Step One: Tie one hand behind your back.
Step Two: Sit on your other hand for two hours.
Step Three: Perform a heart transplant with said numbed hand… Welcome to Surgeon Simulator 2013.
The ubiquitous surgery simulator that took the world by storm via Game Jam shenanigans has been given a production overhaul with a full release on Steam. Suffice it to say, it’s bloody hilarious. As an amusing mockery of other “simulators” out there, Surgery Simulator 2013 is a tricky beast to master. The object of the game is to perform a heart transplant on your comatosed hapless victim with a geriatric arm, with keyboard and mouse controls used for finger and hand movements. A myriad of tools is available at your disposal, such as a bone saw, syringe, hammer or a coffee cup but to be perfectly honest, patient brutality will happen regardless of your
weapon tool of choice. Death on the operating table is almost guaranteed and even if your patient lives to tell the tale, he may have a screwdriver left in his ribcage for his troubles.
At Rezzed, I had a chat with the lovely chaps at Bossa Studios on the improvements they made since Game Jam. Many enhancements have been made to make a fully fledged product, such as graphical improvements with the overall feel looking much cleaner than before. A reception desk has been added which you can interact with, such as answering the phone which is a task in itself. Somehow I managed to get the hand wedged between the handset and the desk, don’t ask. You can also perform an operation in the back of a moving ambulance; not for the faint of heart. But the two biggest improvements were the Team Fortress 2 additions whereby you get a chance to operate on a Heavy as the Medic, and Oculus Rift support alongside Razer Hydra control.
As the heavily German accented Medic, your task is to fix a fellow Heavy with a different set of implements from the Team Fortress universe. Classics such as the Demoman whiskey bottle and even a rocket from a Soldier is at your disposal, with a healing gun to patch him up afterwards. Removing the rib cage is a violent affair, but once in you can expect a lot of organs flying across your screen. The great thing about Surgeon Simulator 2013 is that your disastrous attempts are never the same twice. It’s almost impossible to perform an operation exactly the same way you did the time before, simply because motor control of your hand is so fundamentally difficult and amusingly so. With two people, it is even more stressful but an online multiplayer option would be a great addition for future releases. I felt somewhat sorry for my Heavy, as I kept smashing his face with the Scout’s baseball bat.
The grand reveal however was the implementation of the Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra support. Patching the game to utilise the Oculus took only two hours which goes to show how good the Oculus SDK was. For wearers of glasses, you will not be able to use the Oculus Rift so an investment in contact lenses is next on my list. It will be worth it though, as the immersion was simply astounding. Coupled with the free roaming Razer Hydra motion sensing controllers, you can drill your victim with ease. Full panning is achieved by turning your head left or right, with the buttons on the Razer Hydra operating fingers and thumbs. Some have experienced slight dizziness or nausea with the Oculus Rift which was to be expected, but at such an early stage in its development life cycle the technology can only improve.
Bossa Studios are brimming with ideas to add more surgical features; I suggested operating on an infected patient and any unsuccessful operations result in your face being mauled as he turns.into a zombie. Also they had by far the best stand at Rezzed, fully clad in surgeon and nurse outfits. Surgeon Simulator 2013 is completely over the top and should not be taken seriously; at £6.99 on Steam it’s an absolute bargain. Blood, so much blood. I love it.