February 25th, 2008

We’ve talked a lot about sadism here at Heroine Sheik. It’s hard not to, considering our focus on sex issues in a (let’s face it), violent medium: video games. We’ve discussed how adorable games make us want to kill cute animals, how creative games make us want to stage horrible deaths, how fighting games… Okay, that one is pretty obvious. There’s one little genre we haven’t touched on though, and it seems to me it’s the most sadistic of all: surgery games.

Surgery games, specifically the Trauma Center series for the Wii and DS, are based on the idea that it’s fun to save people. Sew them up, make them better, be happy. But the fact is, before we pseudo-surgeons can save people, we have to play around in their bloody insides. A new game from the wonderfully dark designers at Adult Swim underlines this sadistic fun. Their Trauma Center parody, Amateur Surgeon, features pizza delivery boy turned back-alley doctor Alan Probe, who’s taught the art of cutting up patients with various fast-food utensils by a former (actual) surgeon–one he has just run over with his van. Probe staples together his wounds, burns them shut with a lighter, then moves on to more gruesome and hilarious Operation-style challenges.

True, the objective in Amateur Surgeon is still to heal your unlucky patients. But the fun clearly comes from staring at their brightly-colored blood, or in pulling Flash-based shards of glass from their chests: sadistic stuff. Though the game does punish players for unnecessary cuts and burns, it makes you wonder: what would an intentionally sadistic version of these surgery titles look like? Call it a torture game, or even just a BDSM game. You could have a body like the ones we see here, except the goal would be to hurt it, not heal it. Or, alternatively, the goal could be to leave the coolest scars. Ooh, you could also take pain and healing out of the picture by making it an autopsy game. Wholesome fun for the entire family!

Of course, as in sex sims, the issue becomes: where’s the conflict?

Tags: new games, sadomasochism, thinking about game design

21 Responses to “Sadism in Surgery Games (a.k.a. Blood and Guts FTW)”

  1. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    You could just structure the… program as a “toy-game,” like Electroplankton. Just boot it up, customize your friend, your own avatar, select a setting, and get to goin’.

    If you’re gonna pander to such a niche, you might as well cut out the run-around: though, I do see where one would like a story, as my best hentais have dialogue. Maybe throwing in a The Movies-style story-creation-system, or just doing like Elite Beat Agents did by making more of a premise than a plot would do you right? Either way, having a replay from your friend’s perspective is a feature that simply MUST be in there!

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Ooh, I hadn’t thought about a replay. That would switch around the whole power-structure, aye? You being watched instead of watching a body. Ah the fun of analyzing games that don’t exist!

  3. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    “Don’t exist?” That can be changed, you know. ;) Making Shockwave-games is a tremendously streamlined experience…

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Oh really? One assumes it still requires actual knowledge of programming :). I am curious what the “streamlined experience” is like though…

  5. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    ABTRUSE WAY: reference libraries of code to write a block of code that makes a window.

    STREAMLINED WAY: click “add window” -> click where you want the window to appear -> drag window wherever you would want it.

    Don’t get me wrong: you’ll need to think things through: but the grunt-work is already handled. Why spend an hour to write a set of processed that do what you can describe in two seconds (“turn that thing blue when it’s clicked on”)? Creating and animating the models, either 2D or 3D… THAT is the hard part!

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Hmm, sounds potentially do-able. I’m definitely gonna check that out, since I’m programming stupid :).

  7. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    And here I thought I was hyping myself up for the job… :S

  8. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Oh no, that’s good too! I didn’t want to be all presumptuous like, hey, wanna make a game? But hey, wanna?

    Have you made any Shockwave games before? Any I could check out?

  9. Gaming in the Media Blog » Links - 2/29/08 Says:

    […] Heroine Sheik – Sadism in Surgery Games (aka Blood and Guts FTW) Surgery games, specifically the Trauma Center series for the Wii and DS, are based on the idea that it’s fun to save people. Sew them up, make them better, be happy. But the fact is, before we pseudo-surgeons can save people, we have to play around in their bloody insides. A new game from the wonderfully dark designers at Adult Swim underlines this sadistic fun. Their Trauma Center parody, Amateur Surgeon, features pizza delivery boy turned back-alley doctor Alan Probe, who’s taught the art of cutting up patients with various fast-food utensils by a former (actual) surgeon–one he has just run over with his van. Probe staples together his wounds, burns them shut with a lighter, then moves on to more gruesome and hilarious Operation-style challenges. […]

  10. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    For want of a graphics-department (one point against indie-development), I’ve only got very impressively well-structured “skeleton” of a fighting-game to display. :S

    I’ve got a fun little idea brewing about inflicting pain, but being careful not to hurt them so much as to have them go unconscious. Perhaps noise-control could be factored in, with settings with lower noise-tolerances, like an apartment, would have more hardcore toys… like a severed TV-power-cord that’s still plugged in?

  11. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I suppose the first thing to figure out is, is this a BDSM game or a torture game? Or even just a humor game? Not that one is any better than the other, but severed TV cord certainly doesn’t sound safe, sane and consensual :).

  12. Alfonso Crawford Says:

    And now we see that I don’t know the BDSM-scene too well. I was thinking that a game would be able to go to lengths… neither acceptable nor practical… in real life. ;) Honestly, I’ve been spending these days without consistent internet-connection (I moved recently) to ponder how to balance gameplay with exhibitionary elements. Taking time out to really examine my idea, I see that it wouldn’t paint all that nice of an image for the BDSM-community, would it? :)

    I keep typing my email into a text-field for these comments, and I’m assuming you have access to that field. Send me some links with information on the subject-matter at hand, because you see where I’m going with this; unless, you wouldn’t MIND a torture-game…? :S

  13. Yalime Says:

    that game is so hard everythiing i do is wrong!!
    signed, Unhappy:(

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