Video games have become an almost ubiquitous part of our society, and a well-placed medical game can simultaneously provide some supplementary education while letting us relax for a moment. For those of us who want to take a break, pretend we know what we’re doing, and maybe learn a little bit in the process, here’s a list of ten games to whet your medical whistle.
#10 – Big Pharma (77% on Steam)
Not every game on this list is going to improve your skill as a physician, some of them might just be fun with a focus on medicine. Big Pharma takes you away from the hands-on medicine field, and puts you more in the engineering, research, and business side. In the game, you research and develop drugs and medicine, build factories to manufacture them, and figure out how to make a profit while distributing them to the world. You run the pharmaceutical company, so will you use your powers for good?
#9 – Reanimation Inc. (80% on Steam)
Life in an ambulance can be like living in a state of panic. Patients are on the verge of death, trusting you to be able to keep them alive with limited resources while they’re rushed to the hospital. Reanimation Inc throws you into that chaos, with a healthy dose of realism. The game was created in consultations with real doctors, paramedics, and ambulance workers to ensure its medical accuracy. Mixed with a simplified theory system to educate players on medical care, this game will give you an adrenaline rush while educating you on medicine.
#8 – Surgeon Simulator (83% on Steam)
Always wanted to become a surgeon but couldn’t turn off It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia long enough to get into med school? This might be the medical game for you. Take on increasingly ridiculous surgical tasks with hands that won’t cooperate and a slew of equipment that would never be allowed in an operating theatre. Perform almost-real surgeries on not-so-real patients like aliens or The Heavy from TF2. Surgeon Simulator also has a sequel and a few expansions, so your medical training will never get dull. Just please, don’t call Frank Reynolds for help.
#7 – Project Hospital (87% on Steam)
This one has got something for everyone. Play the admin/logistics role when you design your own hospital, or jump into the physician’s seat and take care of your patients and their true-to-life ailments. Want to spend more time in trauma, fighting infectious diseases, or just being a good doctor? Project Hospital offers an expansions for any of these, and several more. This is one medical game you don’t want to sleep on.
#6 – Bio Inc: Redemption (89% on Steam)
With a tagline like “choose your side,” you can imagine how ridiculous this one might be. Want to save lives? Your patient shows up presenting with mysterious symptoms. Can you channel Hugh Laurie fast enough to cure him? Or for proponents of the other side, can you create a deadly illness that will stump the detective doctors and finish off your victim? Bio Inc: Redemption includes over six hundred actual diseases, symptoms, and ailments, to ensure your ridiculous goals are padded with a healthy dose of education and learning.
#5 – Mask Of The Plague Doctor (92% on Steam)
If you’ve always aspired to be a doctor with a bird mask treating victims of a mysterious illness, look no further. Mask of the Plague Doctor is unique on this list, being a text-based game with no sound or graphics. The developers describe it as an “interactive novel.” Think of this as a four hundred thousand word Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, with medieval plagues and mysteries as the focus. This might not be as educational as others in the list, but will absolutely scratch your itch for mysteries all in a mystical and medical setting.
#4 – Two Point Hospital (92% on Steam)
Cure the dreaded cubism, and treat the infamous turtle-head. The citizens of Two Point County are suffering from the most ridiculous fictional diseases mankind has thought of, and it’s your job to help them. Two Point hospital is a definite departure from the realism or education that most of the games on this list have, but it makes up for it in comedic gold, entertainment, and variety. With 13 expansion packs, there’s no end to insanity and hospital administration. Don’t expect this one to fill your medical education needs, but do expect it to take your mind out of seriousness for a minute or two… hundred.
#3 – Viscera Cleanup Detail (93% on Steam)
This is probably the furthest game from medical education on this list, but it’s too fun to not mention. Find yourself on the other side of medicine – the janitorial side. Use your wits and improvised resources to get the space station back to its sparkling clean state, in the aftermath of some absolutely gory space-horror accident. Really, the only thing medical here are the cadavers and their… “bits”, but sometimes you just need to blow off some steam.
#2 – Plague Inc: Evolved (94% on Steam)
When your developer is invited by the CDC to speak about the game’s infection model, you know you’re onto something good. Plague Inc. again flips the narrative, putting you on the side of creating a disease that will cause as much damage as possible. While in theory it’s disturbing, the game does a tremendous job educating about infection and transmission, while being insanely fun. Especially for those interested in epidemiology, this one will educate and entertain like nothing else.
#1 – Heart’s Medicine: Hospital Heat (96% on Steam)
Hospital Heat is the long-awaited sequel to Heart’s Medicine: Time to Heal. It’s recommended to start with Time to Heal, and then jump into Hospital Heat (the higher rating of which has put it at the top of this list). What this one lacks in medical education, it makes up for in drama and heart. Fans of medical drama will love this emotional ride through a doctor’s roller coaster of a life. Don’t expect a lot of training, but do bring the tissues.
Whether you’re a medical student looking for a change of pace or a civilian just wanting to learn more about medicine while you blow off some steam, medical games can hit both the learning and the entertainment needs at the same time. Give these a shot, and let us know what you liked, and anything we missed. Play enough and maybe you can just challenge those tests before you get into med school. For a glimpse into the future of medical education and gaming, jump over to www.simtecmd.com.