Reply To: First impressions

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Hah, that’s incredible with the surgical gloves and mask – I can only imagine someone walking behind you while you’re playing it in full gear, saying “It’s only a computer virus, you idiot”…

I was going to follow along with a walkthrough to help me through the details of the operation, having failed to tell what I was meant to be doing from the manual, but it sounds like that would spoil the experimentation that’s meant to be part of the game. But what a bizarre way to require you to experiment! In Richard Cobbett’s article on the games, he mentions that they were thought up by a surgeon, and it’s odd that they would have paid so much attention to the realism of the operation procedure but then throw you right in with “real” patients before training you. It’s almost like that Surgeon Simulator game with the floppy physics, just blundering into doing a heart transplant somewhat correctly.

There’s a TADS text adventure I had ages ago called Rematch, which was famous for manipulating the parser to make the solution to the game a hugely complicated sentence – but on every action you take that doesn’t solve the puzzle, you die and have to restart. (Walkthrough to working it out is here: ) I remember people saying that it was an amazing thing technically, but that they didn’t like the exploration being so punitive, feeling that you had to die many, many times to continue. Life or Death feels a lot like that – you’re encouraged to experiment, but doing so feels like you’re failing at the game miserably. It’s so strange that they didn’t build up to practicing on dummies and so on before then expecting you to perform operations on your patients. (You send them away with a referral for kidney stones, you don’t attempt to vibrate them out of their kidneys manually!)