Many of the games we absolutely loved wiling away boring summers with in our younger days were based on some truly fucked up premises. Take the world’s two worst navies who haven’t yet heard of radar technology, gouge each admiral’s eyes out, and you have the classic
guessing game action thriller Battleship. Throw a couple of innocent kids in the middle of a preverted fantasy land filled with deranged pedophiles who like to give out sweets, and you’ve got the story behind Candy Land. And if you want to venture into the truly bizarre realm of board gaming, there was a licensed, foldable piece of unplayable garbage for just about everything that was huge in the last quarter of the 20th century.
Yet of all the kids games out there that have won my generation’s nostalgia seal of approval, there is none that can even touch the detached from reality insanity that is the electronic torture chamber known as Operation. Yes, the same tweezers you once used to pluck your unibrow could also be used to mutilate patients who you can only hope are unable to afford to hire a lawyer. Being a junior doctor has never been so much fun!
The concept of the classic Operation game was invented in 1964 by John Spinello, a college student who had no idea people of the future would go crazy for dissecting virtual humans. He sold off the rights to Milton Bradley for a whopping $500, only to watch MB (and later Hasbro, the same company who recently hit the Brony jackpot) turn his surgical nightmare scenario into a multi-million dollar franchise. Oops. Always remember to ask for that percentage all you capitalistic inventors out there!
In our classic 80’s commercial I’ve embedded, we see four unruly brats huddled up around the game as they inadvertently manage to spook their mother into thinking they’re planning on slicing up the family pooch… a fear which is not necessarily unfounded. Don’t worry, mom, they’re only taking their adolescent angst out on some poor slob who had really shitty health insurance. That’s a third world problem. Naturally, being hyperactive kids who probably aren’t being properly
paddled medicated, they fuck up more times than not and leave Cavity Sam open to contracting a nasty staph infection.
Chances are, if you’ve ever had surgery involving anything more than lancing an infected ass pimple, you were given some kind of anesthetic prior to the procedure so that you wouldn’t be able to feel the flesh shearing pain that can be inflicted by a scalpel. Sam’s cut-rate insurance has deemed anesthesia to be an elective vanity, however, so whenever some kid touches the sensitive sides of his open wounds, he screams so fucking loud that his nose turns red. One more outburst like that out of you, sissy boy, and the next thing that gets removed via tweezers will be your C batteries!
It’s bad enough Sam has to be painfully awake for his own butchering, but making this game even less likely to ever be featured in The New England Journal of Medicine is some of the “maladies” the game’s cards say he needs to be rid of.
Got a sore throat? Let’s just rip out that Adam’s apple…
Girlfriend ditch you? Time for a broken heartectomy…
Everyone thinks your sense of humor isn’t actually humorous? We’ll gladly remove your humerus (ha!) and call it a Funny Bone!
In some apparent biological mixup, Sam even has a wish bone underneath his shaved moobs. That doesn’t belong inside a human being, even if they are being medically treated like an animal. So out, out, out it goes!
Apparently, the point of Operation is to see how much of Sam’s vital anatomy you can remove without killing him so he can still pay the fees. Fees which DOUBLE if your doctor is too much of a dumbass to fix you himself and has to call in the specialist. In the real world, there are no doctors who specialize in funny bones or bread baskets… but in the fantasy medicine version of Operation’s world, not only do those specialists exist, but they’re determined by a random shuffle of the cards. Congratulations! You just became a ballsack specialist! Here’s your tweezers and a plastic bag. Good luck, doctor!
Despite the fact that we’ve generally frowned upon such unsanitary and unethical surgical procedures since the health profession decided leeches weren’t the cure-all we thought they were, it’s hard to believe that Operation continues to corrupt our future physicians on days when the batteries in their smartphones are dead. But the game is indeed still around…
Don’t feel like a classic has been desecrated after watching that ad… after all, how many kids even know what a Charley horse is these days?
Since Cavity Sam apparently has the brainpower of a lobotomy patient after suffering through four decades of operating room hell, he now needs medical help to perform basic bodily functions. Use your finely tuned tweezers to help remove those hard to reach, crusty boogers from the back of Sam’s nose. And don’t forget to ask the flatulence specialist to take care of that colostomy bag. Along with making the game as gross as a pack of Garbage Pail Kids cards, Hasbro also made sure to carve out Sam’s new cavities so wide and deep, that playing the game now has the difficulty level of trying to remove a kidney stone from the Grand Canyon. Anyone who manages to touch the sides in this new, pussified version of Operation should never be allowed to pick up any kind of a sharp object again for everyone’s safety…
Quality health care may be a hot topic these days, but the waiting room of boredom is no place to worry about such trifles as patient’s rights or proper operating room procedures. So for giving us the chance to turn a flesh-eaten man with a bowl-cut into a nose buzzing crybaby, The Nest would like to give a golden bedpan salute to the game of Operation. While the barbaric treatment of idiomatic diseases may seem to be as tasteless as hospital food… your game of amateur mutilation will at least always be more presentable than a surgical gown. We just hope Santa will be able to make it to town to deliver the game to all the good little squirrels and boys out there this holiday season…