Imagine a TV show set in the Two Point Hospital universe. “Doctor, we have three patients today. The first is showing the telltale signs of lightheadedness, by which I mean he has a light bulb for a head of course. The second has delusions of being a rock star—probably Mock Star. Recommending a trip to the psychiatrist.”

“And the third?”

“Symptoms we’ve never seen before. It seems the patient’s entire body has been…drained of color.”

“Sounds like a case of Grey Anatomy to me. Send the patient to General Diagnosis for further tests, and prep for Chromatherapy.”

Then the call comes over the PA. “There’s been an accident, and we’re the nearest hospital. They’re asking if we can take an influx of clowns. Nurse Barney McBoatface, please report to the Dehumorfier immediately!” I’d watch that show.

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Twenty years ago, Bullfrog put out a little game called Theme Hospital. As I wrote a few months ago, Theme Hospital was “a simulator from that era in the ‘90s where seemingly everything was primed for simulation.” Even something as dreary as healthcare.

Two Point Hospital IDG / Hayden Dingman

Theme Hospital was more a pseudo-simulation though. It wasn’t a game about curing cancer or staving off an influenza epidemic—and good thing, too. Chances are if you’re in a hospital normally, it’s one of the worst days of your life. Not really appropriate material for a video game adaptation.

But Bullfrog borrowed the mechanics of hospitals without the realities, cursing its patients with irreverent diseases like Uncommon Cold and Kidney Beans. It worked, and two decades later Theme Hospital is still considered an all-time classic, even appearing in EA’s On-the-House program.

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