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Top five healthcare systems in videogames

4:00 PM on 03.24.2010 // Jim Sterling

This week, King Barack Obama changed history by signing the Healthcare Reform Bill, a momentous occasion that has absolutely nothing to do with videogames. Facing a potential traffic magnet but lacking the potential to exploit it, we were faced with only one option: Make the Health Care Reform Bill link to videogames in some vague and tenuous fashion!

Presenting for your enjoyment, the top five healthcare systems in videogames! You see, it's funny because it's current affairs! Remember, when Google analytics is showing a popular news story, there is always a way to make it tangentially involved with videogames. Don't let such things as "topic" or "respect for your audience" get in the way of consistent content!

I think I've hammered that in hard enough now. Let's get to the feature!


Hey guys, I don't know if any of you noticed this before, but Pokémon has free national healthcare in it! It's understandable if you haven't stumbled upon that awesome idea yet because nobody as ever made a joke about it before. When you consider it for the first time (like we all are), it's totally mindblowing. You can take your pocket monsters to any Pokémon Center in the game and get the party patched up, totally free of charge. It's like Nintendo was predicting American health care reform because it is exactly the same probably!

Nurse Joy was a trailblazer who led the way in making sure that nobody is denied the ethical treatment they deserve. If anything, we ought to be giving her the Nobel Peace Prize and critical acclaim rather than let Obama take all the credit for just copying Pokémon. I bet that's where he got the idea to be a black president, too!


Desperately trying to draw parallels between videogames and real-life news stories is brilliant because it is funny, and nothing is more funny (or desperate) than claiming Kirby is an exact mirror of American Health Care Reform. Don't believe me? Prepare to be absolutely dazzled by my logic!

Imagine Kirby is a person without health insurance. Imagine the enemies that Kirby can turn into AI partners represent poor people. Are you with me so far? Now imagine that the food in Kirby is money. When Kirby earns money by collecting food, sure, he gets to keep some for himself. However, he also has to give some of it to his partner when he touches them, regurgitating the chewed up remnants into their mouth. If he doesn't do that, people will die and he will get a Game Over screen which is kind of like a fine, almost. This is hilarious because it is a metaphor for rich people being taxed extra to help pay for health insurance for those on the poverty line. THAT IS A BIT LIKE THE REFORM IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT FOR A LITTLE BIT BUT DON'T THINK TOO HARD BECAUSE I'M NOT ENTIRELY SURE WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

You totally thought I couldn't stretch that. but I did. It's like I'm a blogger version of Harry Houdini. Now if only somebody would remind King Dedede that he said he'd leave Dream Land if the bill was pushed through.

Streets of Rage:

The world of Streets of Rage may be a near future where turmoil engulfs the city and society is at the mercy of gangland terrorists, but you can't deny that it boasts some of the best health care in videogames. This is a world where you can get knifed, glassed, hit with a lead pipe, and have seven shades of shit kicked out of you, only to miraculously recover by kicking a trash can over and eating a turkey or apple. 

It's already brilliant that there are whole, cooked turkeys inside trash cans, apparently completely safe to eat, but turkey with medicinal properties!? Just imagine the raw possibilities of harnessing that power in real life. A ham sandwich that can cure breast cancer. Keyhole surgery performed with pretzel sticks. Stem-cell-research-on-toast! We need to cut all medical research funding and use it to pay somebody to find out if eggs prevent shaken baby syndrome. I am 100% certain it can!

Silent Hill:

Silent Hill is famous for featuring many hospitals in its videogames. That alone is enough to justify talking about Healthcare Reform. In fact, any game with a hospital in it is good enough. However, Silent Hill is especially noteworthy because of its amazing commitment to treating disease. 

The nurses of Silent Hill have a very effective method of treatment -- death. And really, what better cure for sickness could there be than not being alive long enough to fall ill? By making sure that everybody who enters their apothecary is battered to bloody shit with a lead pipe, Brookhaven Hospital's excellently trained staff will ensure that your hemorrhoids are the last thing you have to worry about.  

The joke of this entry is that dying is actually something you really wouldn't want to have happen when you go to the hospital, but we have presented it as a positive. This is an example of irony. Irony is where you say something one way when you don't really mean it, which is not the same as lying because you're doing it to make people laugh. So of course, the healthcare in Silent Hill is actually rather sub-standard despite us pretending it is impeccable.

Just to reiterate -- don't go to Brookhaven Hospital for your arse problems. It's a mental hospital anyway, so they wouldn't be able to help you at the best of times, if we're being honest. Always consult a professional proctologist if you have piles, or at the very least pick up a reasonably priced pain relief cream from a reputable drug store. We recommend anusol, because it sounds funny. 

Primal Rage:

In America, from this day forth, health care is about the people! But what if health care was the people!? OOOHHHH that concept is very meta isn't it!? Primal Rage puts this philosophy to the test and forces us to confront it. No easy answers. No dodging the issue. Healthcare costs lives as much as it saves them, prompting the question -- is it worth it? Well, is it!?

In Primal Rage, your giant dinosaur combatants get a chance to regain life by swallowing their many loyal worshippers. It's a difficult situation when you think about it, right? What if, on the same historic day King Obama signed the Health Care Reform Bill, he added a clause that said for every patient saved, a woman would get eaten by a fire-breathing T-rex? Something tells me we wouldn't be so keen on reform. And really, that just proves that universal Health care is a mixed bag, really. Yes, it's important that everybody has a right to fair treatment, and that if the technology exists, lives should be saved. But by that same token, nobody should be consumed by a hypnotic bipedal cobra. These issues really are more complicated than you think. 

So, next time you want to argue in favor or indeed against healthcare, please remember the Primal Rage clause. It may just change the way you view the world.

[About Jim Sterling: Jim Sterling is Destructoid's reviews editor and writes a wide variety of articles, including editorials such as this. He does not consider himself a journalist. His work can be humorous or serious but its up to you to decide which articles are which. The opinions expressed -- be they satirical or sincere -- are entirely his own and don't reflect the opinions of Destructoid's staff as a whole. He might annoy you sometimes, but his aim is never genuine offense. Try and take him for what he is -- one guy having fun on the Internet and talking about videogames.]

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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