Surgeon Simulator 2013: Josh’s Medschool Exam

By Shamus Posted Thursday May 2, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 130 comments

Link (YouTube)

One interesting controversy about this game was that apparently some people were upset over the name. They saw “Surgeon Simulator 2013″ and expected it to be, you know, a simulation. It’s like calling the 80’s classic Rampage, “Sim City”. The game began as a goof – a flash based web game where the name of the game was part of the joke. But when you’re looking at a game in the context of a store, your assumptions change and a lot of people don’t expect the titale of a game to be ironic, hyperbolic, or absurdist.

It wasn’t a big controversy or anything. It was more like a few unhappy comments. But I thought the confusion as a result of a change in context was interesting.

Back in the very early 90’s I did play a real surgeon simulation. I don’t remember the name, but I do remember it was HARD. Your first surgery is an appendectomy, and the game expected you to be able to locate and extract the appendix without carving up the patient like a Christmas ham. I failed on my first three tries because I was just a few inches off, and after cutting and fiddling around for a long time I’d finally get in there and find out I didn’t have the right angle to extract the appendix. (Cutting a second incision would immediately end the operation with a message that another doctor was taking over.)

So now we have two games that feature point-and-click surgery. That makes it a genre!


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130 thoughts on “Surgeon Simulator 2013: Josh’s Medschool Exam

  1. Eric Rossing says:

    The game you’re thinking of is “Life and Death”. The very farthest I ever got was being ready to cut out the appendix, which I promptly flubbed….

    1. Hal says:

      Wow, I didn’t expect that to be answered already.

      Yeah, we had that game, too. I was in grade school, though, so I really didn’t get it. Like, at all. The few times I did fire it up, I could never make the incisions big enough to have room to remove anything by the time I’d cut through all the various tissue layers. So mostly I’d just start writing my name in the patient’s skin with the scalpel . . . without anesthetizing them first.

      I’m really not surprised I never went to med school. I am, however, surprised my parents didn’t make me see a counselor.

    2. Ithilanor says:

      It has a sequel, even, where you’re a neurosurgeon. You have to do diagnostics involving poking people with a pin to see their response, so you can imagine the hilarity even before you start cutting someone’s brain open…

      1. One of the threads that went around on Reddit recently was what the worst thing you’ve ever done in a game is. My pick for myself was Life & Death 2. Why? I learned how to fix a subdural hematoma, a brain injury… by trial and error.

        This is not the American Medical Association-approved technique for learning brain surgery.

        1. MrGuy says:

          You know what they always say. When all you have are brains, every problem looks like a subdural hematoma.

        2. Factoid says:

          Dear lord….the cancer removal surgery still gives me shudders. I was literally suctioning out peoples’ brains just kinda hoping I was taking the right part.

          Although honestly I think it was less forgivable how I would write my name in peoples’ abdomens with a scalpel in L&D1. With no anaesthetic. They didn’t scream and end the surgery until after you let go of the mouse button

        3. Peter H. Coffin says:

          There’s a slight irony that brain surgery (trepanation, at least) is the oldest known surgery (skulls from almost 10,000 years show it), people got pretty good at it (the skulls show healing from it, sometimes years and years of healing), and there sure wasn’t any AMA around to approve anything other than experimentation.

    3. Factoid says:

      I loved that game so much. The trick to removing the Appendix is that you have to hit a spot with your clamp that is literally about 2×2 pixels. And then you can make a nick it with a scalpel, continuing with scissors.

      After that it’s pretty easy.

      The second surgery in the game is to do an aortic aneurism repair. It’s much easier.

      1. Steve C says:

        I remember that game! I didn’t like it much but had fun with it. It became my goal to do as much damage as possible before my patient died. Like making a huge circular incision the size of the torso then removing the skin. It was surprisingly hard to keep a patient alive along enough to do something criminally negligent to him.

      2. Keeshhound says:

        “The second surgery in the game is to do an aortic aneurism repair. It's much easier.

        Things that I never thought I’d read, part thirty-two.

    4. Neko says:

      Me and my sister had fun times playing that game. We had absolutely no idea how to play it or what all the different tools did. I can recall that patient’s scream effect even now.

    5. J Gostick says:

      Always named myself “Dr. Mindflayer” and promptly failed out of every single examination…

  2. TraderRager says:

    Well, I’ll be damned. Josh is a bonafide surgeon now.

  3. Greg says:

    This is just the soul-crushingly horrific dose of hilarity I needed to get me through my finals study.

  4. Cybron says:

    This hurts to watch.

    1. Canthros says:

      I’ve actually had heart surgery. This might give me nightmares.

      (Only had a valve replaced, but it did feel a bit like my chest cavity got rifled through for loose change.)

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Maybe your doctor’s watch was flown into your chest.

        1. Canthros says:

          Well, I *do* have this persistent ticking noise since then, but I was told it was just the prosthetic valve …

  5. guy says:

    I’m just imagining this guy getting transferred to one of the Trauma Center hospitals.

    “Removing a man’s right lung and ribcage during a heart transplant is not the path of honor!”

    1. HiEv says:

      I like the Ctrl+Alt+Del comic’s explanation for why he’s so bad.

      1. Thomas says:

        That second panel is perfect! =D

      2. AndrewC says:

        Wow, that’s the first time I’ve laughed at a CAD strip (unless you count the countless remixes of the infamous miscarriage strip).

  6. IFS says:

    Somehow the guys over at Roosterteeth (Ragequit specifically) managed to get through a lot of these operations, with the unique added challenge of having two people playing one controlling the arm and one controlling the hand. Link below if anyone wants to take a look.

    1. Explodian says:

      The original Ragequit they did for the free version is what made me buy the game, specifically:
      -“Where’s his heart?”

      1. swenson says:

        That’s now an achievement, by the way, as is “Like a Wet Paper Towel”. Apparently the makers of the game are fans of Rage Quit.

        1. Arumin says:

          They are also a huge fan of Robbaz it seems, as they named the patient Bob, after his video where he does heart surgery only with the hammer in a record time

      2. Galad says:

        For some reason I read that in Jarenth’s voice :D

    2. swenson says:

      I think there’s three videos now with them… the latest just came out today. Let’s just say that Michael and Gavin are inept enough at surgery before you put them in a bouncing ambulance.

  7. Graham says:

    Three, actually. There’s also the Trauma Center series for the DS and Wii.

    Those are much more forgiving. And fun.

    1. False Prophet says:

      My friend and I had a good laugh playing Trauma Centre: Second Opinion on the Wii. I was playing the stage where you extract glass shards from the heart of a car crash victim. Just when you clear out most of them, the nurse yells a warning and a giant shard suddenly erupts from the heart. My friend said, “it’s the Boss Shard!” and I rolled over laughing.

    2. Chuk says:

      My kids and I had quite a bit of fun with the Trauma Center games.

  8. Blake says:

    I enjoyed this immensely.
    Well done Josh, I think you’re ready to put it into practice!

  9. Gruhunchously says:

    And thus, through a freak accident, Josh created the first Time Lord…

    1. MrGuy says:

      And he even gave him a watch. Appropriate, somehow.

  10. Jamas Enright says:

    There are also the flash game series Dark Cut about medieval surgery, although it’s more ‘can you drag the mouse along this line?’ more than actual surgery.

    1. Jeysie says:

      I was going to mention this myself, but you beat me to it. I’ll add that the later two games involve more battlefield surgery, in the Civil War and in more modern times.

      And that it’s basically a Darker and Edgier and Gorier version of Trauma Center, yeah. The second and third games especially are creepy. (The first one is too cartoony for what it was going for, IMHO.)

  11. newdarkcloud says:

    In the middle of this episode, I got hungry and snacked on Peanut Butter Oreos.

    This was after I was 20 minutes in and laughing at the absurdity of it all.

  12. Phantos says:

    I’m calling it:

    This is the best Spoiler Warning episode I’ve seen. Even better than Miranda dying in ME 2. Even better than Trains. This is it. This is the top of the mountain.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I still say trainz is a better episode than this,because in this the controls are bad on purpose.

      1. Volfram says:

        Good point. At least the Surgeon Simulator game works the way it was intended.

        …Unless there’s somehow a way to transplant the new heart into a road intersecting the train track you were trying to transplant it into…

    2. bucaneer says:

      I think this could have been the best if Rutskarn was present. Alas.

      1. Rutskarn says:

        *snff* At least someone misses me and my incessant, ear-burrowing, wholly irredeemable, lowest-form-of-humor sensibilitays!

        Yeah, okay, that’s fair.

        1. Atarlost says:

          Shamus obviously does too since he made the ticker pun in your absence.

        2. Suggestion: Rutz needs to record an audio track, perhaps with an echo effect, as the patient. His disembodied soul is able to watch what’s happening and make horrified comments which go unheard by his tormentors.

    3. Viktor says:

      Same. I had to pause it a couple times to let myself recover. This is even better than Rutskarn’s reaction to the giant human Reaper.

    4. Jakale says:

      My favorite part is that it’s basically the entire SW play style boiled down to 26 minutes, minus Ruts puns.
      Start game, fool around with all the starting stuff before fumbling to the plot.
      Apply blunt trauma to problem, if that doesn’t work, upgrade weapon.
      Acquire and consume mind altering substance, if possible.
      Encounter bizarre physics anomaly that makes everyone laugh.
      Run into roadblock and fail via death multiple times.
      Pull off success in the most “I can’t believe he succeeded” way possible.

    5. Cybron says:

      I personally think Amnesia is the best episode, closely followed by Trainz.

  13. AbruptDemise says:

    The ending is really what makes this great.

    Though Josh picking up an injector by the needle was amazing, too.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      I don’t think the episode could have gone any better short of accidentally dumping all the tools into the chest cavity, and then succeeding anyways.

      …Then again, he almost did that as it was.

  14. Spammy says:

    So… the surgeon’s first impulse on his first surgery is to pump himself full of morphine.

    I guess Reginald Cuftbert is arguably a kind of surgeon…

    1. Dave B. says:

      Really, when you think about it, bullets are like tiny little scalpels.

      1. MrGuy says:

        And putting a live grenade is someone’s pocket has a lot in common with putting a new heart in their chest.

        1. Gruhunchously says:

          In the Reginald Cuftbert school of medicine, it is a common practice to transplant the heart into the back pocket and the grenade into the chest cavity.

          1. Humanoid says:

            Then sell the remaining organs back to the unsuspecting patient.

            “Liver, spleen, couple of lungs, a stomach, a uterus – huh, where’d I get that from? – pancreas, 20m of intestine, okay how many caps will you give me for this?”

            1. MrGuy says:

              Wow, you seem to have EXACTLY what I’m missing! I’m so lucky I ran into you!

            2. hewhosaysfish says:

              And then eat his own Doctor’s Bag.

              1. Adam says:

                That frigging line. My girlfriend memeticized that line singlehandedly after we watched the F:NV season together. (she wrote it on my hand when I fell asleep next to her!)

  15. Furlong says:

    For what its worth, we wish you a speedy recovery Josh.

  16. Some_Jackass says:

    I find it fitting that Josh kept up the proud SW tradition of getting his character drugged up.

  17. Humanoid says:

    MY BRAAAAIN HURTS! I’m already wincing and I haven’t even watched the video. I imagine by the time I’m done, my face will be permanently contorted. (I have a pretty weak stomach for this kind of thing, though not literally)

    I’m now imagining Reginald Cuftbert-Gumby, famous brain surgeon, handkerchief on head, announcing that he’s about to operate.


    1. MrGuy says:

      4 out of 5 doctors surveyed suggested applying morphine directly to the lung.

      1. tjtheman5 says:

        4 out of those 5 doctors are now in jail for malpractice as well. I don’t think there’s a correlation.

        1. False Prophet says:

          You might think it would be the same 4, but you’d be wrong.

  18. Thomas says:

    I can’t believe you did it! I’ve seen people try for longer at the non-stomach version and never succeed. Josh is truly a genius amongst surgeons

  19. MrGuy says:

    Chris: “It would help if we weren’t stoned out of our mind.”

    No, Chris. No, it really wouldn’t.

    1. This is also the only time I’ve ever heard anyone tell someone doing amateur surgery, “I’ve found the answer: You can’t do this.”

      I’d pay a ton of money if that line ever appeared in a movie or TV show. It’d be a refreshing change of pace.

      1. Hitchmeister says:

        Need the full sequence. They decide amateur surgery is the only option. Choose who’s going to do it. Somehow knock the patient out and cut them open. Then one of the other starts searching Wikipedia for instructions. Then while the patient is bleeding to death, “This looks really complicated. I don’t think we can do it.”

  20. Chris says:

    Now all that is left is to dispose of the evidence by cannibalism or get another surgeon to close for you.

    1. Syal says:

      You wastrel. Those other organs go in the Donation pile.

  21. Astor says:

    Oh my Josh! I couldn’t stop laughing! And the ending… just that ending… Sublime, bravissimo!

  22. burningdragoon says:

    Wow, not sure it’s possible to have better end to an episode than this one.

  23. Jexter says:

    You can cut out the esophagus by using a scalpel on two points, one near the stomach, and the other at the top. Then you can pull out both the esophagus and the stomach. Makes things a little easier. ;)

    The achievements for the game are pretty hilarious. There’s one for making a Time Lord by giving the patient two hearts (Doctor Who reference), which Josh happened to get in the video by accident. There’s also one for doing an entire surgery while drugged, and another for doing an entire surgery while electrocuted (stick a scalpel in an electrical outlet, and enjoy reversed controls.)

    And there’s even an achievement for doing an entire surgery while electrocuted and drugged, at the same time. That’s a fun one.

    1. Decius says:

      There should be one for leaving the watch in the patient.

      1. swenson says:

        Easiest achievement ever, I should think, what with how easily that thing goes flying off.

      2. Jexter says:

        There is one for putting the radio in the chest cavity in place of the heart, if that counts. Hard to do that by accident, though.

  24. I didn’t want to play doctor with Josh before. Now I want to even less.

  25. anaphysik says:

    “a lot of people don't expect the titale of a game to be ironic”

    Ah yes, the veritable tit-ale.
    (In unrelated news, I’ve never been able to read “Titleist” (title-ist) correctly on the first viewing. It always looks like “tit leist” to me :/)

  26. rayen says:

    If you want to see more levels and the insanity that is ambulance surgery check this.

      1. rayen says:

        you are absolutely right. The new youtube layout is crap and i can’t find anything.

  27. Someone says:

    There should be a DLC for this that allows you to grab a spatula from the cafeteria.

  28. Duhad says:

    OK that ending was AMAZING! I was on the edge of my seat for it!

  29. Brandon says:

    Did anyone happen to mention that this doctor is not wearing gloves? If anyone mentioned that, I missed it.

    It seems relevant to me somehow, like… maybe you should be wearing gloves if you are going to root around in someone’s chest.

    1. Humanoid says:

      In this situation, a Power Glove would be what’s required.

      No Reginald, a Power Glove, not a Power Fist.

      1. Asimech says:

        What about the Ballistic Fist? Would make short work of the ribcage.

  30. lostclause says:

    Dr Cuthbert I presume…

    1. He couldn’t make it. His body was found, stripped of all valuables (as well as his hat) by a Doctor Reginald Cuftbert.

  31. BeamSplashX says:

    Unlike Macho Man Randy Savage, this bonesaw is not ready.

  32. Primogenitor says:

    “don't expect the titale” <– typo

  33. rrgg says:

    I think you can remove the esophagus by cutting near the top and bottom with a scalpel.

    One thing that’s interesting about this game is that each time you complete a level you will be rewarded with additional instruction floppies you can put in the computer on the menu screen.

    1. Jarenth says:

      Yeah, Josh actually fiddled around with the floppies for a while after we were done recording, and he managed to get a few of them in. Including the ‘here’s how you’re supposed to do this operation’ floppy that could have been advertized better.

      1. rrgg says:

        Well, what’s the point of instructions if you don’t have to really earn them first?

        1. Tse says:

          The final floppy is the most important one, hope Josh puts it in.

      2. gamdragon says:

        Best i can understand, that floppy disk is unlocked for succesfully transplanting a heart.

  34. RTBones says:

    I feel like I should comment after watching that, yet am unsure of what would be appropriate to say – given that I expected the video to end in spectacular failure and the opposite happened, causing me to nearly cover my monitor in an enormous coffee spit-take because I was laughing so hard. This was surprising as I watched nearly the entire video going, “Whaaa…? People paid money for this?” and scratching my head. Then the end happened.

    I suppose it might have been better if Josh had had a Pip Boy to consult for surgical instructions one handed from time to time. Even better if there were somehow a drinking game tied to how accidentally well Josh’s simulated surgeries went. Perhaps a beer holder attached to his surgical cap.

  35. Grudgeal says:

    The opening makes it look like Josh is listening to that Fatboy Slim song with the music video where everyone who hears the song starts has constant muscle spasms. Just at half speed.

  36. Keymer says:

    This really helped. I had to have surgery in February, and the problem is coming back. Laughing really is awesome.

    I’d really like a series of this

  37. supflidowg says:

    I just picture after the surgery the guy waking up and having one-armed Dr. Curtbert walking in…
    Dr. Curtbert:”Ok I have good news and bad news.” Paitent:” Whats the bad news first.” Dr. Curtbert:” Well your lungs and 93% of your breastbone were removed but, you now have two hearts, a slightly used watch, and some glass shards and/or a scalpel plus, your insurance dropped you.” Paitent:”WHAT!” Dr. Curtbert:”Don’t worry the price I got from selling your lungs was enough to cover the surgery.” Paitent:”…” Dr. Curtbert then walks over to the patient, takes out his morphine drip and chugs the entire bag before bunny hopping out the door with his doctor’s jacket pockets bulging full of everything not nailed down in the room.

    1. djshire says:

      Someone needs to draw a comic of this

  38. broken says:

    This might as well have been called “things you don’t want to hear in the surgery theatre”.

    Jesus there is blood flying everywhere
    Can’t you reach in there and grab the hart?
    Can’t you just rip it out
    there is no guide on gamefaqs yet
    you need to take out the lungs first
    you have a powerdrill for that
    there we go, it’s stuck again
    are there still veins
    you get that shard of broken glass you can use
    Oh, we still have the circular saw

    and so on and so on.

    1. Harry says:

      I am laughing so hard at the idea of hearing an actual surgeon say “there is no guide on gamefaqs yet.”

    2. Irridium says:

      “There is no guide on gamefaqs yet”

      This one has me in stitches.

      1. broken says:

        Oh, that one was bonebreaking

  39. Tse says:

    I just did the three operations. Turns out the second is on par with the first and the third is a cakewalk. Turns out brain surgery is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    1. swenson says:

      Just don’t stab the brain with the axe. That tends to end the surgery quickly.

      1. Tse says:

        I don’t use the tomahawk. In fact, I only needed 2 tools in the whole game: the scalpel and the hammer. And I even managed to get an A++ on the kidney transplant in the ambulance. It turned out to be easier than the basic one.

        1. Thomas says:

          The famous hammer and scalpel combo. Where would a surgeon be without it?

          1. Gordon says:

            I’ve always been partial to dual wielding.

  40. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well Josh,if you wake up with a third kidney sloshing around in your stomach,now you will at least know why.Get well soon.

  41. Jeysie says:

    Finally got a chance to watch the vid.

    1. That is one of the most disturbingly hilarious things I’ve seen in quite some time.
    2. The ending. I laughed for a good minute straight and was like, “Oh my god what”.

  42. Nano Proksee says:

    No Chris, this the surgery room from Theme Hospital

    1. Andrew_C says:

      That is soo true! They just need a chainsaw lying about that you can’t use because you only have one hand.

      Also, you, Shamus and Josh and Co. are the reason why I was up until 2 last night playing Theme Hospital. I hope you are all happy with yourselves. That game is seriously addictive.

      If you don’t have it yey, it’s on sale over at GoG, so you don’t have to give too much money to EA for Bullfrog’s hard work.

      1. RCN says:

        What are you talking about? Everyone knows you only need one hand to handle a chainsaw. All you have to do is strap it on the stub of your other hand.

  43. Weimer says:

    It would be cool if when you took the drugs, you would have mirages and shit.

    Imagine opening a guy and finding a snake who attacked you in there.

  44. GragSmash says:

    So he drops the heart in at the end, and that works? Who knew bodily organs functioned like USB?

    1. Decius says:

      Better than USB. You need to try USB connections three times before they fit.

      1. Hieronymus says:

        That’s because USB cables are among the more common four-dimensional objects.

  45. Bropocalypse says:

    This and Part 2 of Roosterteeth’s Ragequit video on the hidden levels came out at roughly the same time. Fun times.

    They managed to do it with Gavin working the mouse and Michael on the keyboard. Somehow.

  46. Studoku says:

    Don’t be such a baby. Ribs grow back.

    1. swenson says:

      (No zey don’t!)

      1. Irridium says:

        And now I’m re-watching all of the “meet the team” videos for Team Fortress 2. Not the worst way to spend an afternoon.

      2. Gruhunchously says:

        Should I be awake for this?

        Eh…heh heh…no. But as long as you are, could you hold your ribcage open a bit? I can’t…seem to…

  47. Daemian Lucifer says:

    After seeing this…interesting display,I finally decided to get the game.Usual hilarity aside,I laughed out loud once Ive reached brain transplant,and killed the guy in under 30 seconds by jabbing a drill in his eye.

    Then I finished that one by putting the brain in backwards.Good times.

  48. Jeff says:

    Speaking of games, have you taken a look at Neverwinter Online, Shamus? I’m curious as to your take on it, in light of your previous writings starring Star On Chest.

  49. Baltar says:

    Who needs Malpractice Insurance. Here at Josh Surgeons, we offer Malpractice ASSURANCE!

  50. Vagrant says:

    can this just be next seasons spoiler warning?
    you can finale on the zero g level
    itll be sweet

  51. Cuthalion says:

    I have that watch. O_O

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