After my own recent trips to the hospital, I thought a hospital management sim might be fun. As usual with sims and god games, there are slim pickings to choose from, but I was surprised not only to find 2 games which fall into this caetgory, but both of them work well in Windows 7!
Firstly, Theme Hospital.
Theme Hospital, was developed by Bullfrog and EA back in 1997. It is mostly considered Abandonware, and can be downloaded for free here: http://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/games/757-theme-hospital-full-version-download-multiplayer-patch-windows-vista-7-support.html It will work alright out of the box with Windows 7 in Windows 95 Compatibility Mode, and being run as an administrator. Be sure to play the directory as close as possible to your root C: drive as it is an old DOS based game and likely wont handle the longer directory names of modern Windows machines.
There is a better fix for the game which allows higher resolution (or full screen) operation of the game on todays larger displays. You can find that here: http://code.google.com/p/corsix-th/ I have played this for about 20 hours so far and enjoy it. It can be a bit quarky sometimes, but it does have its challenges and like most older games from the 90′s it actually makes you think, as it was aimed at a narrower audience of intelligent nerds, instead of the wider audience of dumb console gamers which most games are aimed towards today in their marketing.
This brings us nicely into Hospital Tycoon!
Hospital Tycoon is available on Steam for $4.99. http://store.steampowered.com/app/11590 Released in 2007 by Codemasters, Hospital Tycoon has the modern shiny and polished look of todays video games. Sadly however it is much more bland, and lacks the complexity of Theme Hospital. Hospital Tycoon dives more into the social aspect of Hospitals on a person by person basis, and less into the technical aspect. The game is very story driven, with a soap opera like flair to the whole thing. It is also heavily scripted, and you are confined to a limited space in order to build your hospital. While the same holds true in Theme Hospital, in Hospital Tycoon the fact that you are in a 3d environment and you are situated in the lobby of what seems like a larger hospital is very deceiving.
That being said, minus these small issues, the game still has a similar feel to it, and would be a good modern replacement to Theme Hospital had Corsix-TH never been developed. I have only put in maybe 2 hours into the game, but I do plan to nip away at it from time to time. For $5.00, I wouldn’t say its a waste of money if your looking for a hospital themed game.
I recently went back and started playing Hospital Tycoon again. I finished the Story Mode and while it was corny, it did teach me a lot about the game. I now find the game slightly more interesting then I did before, and have put in about 20 hours of gameplay on it in the last week or so.
I am however finding the sandbox modes a little too easy. I am playing on Hard difficulty with the lowest starting amount of money, and still raking in the cash and have a almost five star hospital. With no deaths! But it is still fun.