Classic business simulation game Theme Hospital is available as a free download to anyone signed up to publisher Electronic Arts’ Origin download software.
Released in 1997, the game allowed players to build and operate their own hospitals, including planning the building’s layout, purchasing and maintaining machinery, researching medical conditions and hiring staff.
Though it may sound a touch turgid to the uninitiated, Theme Hospital was truly engrossing, punctuated by its wry sense of humour. Patients would arrive into hospital with conditions such as ‘Bloaty Head’ (which caused their cranium to inflate to twice the size), ‘Slack Tongue’, ‘Hairyitis’, ‘Baldness’, ‘Spare Ribs’ (when you’ve grown an extra rib) and the ‘Uncommon Cold’.
Much like the Steam system, Origin is free-to-download software that allows users to buy games online for PC and mobile platforms, and then download them via the Origin client.
As pointed out by IGN, Theme Hospital is part of ‘On the House’ promotion, which sees a different title released to download every month. Previous games to be offered in the deal include Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies.