Postal 3: When Does Delisting Games Matter?

Games like Postal 3 sometimes get delisted and disappear forever, but is this something that actually matters when the game is bad?

By LCLupus, Posted 22 Nov 2022

Postal is a game franchise exclusively and consistently developed by Running With Scissors. The first game never made much of a splash, but the second game is an extremely infamous, notorious piece of media that tried its very best to be as offensive as possible. Subsequent games have failed to capture an audience like the second one inexplicably captured, but a strange thing just happened, because Postal 3 suddenly disappeared off Steam, and no one really cares.

To further explain what Postal itself is, the game franchise is simply a series of games that feature the Postal Dude, an extremely violent and irreverent man that no one is supposed to associate themselves with, but that doesn’t stop certain people. And most of the games effectively exist as a somewhat plotless husk of a game world in which you do various things that are mean-spirited, cruel, and tasteless. This could involve urinating on a grave or killing Gary Coleman. Petty, childish things.

There’s no real point to any of it and they are a series of games that are very much outside the limelight nowadays because people aren’t as interested in edgy nonsense like they were in the early 2000s when Postal 2 spewed its way onto the gaming marketplace. All of this is to say that the Postal games are simply tasteless displays of offensiveness that thinks itself to be funny while being extremely unfunny. However, something being unfunny has never stopped edgelord teenagers from clinging onto it and making it a part of their personality. This is also from personal experience, as this here writer knows many people who loved that terrible game.

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And then, randomly, the third mainline game disappeared off Steam. Running With Scissors made a statement on Twitter to explain why it happened. The game went down because of some DRM issues that the developers couldn’t fix because they do not have control over the Steam page, but the developers don’t seem to care about this thing either seeing as they said, in a different tweet: “At least people will no longer buy that trash!”

The Postal games haven’t made a splash since the second one, and the latest one, Postal 4: No Regrets, generally got pretty low review scores. So, it probably makes sense that the game got delisted and pretty much no one cares, not even the developers. However, that’s a pretty interesting thing, isn’t it?

Firstly, for those unfamiliar with the term: what is delisting? Delisting is when a game gets pulled off store pages so there’s no longer any way to legally access them. This can happen when a license expires, when a publisher no longer wants to pay for whatever platform is hosting it, or because they just don’t care. The biggest profile delistings tend to be for big-name games.

GTA IV was delisted for a short time because of licensing issues with the in-game music, but that was resolved. Other delistings are more permanent. Most are for games you’ve never heard of, like some random movie tie-in game that no one cared about, but when an MMO loses its servers and all the players get booted out of the game, that’s delisting too. It is when a game is now only available through emulation or piracy. And when it comes to something like an MMO, emulation and piracy aren’t even options. Those games simply vanish forever.

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There are sites like that track all the games that have been delisted and are no longer available for purchase. At time of writing, the site states that over 1600 games are just gone. Forever. They can never be brought back. However, that site also relies on submissions from regular people who noticed that a game was delisted, so there are probably even more games that have been delisted and lost forever that haven’t been recorded on community hubs like that.

Most of these games are ones that no one cares about, games like Postal 3, but just because no one cares about a game, should it disappear forever? Preservation and archival are the processes we use to attempt to save things from disappearing forever. We might put them into special online archives or museums to make sure that they don’t vanish from the face of the earth. This is a bandage approach. It doesn’t fix the problem of games getting pulled down by their publishers and developers.

A recent video by the gaming YouTuber Raycevick looked at and discussed the Far Cry 3 co-op campaign that, because Ubisoft shut down the servers, can no longer be accessed. The co-op campaign wasn’t amazing. It was pretty repetitive and uninspired in comparison to the single-player campaign, but does that mean that it deserves to disappear forever?

We often care about games getting delisted because it’s a piece of gaming history that has been taken away from us. If we want to go back and look at certain games, they may not be there any longer. For instance, you can no longer buy the Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on Steam. You have to buy the remastered version. However, that version changes a few things. What if you don’t want those changes? You don’t get to decide what you want to do with the game that you want to spend your money on because the publisher decided that they no longer want that version to be purchasable. To make matters worse for that particular game, the Prepare to Die Edition had its servers turned off. So, if you still have the game in your Steam library, you can’t play it online.

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But it’s easy to get angry about a Dark Souls game being pulled or the eternally loathed Konami’s decision to pull P.T. from the PlayStation with no option to ever buy it. Those are the big ones, but do the bad games deserve to exist? There’s a lot to be learnt from bad games. They can teach us what not to do. They may also have points that are good even if the whole isn’t.

Publishers will never release these abandoned games for free though. That would cause them potential copyright issues. So, instead of simply uploading a game they no longer want to sell for free, they just delete it forever. If you want it, and if you want to pay for it, tough luck. You don’t get to, You may not even be entitled to the thing you bought after a few years. The console may work, and the old disc may work, but the servers are down. So, you can never play it.

Here’s where we come back to Postal 3. It’s a terrible game that even the developers appear to loathe. Does that mean it should disappear from the world forever? This is a question without an answer. The person posing these questions doesn’t like Postal and wouldn’t care if they never existed, but maybe they do have value to someone. And if they have value to someone, then they shouldn’t be purged from all legal avenues. At the very least, these games could be posted on some random site for free. It costs literally nothing to do so, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever do it anyway.

Justin van Huyssteen (@LC_Lupus)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Postal 3


Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Akella
Developer(s): Running With Scissors
Genres: Third-person Shooter
Themes: Shooter
Release Date: 2011-12-21

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