Trauma Center: Under The Knife

LQ: 9.1


Brain grade: 9.4
Fun score: 8.7

Game Type: ESRB Rating: Teen Platform/Console: , LWK Recommended Age: 12+ Thinking Skills Used: , , ,

In Trauma Center: Under the Knife, players use the DS stylus and touch screen to simulate performing surgeries on fictional patients. Players use the stylus to make incisions, sew up patients, and even remove tumors. As they perform these procedures, players need to watch patients’ vital signs and act as quickly as possible in order to help or heal struggling patients. Reading is required to follow the story and operation instructions, and while there is no violence in the game, due to the blood and surgical theme, this game is recommended for players ages 12 and up.

This Game is Good for Kids Who Need Help With:

Time Management

Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.

Players are given a clear time limit for each surgery they perform. The patient's vital signs, represented by a number in the upper-left corner of the screen, will slowly drop as time passes. Any misstep in the operation makes them drop more rapidly. Thus, players are tasked to manage their remaining time wisely in order to perform all of the necessary tasks. Move too fast, and players may make mistakes, subsequently hurting the patient. Move too slowly, and they likely won't complete the operation in time.


Managing feelings and behaviors.

In Trauma Center: Under the Knife, players needs to think before executing a move. Making any mistakes during surgery will hurt the patient and increase the risk of death. Making a careful incision will ultimately save more time and be safer for the patient, as opposed to making a hasty incision as fast as possible. The same thing goes for the other tasks that the player performs, like patching wounds or vacuuming out fluid. While it is important to complete each task as fast as possible, it is also important that players take the time to make careful, controlled movements and avoid making mistakes that cost more time in the long run.


Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

Players are asked to handle a large amount of information as they attempt each surgery. Besides dealing with their current surgical task, players must also keep track of the patient's vital signs, the steps of the procedure they are currently performing and the advice they receive from their assistants within the game. Players must recognize which information is most important to focus on, and what facets of the operation to deal with first. Otherwise, they are likely to become overwhelmed with the amount of work they are asked to do in each surgery, making errors and failure more likely.

Working Memory

Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.

Players are provided with a number of different tools for each surgery -- scalpels, antiseptic gel, sutures, lasers and so on. Players control each tool by moving the stylus across the DS touch screen in unique patterns. For example, antiseptic gel is applied by dragging the stylus across the wound or incision, and the laser scalpel is used by quickly tapping the touchscreen on the affected area. Although players have many tools at their disposal, only a few will be necessary to complete each surgery. Therefore, it is up to the player to remember how and when each instrument is used, recall the information and quickly put it to use in the middle of an operation.


Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.

Many of the surgeries in Trauma Center: Under the Knife have complications. Players will begin the surgery with one goal, but will quickly be faced with additional problems. For example, in operation 5, "A Real Doctor," players expect to perform the simple tumor excision they practiced in earlier levels. However, they then open the patient to discover that the entire intestine is inflamed, which is causing the patient's vitals to drop rapidly. Players must be ready to deal with a variety of situations as they arise during surgery, or they will likely lose the patient and be forced to restart.

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