Humble Indie Bundle X ReviewGuest_Jim_* - January 13, 2014
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Surgeon Simulator 2013 (BTA) Review:
Let us hope that life does not imitate art when it comes to Surgeon Simulator 2013. Organ transplants are simply not best done with one arm that may potentially have a neurological disease, considering its lack of dexterity and fine motor control. Also, you would hope that organ disposal would be more involved than throwing biological material onto the floor.
To put it simply, Surgeon Simulator has less-than-good controls and the actual mechanics of moving can be frustrating, as slight bumps can drastically affect your hand's position and you cannot control precisely the elevation of your hand. Plus the fingers are binary, being either outstretched or curled in to grasp objects. Truly the controls of this game can be very infuriating, but that is also what gives the game its charm.
A definition I rather like for 'gaming' is "playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles" (from Bernard Suits' book, The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia). In the case of Surgeon Simulator the unnecessary obstacle is not the surgery, but the controls. If you could realistically use one hand, or even two, the surgeries as implemented in the game would be easy. It is the challenging controls that make completing a surgery feel like some kind of accomplishment, and also what makes it so amusing to watch. We know what we can do with our hands, so seeing a video game-hand fail so miserably at seemingly simple tasks can be humorous. At least when you watch someone else play.
Playing Surgeon Simulator yourself could be decidedly frustrating when things stop behaving the way you want them to. Sometimes an organ will not cut when we want it to; we will get a bad grip on a tool, making it almost impossible to use the way we want to; or something will fall to the floor where it is lost forever. The only good news I can share with you about any of that is everyone who has played the game shares your pain and that restarting an operation is quick, easy, and painless (for you; not the patient).
Because of this, Surgeon Simulator seems to be the kind of game best played not over long periods. Take breaks every now and then to recharge; unless you are a perfectionist, then have at it!
Does Surgeon Simulator make beating the average worth it? That is hard for me to say. It is definitely a game you can have fun playing, despite its ability to frustrate you. On the other hand though, it does feel like another reason to play the game is to share in the cultural pain it has caused; so you understand why people practically cheer when they succeed in it. It is still a fun experience on its own, but not necessarily one everyone would want to approach. If you have the time and interest in it however, it is worth getting.