Sawbuck Gamer

Surgeon Simulator 2013

Medical Malpractice

Surgeon Simulator 2013 reflects poorly on the state of modern medicine.

By Drew Toal • February 6, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Growing up, one of my favorite computer simulators was a game called Life & Death. In it, you assume the role of a hotshot surgeon, and you must perform tense, invasive procedures on the body in front of you. Owing to my fourth-grade-level knowledge of human anatomy and modern medicine, my patients usually bled out within minutes, and with a memorably horrifying scream. (I said it was a favorite game, not that I was any good at it.)

Surgeon Simulator 2013 is the first time I’ve scrubbed up since Life & Death, and apparently my scalpel hand hasn’t become any steadier in the ensuing decades.

The basic setup of this game is similar, but where I had only myself to blame for the nightmarish butchery of Life & Death, the controls in Surgeon Simulator 2013 are so hilariously unwieldy that the patient would be doomed even with Dr. Oz on the keyboard. In this way, it’s more of a joke than a game, but the joke is so good that it demands at least a couple playthroughs. Just trying to grasp a bone saw or the heart you’re transplanting is an exercise in near-total futility, and you’ll knock at least half your tools to the floor before you get anywhere near a damaged ventricle. It’s as if you’ve pumped your hand full of Novocain before trying to thread a sewing needle. If nothing else, it’ll make you think twice about ever going under the knife, and it’s rare times like these that I’m thankful for my complete lack of health insurance.

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29 Responses to “Medical Malpractice”

  1. Cheese says:

    It seems wrong that patients scream when they die in a surgery simulator. Maybe they’re dying because you didn’t purchase the Anesthesiologist  Simulator expansion.

  2. George_Liquor says:

    Can we have your liver, then?

  3. I played “Life and Death II: The Brain” once. You start by seeing patients, and running simple tests on them.

    One of the tests involved poking a patient’s face with a pin to test for numbness. You can repeatedly poke him on the cheek, and the  patient goes “ouch”, “ouch” then eventually “oog!”. This amused me to no end. Without expecting anything special, I then poked the pin in the patient’s eye. The patient emitted a chilling scream, and the action suddenly cut to my supervisor’s office.

    “This is a hospital,” he scolded, “not a place to practice your impression of Freddy Kruger. Any more behaviour like that and I’ll be forced to dismiss you.”

  4. Limeade Youth says:

    This sounds like the prequel to “Dr. Octagon: The Game”

  5. lokimotive says:

    I’m curious what this surgeon is doing with his other hand.

    I don’t know if anyone else experienced this, but I found myself frantically pulling at the heart as the patient quickly bled out. It’s hard to be precise with that scalpel, so I clearly missed some necessary artery or something that attached the heart to the soon to be cadaver, so I found my hand gripped around an organ that refused to come loose. The ferocity with which I yanked and wriggled would seem to have ripped it out despite not being completely severed, but the human body is a strange thing.

    My favorite part of this is casually tossing away various instruments and body parts, because it’s just easier than actually placing them in a responsible manner.

    • Bakken Hood says:

      Yeah, it’s hard as hell to find all the vessels you need to cut.  What…somehow…just worked for me (yes, I actually just won a game) was pretty much just stirring at random with a scalpel.

      My favorite part of this is that, based on my experience and that of everyone else I’ve heard of actually winning, is that the most delicate instrument for opening the ribcage is the damn hammer.  Seriously, one well-placed swing and the whole ribcage shatters, with minimal bleeding.  SPOILERS FOLLOW IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT IT.

      1) Smash ribcage with hammer (requires figuring out that you have to move the mouse WHILE holding RMB to rotate hand).
      2) Discard everything that isn’t strapped down– bones, lungs, everything, since they don’t matter.
      3) Grab scalpel, point blade downwards, lower hand, stir vigorously until heart comes loose and starts rolling around in chest cavity.
      4) Discard old heart, which is somehow harder than it sounds.
      5) Insert new heart.  Jigger new heart around until you get notification that you’ve won.

  6. Cloks says:

    Hi everybody!

  7. Girard says:

    Just to make sure – there’s no ACTUAL way to ‘win’ at this, right? On their Steam Greenlight page, they talk about different types of surgery, different goals and different scenarios (like in the back of a speeding ambulance), but I wonder how they’ll incorporate multiple levels if none of them actually have a win state.

  8. Eco1970 says:

    This was a funny ‘review’, but again it’s seemingly been dashed off in like 5 minutes. Why are the controls so unwieldy? Sparse review. Did you write this on the bus to your real job?

    • George_Liquor says:

      It’s a frickin’ free browser game! Click on the link & find out for yourself.

    • Pandas_please says:

       I think these are meant to be quick impressions by the reviewer, after all all of the games are ten dollars or cheaper, many of them are even free. Enough information for the reader to decide weather or not they might want to take a look at the title for themselves.

  9. Citric says:

    Now I know what that game was from when I was a kid! Life and Death! Everyone gets surgery all the time! And then they die.

  10. EmperorNortonI says:

    It is a horrible shame, and an indictment of American politics and society, that the wonderful and talented contributors to this site don’t have health care.

  11. MesotheleonaHelmsley says:

    I dropped the rotary saw in the cavity. That happens right?