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Surgeon Simulator is a free online simulation game in which the player assumes the role of medical surgeon Dr. Nigel Burke and performs a heart transplant by controlling the hand and arm movements in first-person perspective. Due to the game’s difficult control system, it has often been compared to the indie flash-based game QWOP and many YouTubers have uploaded humorous playthrough videos conveying their frustration.
The game was created under 48 hours in late January 2013 by Bossa Studios employees Tom Jackson, James Broadley, Luke Williams and Jack Good as their entry for Global Game Jam, an annual video game hack-a-thon held across 47 countries. On January 28th, the game was publicly released on the Bossa Studios website.
The player must perform open heart surgery on a patient laying on an operating room table using a doctor’s hand and a variety of surgical tools. The hand is moved using the mouse, lowered by clicking the left mouse button, rotated by holding down the right mouse button and each finger is opened and closed using a corresponding key. The player must grasp the tools laying next to the patient and use them to remove the patient’s heart to replace it with a new one.
On January 28th, 2013, YouTubers PewDiePie (shown below, left) and Robbaz (shown below, right) uploaded Surgeon Simulator playthrough videos, with each receiving over 1.5 million views within the next week.
On January 29th, Forbes published an article on the game, likening its online buzz to that of QWOP. On January 31st, the RoosterTeeth YouTube channel uploaded a Surgery Simulator gameplay video with narration by hosts Michael Jones and Gavin Free (shown below).
On February 2nd, Redditor JakeFraser submitted a banner image to the /r/roosterteeth subreddit, featuring Jones and Free performing heart surgery. Within 48 hours, the post received over 720 up votes and 25 comments. In the following week, several news sites published articles about the game, including the International Business Times, Game Informer, and Laughing Squid.
On January 31st, 2013, James Broadley, Luke Williams, Tom Jackson and Jack Good submitted an “ask me anything” (AMA) post to the /r/IAmA subreddit, which received over 8,500 up votes and 1,500 comments within four days. The team answered a total of 120 questions in the post, noting that there is a special scalpel for heart removal, their appreciation for the Robbaz playthrough video and that one player had beaten the game in 28 seconds.
On April 19th, 2013, an expanded version of Surgeon Simulator 2013 featuring new missions, improved graphics and physics engine was released on Steam. According to The Escapist, among the new additions include an in-ambulance surgery mission and a laser cutting tool.