defend Postal 2 – but they disagree with a review making any sort of moral judgement at all. We don’t seem to mind when reviews make aesthetic judgments, so why do we mind when they make moral judgments? Can’t we just happily disagree with a review’s moral slant in the same way we happily disagree with its aesthetic slant without resorting to “holier-than-thou” accusations?

Shouldn’t a review talk about the quality of a game and its gameplay, graphics, sounds, and overall fun? If I want someone to tell me about the moral problems in a game I’m certainly not going to listen to a gaming magazine.

Anyway, the game isn’t very good, but there are worse games out there(i think pretty much everyone can agree on that). So giving it a 0 trivializes their reviewing in my opinion. “Wait, did this guy give the game a bad score because it was a bad game, or because he was offended by it?”

Of course on GameSpot zero stars would translate to 0.4.

Looks like it translates into a 5.5 on IGN.

Because ‘morals’ in NO WAY effect how a game plays. Graphics and such do, if you can’t tell which pile of pixels is a bad guy and which is a trash can, the gameplay is going to suffer.

However if the game is about throwing kittens and nuns into a chipper shredder, this doesn’t make the game easier or more difficult to play.
And ‘Morals’ are more subjective than ANY of the other criteria put together.

‘The Sims’ doesn’t include ‘going to church’ as a Sunday activity, therefore should it’s score be lowered for that offence? ‘Doom’ includes upside down crosses, isn’t that immoral? Why wasn’t it’s score dinged for that?
Where do you stop on the morals issue? ‘Doom III’ most likely won’t include a ‘get baptised and sing the praises of Jesus’ mode, thus it deserves a solid zero for lack of morals.

This looks a lot like snobbery, but reversed. Why are moral claims only made by stuffy, pretentious old white men with their smoking jackets and monocles?

Cause I find it funny jackass.

Looks like I’ve found the first customer for the 3D rape simulator I’m working on!

Can’t we just happily disagree with a review’s moral slant in the same way we happily disagree with its aesthetic slant without resorting to “holier-than-thou” accusations?

If it gets in the way of the key piece of information in the review-- whether the game is entertaining and worth playing, or not-- then I’m against it. Clearly the gameplay in Postal 2 can support more than ZERO stars. Although I never played the game, I was surprised how positive the reception was on the user threads at ShugaShack. So I’m inclined to go with scharmers on this one.

And since when does moral slant belong in a game review? Does the C in CGW stand for “Christian” now?

“be uncomfortable;
be sand, not oil,
in the machinery
of the world.”

–Gunter Eich (1907-1972)

Is Postal 2 garbage? Oh yeah. But it’s moderately amusing garbage, and there were occassionally moments where I said to myself, “You know, they’re dead on here.” But…

The biggest thing that bothered me about P2 was not the content. People, please, don’t try to tell me that you’ve watched at least a dozen movies with more vicious, bloody-minded stuff in it than what was presented in P2. No, what bothered me was that there were literally dozens of moments were I saw satirical opportunites glossed over or completely overlooked…RWS was too busy adding the over-the-top material to remember that they were supposedly making a satrical game. You know, I think that perhaps those boys should have hired, say, the Angriest Gamer Alive to put some of Teh Funny in P2. Postal 2 could have been an anarachic HOOT. But instead of Monty Python, we got got Benny Hill, covered in feces.

But no way does P2 deserve 0 stars, and I’ll stand on that opinion. It could have been SO much more with good writers, though. Can you imagine a good satirical writer being handed material like this? Christ, I dream of a producer coming up to me with this kind of freedom.


Looks like I’ve found the first customer for the 3D rape simulator I’m working on!

Actually, you’d probably do well with the Japanese market. Actually, on second thought, no, you wouldn’t. That particular market is already flooded with rape games.


True, but why can’t someone go beyond simply judging how a game plays and make claims about how it portrays its videogame world? Say, for example, about its representation of women, or its use of violence, or how it does or doesn’t manipulate the player’s emotions, etc. Does it bother you when critics from other mediums like literature, film or theatre make these claims?

Well, there’s about 2,500 years of moral and ethical theory that would debate you on that point, but even if you are a devout relativist who finds morality completely and utterly subjective, how are aesthetical judgments less subjective? Does it bother you when reviewers use highly subjective aesthetic terms like beautiful, immersive, fun, etc.?

Wow. Not sure if you’re being serious here or not, so I’ll just assume that you are and say that not all moral claims are based on a religious tradition. As a matter of fact, most moral theories aren’t, as the three main Western moral philosophies, including the version that most inspires our political tradition are based in opposition to religous claims.

It seems to me that the crux of the debate may come down to how we want our videogames to be. I get the feeling from you, GMicek and others that videogames are all a complex extension of tic-tac-toe, with complicated rules and systems, and that they can be evaluated by a simple understanding of those rules and a description of the graphics of the Xs and Os. Moral judgements really have no place, because, well, tic-tac-toe has little or no moral content; it says nothing about the world and is just a collection of rules and symbols.

On the other hand, I want videogames to be more like literature, film, theatre, television, comic books, music, and other activities that are intellectually and morally complicated, that have some sort of relationship to the real world beyond the accurate representation of its surfaces. In that regard, I welcome CGW holding Postal 2 up to standard we wouldn’t be surprised to find in a literature journal or cinema magazine. I really want the industry to grow up, and out in the world of grown ups there’s all sorts of messy talk of morality, choice, judgment and the like. However, I doubt I’ll be able to change your mind on the matter.