I am a junk food game connoisseur. Anything that scratches that easily entertained part of my brain that indulges in over-the-top melodrama paired with a simple gameplay loop gets my money at full price. I think of my endless love for too many gacha games with fan-service fueled stories and the more overdramatic visual novels with few or no gameplay mechanics outside of “pick the right thing to advance the story” demonstrate my tastes. My ridiculous obsession with Trauma Center is this phenomenon in a nutshell, and I desperately wish Sega would bring the series back.
A run through at least one Trauma Center game has become a yearly ritual, even after Atlus long abandoned the series. I drag out a busted up Wii, Wii U, or DS to get my fix from the absurd medical drama sporting soap opera dialogue and save the world from bioterrorism every summer. It’s been 11 years since Atlus published the final entry, Trauma Team, in 2010 – and I’m still not tired of playing.
While there are five entries to the series, they’re still all pretty similar. I have my reasons for picking it as my favorite, but Trauma Center: Second Opinion is still my number one. If you’ve played any one entry though, you’ve got a pretty good feel for the series at large as most Trauma Center titles were received fairly well and play similarly.
For those unfamiliar with my guilty pleasure, Trauma Center largely focuses around stopping the threat of dangerous bio-engineered threats called Stigma/Guilt/etc. Even that name is kind of painful to type, but I love it. Things begin easy enough, fixing a broken bone there, mending a little scratch here – then suddenly you’re single-handedly saving the world from a terrorist organization. It’s exactly the type of absurd story I crave. If context helps, I grew up watching Days of Our Lives with my mother and being really into any shounen anime I could get my hands on.
Silly story aside, even as someone who reads and writes about games professionally, I struggle to find gameplay loops that really, truly satisfy me. I’ll play something to the end just to see a new story, but I nitpick mechanics and grow tired of most things that aren’t clever management sims or RPGs. Except Trauma Center. There is literally nothing I love more than stitching up a wound in Trauma Center, and I know that sounds not great, but please let me explain myself.
For the entries with motion controls, I was way too into flicking my wrist back and forth to suture some grotesque injury. You usually could only do that once or twice per patient, but sometimes someone with some serious damage ended up on the operating table and it’s time to whip the Wii mote around. When done under a strict time limit, there’s something about the whipping noise and demanding precision from an extremely finicky Wii mote that made me feel like I’d completed a job well done.
But that’s not all there is to Trauma Center. The game turns the human body into a giant puzzle, which I guess isn’t actually a stretch to say about the real things, but it gives me a superhero-like role in medicine that I can enjoy. I miss the careful mending of bones, the expert measurement of life-saving medicine, exploratory scoping, all of it. I realize it’s all cartoonish and ridiculous, but that’s what made me adore it so.
So, Sega, I am begging you, bring me back my doctor game. I miss being scolded by nurses yelling “doctor!” frantically as I accidentally poked someone’s spleen, and I miss saving the world with my supernatural healing skills. You’ve acquired the rights to one of my favorite series after picking up Atlus, so please save me from my yearly ritual of hooking up the Wii again and make something for Switch.
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Andrea Shearon is a news editor at TheGamer who loves RPGs and anything horror related. Find her on Twitter via @Maajora.
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