Cheesy Toy Knockoff June 9, 2005 by Rudy Panucci
The Wacky Knockoff Game
This edition of Cheesy Toy Knockoff features a rarity. Board Games hardly ever get blatant knockoffs because it's hard to make the knockoff game different enough without crossing the line into actionable swiping of the intellectual property in terms of the rules. Also, it's hard to copy a game effectively and keep the finished product cheap. It's even more rare for an electronic gimmick game to knocked off, since they're more expensive to produce and there are only a hand full of successful games to rip off.
Which makes today's knockoff quite remarkable. Meet "Dr. Surgery Game", which is "Battery Operated", a fact that lets them put the word "Operated" right next to the logo. Why would they do this? Well, Dr. Surgery is a crude, laughable, knockoff of Milton Bradley's timeless classic, Operation, the Wacky Doctor Game.
Even more remarkably, I found this winner at Dollar Tree, a store wherein all that glitters is a buck, and so is all the crap, too.
Dr. Surgery is blister packed, and is pretty tiny for a knockoff of Operation. The plastic game board measures about four by six inches, and is about an inch deep. The real treat, in terms of cheesiness, is the weird way in which the manufacturers mimicked the actions of the real Operation game, but did so on the cheap.
The Doctor Surgery game does not have the red, light-up nose of Operation, nor does it have the buzzer. Dr. Surgery works by vibrating insanely if you touch the tweezers to the metal backing. This is QUITE JARRING. The first time you try it, you will be shocked by how loud this thing is. It's like the poor patient is taking some kind of anti-freeze- induced seizure.
What makes this even more frustrating is that there's no way you can master this game without putting in a few weeks of practice. The wells that hold the various organs are not very deep, and the metal that you have to avoid is NOT on the walls surrounding the offending parts, rather it is the floor supporting those pieces. And the tweezer doesn't really open wide enough to pick up all the pieces.
And we have to address the organs. They are, to quote the Waiter from Monty Python's "The Meaning Of Life", "wafer thin". Seriously, these tiny plastic body parts aren't as thick as a dime. And what might these body parts be? Well, they look like little red kidneys and hot dog wieners. All of them look like that, even the ones that go in his arms and legs. I would go so far as to seriously impugn the integrity of the anatomical expert that was engaged to develop this game.
Then we get to the rules. They're printed on the back of the package. The first statement is "Players try to pick up the indicated pieces with using the tweezers." Now, I'm a fairly bright fellow (at least I like to think so), and for the life of me, I could not find anything, anywhere, to "indicate" anything. There are no cards or a spinner or anything. You just get the game board, the attached tweezers, and the body parts. Nuthin' else.
According to the rules, each body part has a number, which gives you your score. The numbers are barely visible. You have to look at them under an electron microscope under a sun lamp, but the numbers are there.
Then we get to the poor patient. The guy looks so despondent. It's like he's depressed because he knows he's on a cheesy knockoff. I guess if I had wieners for armbones and kidneys in my legs I'd be depressed too. This poor guy looks like he ought to come with a living will that asks you to take his batteries out.
And then there's the name, "Dr. Surgery". Isn't that just a bit redundant? I mean, if you're doing surgery, aren't at least acting like a doctor? Wouldn't "Surgery Game" make more sense?
Ultimately, this crappy little game is a gem of cheesely goofiness. I mean, what kid could ask for Operation, get this game instead, and not be permanently emotionally scarred? You gotta admire the sheer chutzpah of the folks responsible for this mess for ripping off such an easily- identified game, doing it in such a slap-dash manner, and having the guts to put their name on the package! This particular cheesy knockoff is distributed by Greenbrier International Inc. of Chesapeake, Virginia. THEY ACTUALLY PUT THEIR NAME ON IT!
You know, if Milton Bradley catches wind of this, maybe they can do a sequel, "Attorney Lawsuit Game: Battery Litigated".