It’s time to dust off our old CD-drive and take a trip down memory lane, courtesy of Theme Hospital. This game was one of the defining titles of my childhood and it’s probably the reason why I love economic simulation games to this day. Several games have tried to recreate the magic (Hospital Tycoon, Kapi Hospital etc) but they have all failed.
Somewhat unsurprisingly for a game made 20 years ago, Theme Hospital doesn’t blur the lines between a game and real life. However, considering its age, the graphics hold up surprisingly well. As it was created to look cartoonish to begin win, the game still looks pleasing to the eye with its highly contrasting colour scheme. If you don’t need pixel free vector graphics and high resolution gaming then I’m sure you will enjoy the Theme Hospital aesthetics.
Like simulation games that have followed, you can play Theme Hospital with just your mouse. The players aim is to make the most profitable hospital possible, along with treating as many patients as possible. To do this you first have to research each illness, have the correctly trained staff, buy the correct equipment and then treat the patients. However, that isn’t all. You also have to maintain your building and keep your patients happy. If your hospital gets rats, you have to squash them using your mice. As time goes on, players can expand their hospital to treat more patients and make more money.
Theme hospital is still the king, 20 years later, of hospital simulation games. It is a game that never seems to get old in my eyes, I could quite easily pick up and play it at anytime. I may be slightly biased as it is a game which got me into simulation games but for me it’s a game which still deserves any plaudits which it receives.