Marion Surgical Robot Game is a free to play surgical themed game that allows you to delve into the realm of robotic surgery, operating a high-tech robotic system designed by real surgeons. The game allows you to master the basics in a competitive marathon mode and test your skills on an alien operation. In this interview, Ben Sainsbury, CEO of Marion Surgical, discusses the journey of developing surgical simulation devices, what inspired the creation of the game and how it will contribute to the training of medical professionals.
Innovation Journey: Could you tell us about your journey in developing surgical simulation devices and what inspired you to transition from medical training tools to creating the surgical robot game?
The journey began with our focus on surgical simulation devices aimed at enhancing medical training. However, the inspiration to transition into a gaming format came from an unexpected source: the classic skill crane game. While refining our robot simulator, we realized the precision and control required in our simulator bore a striking resemblance to the skill and dexterity needed in claw crane games. This sparked the idea of creating a game that was not only fun but also demanded a high level of skill, much like manoeuvring a claw to capture a prize.
This realization led us to think, “What if we take the surgical robot simulator beyond a training tool and create something wildly entertaining yet skillful?” Thus, the concept of operating on aliens was born, blending the rigor of surgical precision with the imaginative realms of science fiction.
Educational Impact: How do your surgical simulators contribute to the training of medical professionals? Do you see your new alien surgery game as having educational value?
Our core surgical simulators have been pivotal in advancing the training of medical professionals, offering realistic, hands-on experiences without the risks associated with real-life surgeries. The alien surgery game, while primarily designed for entertainment, also holds educational value. For medical students, it’s a playful yet challenging way to hone their hand-eye coordination and familiarize themselves with the intricacies of robotic surgery, especially mastering the clutch mechanism and navigating tools in 3D space. It’s a unique blend of serious skill development in a less pressured, engaging environment.
One of the most innovative aspects of our alien-themed robot simulator game is how it circumvents the limitations often encountered with human-based medical simulations. By setting the game in a context of operating on alien tissue, we’re able to craft a wide variety of surgical procedures that approximate real-life surgeries without being bound by the red tape and strict regulations of the medical community.
This creative freedom allows us to design levels that are not just imaginative but also incredibly diverse in terms of surgical techniques and scenarios. Each level can introduce a new set of challenges, mirroring the complexity and unpredictability of real surgeries. For instance, we can simulate rare or highly complex surgical procedures that might be difficult to replicate in standard training modules due to ethical, legal, or practical constraints.
For medical students and professionals, this means an opportunity to experience a broader spectrum of surgical scenarios than what might be available in traditional training settings. They can practice and refine their skills on procedures that are not commonly taught or are too risky to perform in a training environment. The alien context also adds an element of novelty and engagement, making learning more intriguing and less daunting.
Moreover, the game’s emphasis on precision and skill, akin to the demands of a skill crane game, ensures that players are continuously challenged to improve their hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and surgical technique. This makes the game not just a fun diversion, but a valuable educational tool that complements traditional surgical training methods.
Technology and Design: What are the most significant technological challenges you faced in developing both the surgical training devices and the alien surgery game and how did you overcome these challenges?
Developing both the surgical training devices and the alien surgery game presented numerous technological challenges, particularly in creating a realistic and responsive 3D environment. Ensuring precision and accuracy in the game mechanics was crucial, as was crafting an interface that was both intuitive for gamers and relevant for medical professionals. Overcoming these challenges involved a lot of trial and error, user feedback, and leveraging cutting-edge technology in game design and simulation.
Audience Engagement: Who do you envision as the primary audience for your alien surgery game? How do you plan to engage both medical professionals and the general public with this unique concept?
Our primary audience is gamers who appreciate challenging, competitive gameplay that rewards skill and precision. We’ve designed the game to be engaging and demanding, pushing players to refine their control and decision-making skills. The secondary audience comprises surgeons looking for a fun way to maintain their hand-eye coordination. The game offers them a relaxed environment to practice skills crucial to their profession. Lastly, medical students represent a significant audience. For them, this game is an opportunity to practice robotic surgery skills in an immersive, low-stakes setting, enhancing their spatial awareness and technical proficiency.
Future Visions: Looking forward, how do you see the role of simulation technology evolving in medical training? Do you have plans for more innovative projects that blend education, technology, and entertainment?
Looking ahead, I see simulation technology becoming increasingly integral to medical training. It offers a safe, controlled environment for learning and perfecting skills, which is invaluable in medical education. As for our future projects, we’re excited about exploring further intersections of gaming and educational technology. We envision creating more simulation-based games that not only entertain but also impart valuable skills, pushing the boundaries of how we think about learning and skill development in the digital age.
Where can you download the game?
The game is now available free to play on Steam here.
Master the basics of robotic surgery in a competitive marathon mode and test your skills on an alien operation. Since some surgeons enjoy listening to music in the operating room we have added an exclusive soundtrack featuring a song sung by Royston Langdon – the lead singer of the iconic band Spacehog, with Scott Reeder (Kyuss) on bass and Dave Abbruzzese (Pearl Jam) on drums – adding an auditory dimension to your gameplay.
This is just the beginning and we have plans to add more experiences and surgeries to the franchise. We hope this becomes a new genre of video game.