Killing You Softly: Chaos in Surgeon Simulator 2013
Oh god, I’ve lost another one. I’m not bothering to pronounce them dead anymore, I’m taking in patients and spitting out cadavers with masterful speed. I’m the McDonald’s of malpractice. I deliver cold bodies and devastating news in six minutes or your next lobotomy is free. I’ll even upsize your husband’s coffin. That’s a lie, I can’t do that – you’ll want to go to Funeral Director Simulator 2013 for that. Surgeon Simulator 2013 has shown me that I’m just as bad of a doctor in the virtual world as I am in real life.
A tangle of sharp scalpels and blunt hammers, curse words and body parts are flung around in this travesty of an operating room. With only the use of one hand you must skilfully replace hearts, kidneys and brains of unsuspecting and possibly unwilling patients.
In all fairness I did replace their kidneys, though I may have scattered their ribcage across the floor, draped their intestines around their neck in a makeshift scarf, and left my watch lodged comfortably somewhere deep inside an unknown cavity. All in all I think I did rather well. I mean, it’s not brain surgery.
But then it was brain surgery. I knew I only had two options: grab all the meds I could and run, or finish my beer and continue on with the surgery.
After my third beer I had finally built up the courage to start operating. Surgeon Simulator 2013 is built around two strong notions: chaos and regret. With every bang of the hammer against bone I realised I should have used a different instrument, but the gentle thud it made against the quickly cracking skull had me striking with feverish delight. It’s not long before the chaos overwhelms you and you grab every tool you can to see what damage you can do with each one.
However, after awhile you start to identify the key differences between each gruesome implement, and soon your hand seems flow with their use, like some sort of macabre dance. The saw was brutish and wild like a sultry barn dance or a jig in a lofty tavern, yet the scalpel was more refined, like a courtly waltz or a ballroom soiree.
Eventually I start to move like lightening, the bloodlust has cooled down to a curious, drunken efficiency, and I’m gripping the drill like the hand of an old friend. Yet as it starts to whir and the skull fragments chip away, the regret settles in. Every new tool brings with it that same sense of regret, bringing the little voice in your head that says “I should have used the scalpel” to the forefront of your mind. Surgeon Simulator 2013 is excellent at making you second guess every single decision you make.
In a panic I drop the drill and it lodges into the patient’s brain. Oh god, why am I here? How have I been promoted so far up the ladder? My only formal training was watching Scrubs, and no one’s made any classic zingers yet. Thankfully in my blood frenzy I had poked the patient in the eye with several syringes and knew at least one of them held some sort of painkiller. I just had to be careful not to jab myself with th—
I was somewhere around medulla oblongata on the edge of the spinal cord when the drugs began to take hold. It was around this time that I realised that Surgeon Simulator 2013 doesn’t just carelessly include the element of chaos into its gameplay, it thrives on it. As I waved my arm through the refracted colours I understood the objective of this game; I had been taking it too seriously when it wasn’t about completing the surgery at all, it was all about the journey you took to get there.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 doesn’t want you to finish the game completely; it just wants you to have fun throughout the experience. The tools it supplies you with aren’t helpful aids, they’re weapons of mass destruction, and like the maddened species we are, they know we will stoop to our base morbid curiosities.
The game tempts the player; breakable ribcages and sharp, buzzing instruments plead with the player, beg them to experiment with danger. The developers know that, though many will wish to reach an end goal in the game, the first instinct will always be one of a childish malice. They put you in the control room, place your hands on the launch pad and present you with the shining button that will unleash chaos.
And so I did what any mad man would do with his finger over the big, important red button. I pushed it and let the mayhem surround me; I thought evil thoughts and laughed a terrible laugh.