You know, back in the old days, to get a hands-on knowledge of medicine, you had to actually get down and dirty in a hospital.
It wasn’t a fun affair either, often putting students in the way of terrible diseases, unwilling patients, and awful conditions in some cases.
Thankfully, with new-age technology and doctors finally moving past the age of fax machines, video games have emerged to train new medical students!
These games will cover a few different aspects of the medical field, but each is important in its own right. They’re the best for seeing an on-the-ground perspective or even for disease pathology experts studying virus transference.
The number one thing, though, is that they’re realistic so as to give the most true-to-life experience possible.
Probably best to get the most stressful experience out of the way first, as Flashing Lights puts you right in the thick of it.
While there are also police and fire response roles, the main one we’re looking at here is the dedicated EMS campaign. You’ll be a paramedic responding to emergencies from beginning to end, whether that’s a car crash or choking at a restaurant.
Hyperrealistic when it comes to the sheer adrenaline of a situation, things can get tense fast. Some calls are basic scratches or wounds, but others will test your knowledge of medical field procedures and equipment.
You’ll have to diagnose injuries or illnesses on the spot, deciding what the best approach is before possibly racing your ambulance back to the hospital. The tense time limits of the game will show anyone just how easy it can be to lose a patient despite doing everything.
Again, this is the most stressful game on the list. It’s incredibly realistic in the actions and procedures, but the graphics can be a little dated. It’s not bad, but there could be some more variety. Still, it’s going to give you a nice feel for emergency situations and keep you thinking on your feet.
Play On: PC
Plague Inc. is like a legend at this point. I’ve personally had it installed in some way or another for the past decade, and it’s one of those games with infinite replay value.
That said, Plague Inc: The Cure takes things in the opposite gameplay direction, focusing on eradicating the disease. Instead of the usual goal of total extinction of the human race.
The mechanics work fantastically, too, with plenty of variation to keep things fresh. You’ll look at the symptoms of the newfound illness and how it’s spreading. Find the patient zero, figure out where it may have come from, and work to break down the sickness to find the cure.
It’s a fantastic look at not just virus-spread behaviors, but others like parasites, bacterial infections, and multiple other sicknesses.
The team behind Plague Inc. is known for working alongside the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control. It’s apparent in the spread of disease from the base game, but The Cure is where they put even more of that info to work, making a somehow more in-depth, realistic outbreak experience. Like we need more of those.
Play On: PC, Mobile
Time to get right to the heart of the medical system in America – bureaucratic nonsense. That’s just a part of Project Hospital, of course, but it’s definitely more on the realistic side of just how frustrating the system of medicine can be.
This is really the game for anyone who’s getting into the business side of the medical field. It shows a realistic journey from founding a medical practice to expansion into a massive, well-running machine of a hospital.
There’s a lot that goes into that, too, because you’ll be in charge of budgeting, scheduling, maintaining licensing, equipment… the list goes on. It’s a fantastic simulation for all the ridiculous paperwork and behind-the-scenes dealings that you don’t see during a doctor’s appointment, though.
I’ll be honest: I’m terrible at business sims, so I didn’t get far in this one. That’s more an indictment on me than the game, but coming from someone previously in a medical admin career – Project Hospital was too accurate. Insurance companies are a nightmare, whether real or digital.
Play On: PC
Playing Bio Inc: Redemption is like living out an episode of House MD, assuming anyone remembers that show. You’ll get a patient with a mystery illness, and as the head of a highly advanced medical team, it’s up to you to cure it. It’s like Plague Inc. but on a much smaller scale.
Not to say it can’t be that way eventually, as the disease can quickly mutate before your eyes and spread. You’re going to need good powers of deduction, as some patients will come in with the most minimal info possible. Some won’t have any information at all, simply showing symptoms with seemingly no origin, leaving you to figure out the rest and save their life.
No matter what, you’re the one that’s saving every patient in the game from death, and it’s been lauded as realistic down to the grim humor involved.
If you need a break from the realism and want to take a stab at the other side, create your own disease to terrorize people in Bio Inc: Redemption’s death simulator! There are a stupidly large number of combos you can pull with infections and symptoms that are downright evil in some cases.
Play On: PC, Mobile
It’s honestly impressive that this exists, but also raises the question of why this isn’t more widespread. MedicalHolodeck is one word and a whole lot of value packed into one simulator, focusing on surgical practice.
You’ll be deep in the operating room in a realistic VR environment. The graphics are clean enough that you can smell the disinfectant, but that’s not to say it’s for the faint of heart. The focus of this training sim is cutting people open, and that’s not always the cleanest process.
You’ll be practicing surgeries or just analyzing in-depth anatomical models of the human body, showing everything from circulatory to nervous to skeletal systems. It’s incredibly in-depth and even used by some of the more advanced hospitals around the world for planning surgeries ahead of time.
That said, this isn’t something a newbie can just pick up and do great with. There’s a pretty steep learning curve, but once it’s under control, plenty of really awesome innovations are going to come out of this program.
Play On: VR
LevelEx refers to an entire suite of mobile games that offer a huge variety of training for most medical practices. Whether it’s learning about cardiology, dermatology, or pulmonary issues and even more, LevelEx turns learning into a game.
One of the best ways to learn is through hands-on interaction, and LevelEx takes that seriously. They’ve turned everything into a game, even learning life-saving Airway techniques with Airway Ex.
Not your discipline? Try Pulm Ex or Card Ex, which teach basics about either Pulmonology or Cardiology, plus any adjacent medical knowledge you’ll need. They’re incredibly diverse, with even gastrology and dermatology getting a spotlight along with anesthesia.
The best part for any kind of student still studying medicine – these games can count as a credit. You’ll need to check out the LevelEx website or in-app info to find out specifics, but it’s legit! AND fun! Plus, you don’t have to be a medical student to play – they’re free to everyone, so learn something new!
Play On: Mobile
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