Surgeon Simulator 2013: Because Even Heart Transplants Can Be Hilarious

Today I learned that I have no business being involved in medical procedures.

That is, if Surgeon Simulator 2013 serves as any indicator of how medical-savvy I am.

Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a free game available on Kongregate that tasks you with one objective: complete a heart transplant on a patient before he bleeds out. On the surface it sounds simple, but those who sit down and actually try it will find that playing the  board game Operation with a set of hedge trimmers in place of delicate tweezers is probably an easier task.

The game borrows ideas from the likes of QWOP, putting players in control of only the surgeon’s left hand. Each of the fingers are attached to the A, W, E, R, and Space keys, while the mouse controls the movement of the surgeon’s arm. The result is an intentionally difficult and clumsy control scheme that makes one feel about as coordinated as a dizzy drunk as they reach for delicate medical equipment and attempt the life-saving surgery.

Finesse is a lost cause in the game. During my first playthrough, I managed to leave a pile of shattered glass in the man’s chest cavity, broke nearly all of his ribs, knocked his lungs out of place, and dropped the donor heart on the operating table.

It’s completely absurd in all the right ways, and the game’s execution helps to play up the dark humor of it when the surgeon himself cries out in despair as he’s all but murdering the patient on the exam table. I may or may not have laughed out loud when I dropped a glass beaker on his rib cage and the character screamed out “What have I done!” in anguish. Twisted? A bit. Hilarious? To the tenth degree.

The game is the result of a game jam, an event where the creators at Bossa Studios worked tirelessly for days in order to complete it. The results of their efforts have been nothing if not surprising: what was nothing more than merely a goofy project by four developers has exploded into popularity across the internet, attracting the attention of major media outlets and gamers alike.

In an effort to capitalize on their success, developers of Surgeon Simulator 2013 are trying to get the game approved on Steam Greenlight, the community approval system that, if approved, sees indie projects getting the opportunity to put their game on Valve’s PC marketplace. They’re promising more than just the bone-shattering, lung-tossing clumsiness available right now for free, citing that, if approved, they also want to add in new modes (brain surgery!), new tools, and even new environments that see you attempting life-saving procedures in the back of moving ambulances

If you’ve got a moment and want a fun and challenging palette cleanser, check the game out and give them a thumbs up on Greenlight. Surgeon Simulator 2013 is by no means Game of the Year material. But it isn’t supposed to be. Rather, it’s a quirky and lighthearted game that took me back to my middle school days of playing browser-based flash games and reminded me of exactly what video games are and need to be: Fun.