The topics of Illness, medical treatment — and the medical profession at large — may seem like strange subjects for entertainment. But like many areas,video games can serve to put a somewhat more fun spin onthe topic.
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When it comes to this subject, games have taken different approaches over the years in crafting a fun, interesting experience. Some emphasize detail, stressing a sim-like, almost educational angle, while others run with a more lighthearted look and feel. These can be effective in bringing awareness in a field that can be intimidating to some. At the same time, this scarcely-touched area in gaming has alsoprovided the backdrop forsome uniquely fun, dynamic experiences. We examine some of the greatest examples over the years.
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10 Bio Inc. Redemption
This one takes the form of a sort of anatomical puzzle game with multiple layers, coupled with trials of swiftness and alertness. You are tasked with diagnosing and treating victims of deadly illnesses. You can also take a more devious route, and actually inflict various diseases and viruses upon your patients.
The complex, busy nature of Bio Inc. Redemption's interface and gameplay may not be for everyone. Still, many gamers andmedical buffsshould find ample excitement in this race against the clock. It's hard not to appreciate the amount of variety at least, as DryGin's point-and-click game contains hundreds of diseases, viruses, treatments, and diagnostic tests to tinker with.
This one stands as both an obscure DOS game and a sociopolitical product of the early '90s. In fact, the game was crafted by Maxis in conjunction with the Markle Foundation to bring awareness at a time of debate regarding the U. S. healthcare system's direction. It's interesting, to say the least — but how is the actual gameplay?
Well, the consensus among the few who have played it seems to indicate a certain dullness and complexity that even makes early Sim City efforts look exciting. Still, the attention to detail and educational value of this economic medical sim should draw some fans of the genre.
8 Hospital Tycoon
Both a hospital management game and business sim, DR Studios' Hospital Tycoon shines for its nuanced mechanics and a surprisingly gripping story. While some have knocked it for being a tad rough around the edges, this 2007 game impresses with its vast scale, which can be further expanded via sandbox mode.
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You must oversee the bustling happenings of a hospital while tending to patients, nurses, and doctors alike. With its more passive approach and narrative throughline, Hospital Tycoon feels as much like a game as it does an interactive version of the TV show ER.
7 Project Hospital
Taking a more colorful approach to hospitals, Oxymoron Games fuses cartoon visuals with the nuance of a business sim. You assume the role of a builder, manager, and doctor all at once, as you must build, staff, and oversee hospital occupants. There's no shortage of activities to lose oneself in — from treating patients, to tinkering with construction and keeping the staff content.
In a welcomed inclusion, the complexity can be streamlined by selecting premade rooms. This allows you to focus more on micromanaging, knocking out tasks, and tending to patients. Various game patches have improved the experience too, especially regarding the quality of life issues.
6 The Stretchers
There's an outbreak hitting the streets, mass spells of dizzyness, inflicted by the sinister Captain Brains. The goal? Transport the droopy, disoriented patients to the hospital. The wacky premise certainly fits with the cartoony, colorful visuals. Butbeneath this childlike zaniness is a surprisingly fun action puzzle game, especially when tag-teaming with a fellow medic.
The controls take ona comically loose feel, amplified by sloppy ragdoll physics. But these mechanics — coupled with fun, escalating challenges — just add to the enjoyment and humor of the experience. Tarsier Studios doesn'ttake itself too seriously, despite the more serious tone this subject matter usually entails —but that's largely why it works.
5 Surgeon Simulator
When it comes to the job description of a surgeon, the word "fun" isn't often one that comes to mind. Yet, Bossa Studios seeks to cut through this notion and prove otherwise with this indie sleeper, formally known as Surgeon Simulator 2013.
The life of a surgeon can be frantic and intense, and this game captures that feel with its immersive first-person view and deep mechanics. This is further enhanced with its support of nuanced motion controls, which can be exploited via Switch's Joy-Cons.
Despite the "sim" tag, this romp puts a goofy twist on a typically more serious subject, featuring some loose physics and rather excessive gore. This tricky interface makes failing almost guaranteed as you fumble and stumble through operations.
4 Two Point Hospital
Given the success of the fan-favorite Theme Hospital two decades earlier, British developer Two Point Studios hada tough taskahead of them in trying to outshine that effort. Though it wasn't that unreasonable, given developers Mark Webley and Gary Carr's role in crafting that classic.
Whether this spiritual successor lives up to Theme Hospital is debatable, but for most, it comes quite close. It certainly bests it in terms of the appealing aesthetic and smooth, manageable interface.
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Two Point Hospital takesthe dull, grim nature of the hospital vibe and puts a colorful, zany spin on it. This whimsical style is complemented by some truly fun, rewarding gameplay as you are tasked with building and managing bustling facilities from the ground up while tending to some rather wacky ailments.
3 Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Despite coming off the heels of Wii's huge launch, this cult hit by Atlus tended to get overshadowed by the esteemed Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It also didn't help that the game is a glorified remake of a DS title from the prior year.
Still, Trauma Center: Second Opinion remains one of the most entertaining medical sims to grace a console. This is thanks in part to its appealing anime overlay and gripping storytelling. But while the charming aesthetic draws in gamers, it's the refined mechanics and addictive gameplay that keep them hooked.
Strengthened by the inventive use of Wii's motion controls, Atlus keeps the intrigue and the curveballs going — with a slew of distinct tools, tasks, and procedures to work with. Never haveintense surgical operations been so fun!
2 Trauma Center: Under The Knife 2
Building on the solid foundation of its 2005 predecessor, this Trauma Center sequel amps up the depth and narrative experience. At the same time, it tosses in some new operations like bone repair.
After its Wii tangent, Vanguard and Atlus make the welcomed return to the sharper, more intuitive touch screen controls of the DS. The game keeps you on a razor's edge with ten unique surgical tools ranging from scalpels to defibrillators.
Under the Knife 2 simultaneously shines in terms of its presentation, narrative, and trauma-based innovative gameplay.
1 Theme Hospital
Though this classic was released for PlayStation and PC, it particularly shines on the latter with a detailed but smooth interface that fits the keyboard and mouse setup like a glove. Bullfrog Productions perfectly strikes that balance between appealing, accessible gameplay and robust depth.
The game brings a loose throughline of various objectives, while keeping things open-ended as to how they can be tackled. The hours will simply fly by in this feverishly addictive game, as you juggle manytasks. These range from building to treating patients as well asmanaging money and reputation.
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