Could there really be anything else to top this list off? Theme Hospital is an hilarious look at life as a hospital administrator. You’re in charge of a new hospital, competing against other hospitals in the area to heal the bizarre ailments of the town. The more you heal and the more profit you make, the sooner you’ll be able to move onto bigger and better hospitals with more difficult challenges.
Having to deal with all sorts of weird and wonderful illnesses, ranging from invisibility to bloaty head syndrome is quite hilarious. Having to place machines that pop patients’ heads before re-inflating them is both intriguing and funny. There are over thirty different varieties of illness to help cure, and each of them make you wonder just how sane the team at Bullfrog were. Although it may seem obvious, having made up illnesses was a brilliant choice in the game, as it gave a fine line between reality and the game that made it so much fun, rather than dwelling on actual illnesses which still have no cure.
There was much more to it than just the silly illnesses and the unique methods to provide a cure. You were also in charge of hiring and firing the, at times, incredibly irritating staff. This ranged from the doctors that help take the spare ribs out of people to the handymen that spend almost all their time drinking from their flasks. Of course there were different ranks for employees, some were dreadful, some were brilliant and some smelled faintly of cabbage.
Okay, it might not be terribly realistic, but it’s a bloody fun game, and it’s aged fairly well. The graphics are still cutesy, the music still good and the difficulty is still a challenge. When EA put this up for free on Origin, I couldn’t resist downloading it and giving it a play. It’s a shame that EA took over Bullfrog and pretty much eliminated them, because they definitely knew how to make a brilliant simulation game.