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Theme Hospital & The Embarrassing Operation of Old - Destructoid


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A self proclaimed professor of survival horror despite only having a BA (Hons) degree in film. Go figure.

Okay, maybe I should write more here but I once did an interview for Law's blog, which explains everything about me.

In the meantime, I'm just a guy who writes about videogame theory and how the medium can achieve better cinematic emulation (while keeping its own indentity). Though, if that's too boring, you can always find something delightfully fluffy in the following:

Gamer Obscura

Gregory Horror Show
Glass Rose
Michigan: Report From Hell
Steambot Chronicles
Chase The Express
The X Files FMV Game
SOS: The Final Escape & Raw Danger
G-Police & G-Police: Weapons of Justice
Friday The 13th: The Computer Game
Hard Edge
DENNIS HOPPER featuring Black Dahlia
The Note
The Police Quest Collection
It Came From The Desert
Blade Runner
Men in Black: The Game
Famicom Detective Club Part II
Ham-Ham Heartbreak

Unsung Heroes

Brad Garrison (Dead Rising)
Jenny Romano (The Darkness)
Cass (Fallout: New Vegas)

Hey, check out these inane ramblings:

The Vague History of UK Videogame TV shows

Part 1 (Bad Influence, Gamesmaster & Games World)
Part 2 (BITS & videoGaiden/consoleVania)
Part 3 (the worst and the future)

The Assimilation of Eastern & Western Horror in Videogames

Part 1 (The Eastern/Western Horror Assimilation)
Part 2 (Interaction and Narrative)
Part 3 (Case Study)


Skip To The End: Max Payne 2
The Lost Idea of An Adventures of Pete & Pete Game
My Unpopular Opinion: I Liked Alone in The Dark 5
Hey BBC! Where's My Doctor Who Game?!
Loving Dr. Chakwas
The 'Fun Simulacrum' of Movie/TV License Games
Why Devs Don't Get The Colonial Marines From Aliens
It's Okay To Like B-Movie Games
Endings That Made Me Cry...Like A Man
Who Do You Trust?
Dancing With Myself
My Unpopular Opinion: Silent Hill 4 Deserved Better
Theme Hospital & The Embarrassing Operation of Old
When It Comes To Noir in Videogames, "It's Chinatown"
My Irreverent & Irrelevant Awards Show 2010
Amateur Bedroom Critics
Sydney Briar is Alive
The Big Gumbo
Alan Wake's Hallowiener Special
...And So I Watch You From Afar


Some poor sap let me onto their awesome podcast. These are the horrific results...

Deus Ex
Resident Evil 2
Duke Nukem 3D

Secret Moon Base

They sent me into space for this podcast. There were no survivors...

Fiddling Nightbear

Monthly Musings

I Suck At Games: Stretching My RPGs Out into A Year & A Half Ordeal

Improving Gaming Communities: We Need A Gaming Fonzie

The Future: Laughing At The Past

Something About Sex: It's A Conquest, Not A Catalyst

Alternate Reality: "My other car is a Trotmobile!"

Teh Bias: Starting At The Ground Floor

Groundhog Day: One DeSoto, Two Carefree Owners

Front Page

Nothing Is Sacred: 'It looks like the lock is broken. I can't open it.'

Love/Hate: Shark Jumping Videogame Writers

E for Effort: The Adventures of Mega & Master (A Cautionary Tale)

The Lament of Solitary Antagonistic Horror

2010 Sucked: Why Cing Will Be Unknowingly Missed

Technical Difficulties: Rainbow Six FUBAR

Cass from New Vegas

Honest Endings for Honest Hearts

Growing Old Disgracefully

Thanks for reading!
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Hospitals are horrible.

You can be superfluous with the language all you want, but hospitals are horrible. You can add dentists too; especially when they expect you to floss like an OCD sufferer. Thankfully, Iíve never had to visit one since the series finale of Quantum Leap. It was for an operation, an embarrassing one, concerning my bowel.

Fellow Dtoider Elsa (rightly) gets a lot of sympathy for her cancer woes. Hell, even that Lv99Ron guy nearly died recently!

For me, itís pure laughter at my expense.

I became severely ill because nobody, not even my own doctor, would take me seriously; especially if itís to do with your arse apparently. After a lazy misdiagnosis, somebody finally looked at my tests and thought, ďMy God! This guy is so blocked heís going to explode in a shower of shit by next Wednesday!Ē

Suffice to say, things turned out well, despite the fact I felt severely depressed after Dr. Sam Beckett failed to leap home. Once I recovered though, I would cheerfully play nothing but Mario Kart to the point where the nurses would be concerned about my lack of exercise.

Hey, I was the Undisputed Mushroom Cup King of The Sick Kids!

I donít remember much of my time there. Vividly just the SNES and a Gameboy I borrowed off a kid seemingly worse off than me. I could go on about sickly fluorescent lights or the harsh, cold glean of the ward floors. Maybe even mention the flat emptiness that permeated the halls at night, the distant look of the nurses or the how the scrambled egg was always cold before I awoke. Truthfully though, itís all faded memories.

Except for crying at Quantum Leap.

Well, Iím pretty healthy nowadays and my arse is totally fine.

Still, every time I attempt Theme Hospital, Iím reminded of that outsider feeling of the Childrenís Ward, solely by looking at the cartoon sprites visiting my poorly run hospital; which is remarkable since a majority of them are either invisible, have balloon sized head and huge tongues or pretend to be Elvis Presley. Itís shouldnít be relatable, but it somehow resonates perfectly.

Theme Hospital is a videogame that haunts me from time to time. If you put any game down in front of me, Iíll finish it; just not this one.

After all these years, I wonder if thereís actually an end to Theme Hospital. Maybe itís meant to be an endless slog of management positions that increasingly destroy your reputation as you progress, until you end up quitting with a decent pension plan but no direction in life.

As you can tell, Iím not management material and this is a videogame where youíre required to be ruthlessly efficient; hiring and firing staff, building new facilities and turning the heating up to Nuclear Meltdown Degrees Fahrenheit. Every second youíre not doing something, means youíre going to lose.

Youíre so busy with building more toilets and x-rays that you forget about the huge waiting lines and a lack of GPs. So, this always leads to waves of puke sloshing around your wards. Then the realisation hits you; these people would like just two minutes of your time and youíre selfishly trying to figure out how many Kit-Kat machines you need to cover up the mouse holes.

Thatís just before they suddenly start dying.


Sporadically, Iíve been trying to beat Theme Hospital since its release in 1997. Even on ďEasyĒ mode, itís unfair; you could go from winning to losing over nothing. Quite recently, I decided to dust off my third copy of the game and see if it could be beaten.

When youíre younger, you might miss the specific intricacies of videogames. Thereís stuff out there that seems ridiculously hard because you didnít grasp a developerís concept and yet, years later, you pass though it with ease. Theme Hospital doesnít care how much your IQ has naturally risen with age. It will destroy you regardless.

The main problem really lies with the way it teaches you the basics, like spending money, then forgets to tell you about properly arranging loans or manage the size of your workforce (also, the hint system is horribly broken). Even though Iíve dealt with budget sheets for the freaking Government of all organisations, to this day, I will still run my virtual hospital into the ground by Level Six.

After a while, the cute sympathy for patients wears off and I feel disdain towards them. All they do is come in to:

A) complain about the heating,

B) shit,

C) then die.

I turn them away in droves because I donít want some guy with gut troubles ruining my reputation. Yet somehow, this is part of the winning formula!

As I sit there stressing out, Iím always drawn back to my time in the hospital and wonder if my embarrassing bowel operation was an inconvenience to hospital staff. Itís weird to feel both sympathy and disdain for either side of the doctor/patient relationship, but Theme Hospital indirectly does a great job of conveying this miserable aspect of ďcaringĒ.

So, yet again, Iíve given up on this stupid game. Like Dr. Sam Beckett, I can only hope my next play through will be that infamous ďleap homeĒ and like that series finale, Iíll probably never see the end result.

Oh boy.

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