Adventures of a Non-Gamer: Surgeon Simulator 2013


by Shawnie Kelly (@DearShawnie)

I have always wanted to be a surgeon. Actually, that’s not true at all and I apologize for starting this off on a dishonest note. My only medical dream, and this is very true, is to encounter an emergency of some sort so that I can shout “Someone boil water!” and then fade into the crowd like a phantom. I’m not sure what boiled water does in emergency medical situations, but it’s in all of my favorite movies… like Anne of Green Gables. She saves a girl dying of whooping cough with boiled water. According to movies, boiled water can also save men whose legs have been blown off in the Civil War. And did you know boiled water can be used to deliver babies as well? This has been the extent of my medical knowledge until now. Enter, Surgeon Simulator 2013.

It’s important to first note that this game is not realistic. I know this because there is no boiling water anywhere! Other than that, I’m pretty much a certified heart surgeon after one hour of this game.

I didn’t want to even venture into another PC game since my last PC experience was bizarre times a million. Before that disaster, the only familiarity I had with PC gaming was the World of Warcraft episode of South Park. As you can see, television and movies are generally my standard of comparison for everything in life, which I find to be probably the least effective standard of comparison for everything in life… if you were wondering.

Surgeon Simulator is exciting in that panicked, rushed, running out of time kind of way. Which is how I live my day to day life anyway, so I felt pretty comfy in the operating room. However, the actual surgery part was very difficult. So difficult that I would have killed eight actual people had circumstances been real. Eight people is a lot. But thankfully it was only one virtual man over and over again. I named him Bernard because I think that name is funny and also you never hear it anymore. Like, so classic right? If you’ve never played this game, you have to perform life-threatening surgery on patients (Bernard) in less than stellar circumstances. Like an operating room that looks like it hasn’t been up to code standards in twenty years. There was a pigeon in my operating room if that gives you any indication of the environment.

I would love to say that I killed Bernard over and over again because I didn’t know what to do and was confused the whole time; it’s an excuse that has served me well for almost a year now on these gaming adventures. But that was not the case at all with Surgeon Simulator. I knew exactly what to do, but the controls are keyboard operated. That’s right. The girl who can barely operate a joystick and right trigger at the same time was now responsible for moving fingers with the spacebar and circular wrist movement with the mouse. I just re-read that last sentence and I don’t even understand it. Let’s just say that I dropped all of my tools into Bernard’s open body cavity and also accidentally injected myself with painkillers multiple times. It’s hard to perform open heart surgery when you’re seeing rainbows and unicorns simultaneously.

Other than my obvious lack of hand-spacebar coordination, I still actually loved this game! After many Bernard deaths, I finally replaced his heart and it was one of my favorite gamer experiences thus far. I saved someone’s life with my bare hands! Literal bare hands. There were no surgical gloves. (Ew, right?) It was basically fantastic.

The scariest part of this game was actually the intro where you’re at the front desk and you have to choose what surgery you’re going to perform. The phone kept ringing and ringing and there is no one else in the room to answer it. Have I told you about my “phone answering” phobia? Well it’s real. I have had one too many jobs where answering phones is 90% of the job, and now I just refuse to answer public phones anywhere. Including video games.

Happy gaming, you gamers!

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