|Author:||The Software Toolworks|
|Publisher:||The Software Toolworks|
Life & Death is a game which casts you as a doctor in a hospital. Your job is to diagnose patients and administer appropriate therapies, or even perform surgery when necessary.
To diagnose a patient, you have to press on his or her abdomen, to see which portions of the stomach cause pain. Basing on this knowledge, you can choose a therapy for him (observation, medication or referring to another specialist) or administer an X-Ray or ultrasound scan to get more information about his illness.
In some cases, surgery will be necessary. You're the surgeon and you have to perform the operation very carefully, adhering strictly to the procedures, preserving hygiene, and maintaining care when cutting up the patient.
Should you mistakenly administer the wrong therapy, or kill your patient at the operating table, you're kicked into the medical school, where you're given hints as to what you've done wrong.
Life & Death succeeds through its stubbornness. It is unfair and it's not easy, and it taxes players' memories as much as their motor skills. And that's why it captured my imagination so much as a child, and why it created the wrist-quivering hyperfocus, the deep investment in getting it right this time that made me believe, as an eight or nine year-old, that I had it in me to be a doctor. That I might love it.
Playing older, smaller games is always interesting. Nearly all the time as I point-and-click, or wrestle with text parsers, or stealthily Google obscure FAQs, I think, "No one would ever make a game like this today."
And usually that's a good thing. Most shareware adventure game designers who cobbled together clumsy stories in World Builder (complete with alternately humble and snarky requests for $5 by snail mail!) were half creative, half curious, but even the pros were shooting in the dark when I was a kid.
Now we know much better what makes good video games, but sometimes I stumble across these counter-intuitive little miracles that make me wonder if we now know too much.
— Leigh Alexander, Gamasutra