Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
We have, somehow, ended up on the mailing lists of several children’s games sites which upload new copyright-infringing browser games every day. As a serious professional, I dutifully play every one. They’re all built from the same pieces, artwork and frameworks shook up in a bag and turned out, and I’ve come to enjoy seeing which combination each day will bring. I’ve helped every Disney princess deliver babies, given Robert Pattinson a make-over, and healed Hello Kitty, but none fascinated me more than Super Barbie Brain Doctor [official site].
The magic bag for Super Barbie Brain Doctor turned out a game where Barbie’s superhero alter-ego has been poisoned by a villain. You take her temperature, of course, measure her blood pressure as is only sensible, then… perform electroshock therapy, cut her hair as she cries, shave her head, before slicing open her scalp and removing her skull cap. Then, you know, you perform brain surgery as usual – swabbing, vacuuming, reconnecting neural pathways, and stickyplastering until it’s all better.
As I say, all these games are built from similar bits, so I’ve cut hair in beauty games and taken temperatures in doctor games, but Super Barbie Brain Doctor is fascinating for how eagerly it launches into awful surgical procedures. Discovering what’s causing her badbrain and removing it is less fun, really, but the setup is still worth it. It’s such an odd thing.
I’ve read that these sorts of games can help children come to terms with a pet’s illness or feel brave ahead of surgery, preparing them for an unkind world like many books do, but gosh this roll of the dice is just so good. Barbie + electroshocks + headshaving + scalpcutting + braincleansing + scalpstitching.
Super Barbie Brain Doctor is free to play in your browser. Do go have a look.