What happens when cutting edge computer game creators, fresh from working on top titles in their industry such as ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Mission Impossible’, use their skills to simulate high stress moments from the real world of anesthesia and surgery? Using “the neuro-science of game design” to help accelerate learning within the profession:

“The motivation for starting Level Ex, what if we actually took the top game designers and developers in the industry? We’re talking the executive producer of “Mortal Kombat”, the creative director of “Call of Duty”, the marketing director of “Words with Friends”; put them with top physicians from multiple specialties, to capture the challenges of the practice of medicine using video game mechanics”.

“This doesn’t recreate the mannequin, what this does replace is the five hundred live patients you need to train on in order to encounter those five to ten rare scenarios because we can recreate the rare and the difficult and then we can help you train your visualization skills, your recognition skills, your deductive reasoning skills, on those cases.”

The key point here is not that motor function is being copied by a screen interactive experience but instead the aim is to “optimise cognitive load” and recreate the thought process alongside an emotional experience.

“We’re not introducing you to how to do a fiber optic intubation, we’re going to present dozens of rare difficult challenging once in a lifetime cases”. Here computer games can currently excel in their teaching ability, “it’s a cognitive skill, it’s a decision making algorithm”. As time ticks by in the simulation “you do get to a point where there’s no return and you have like three minutes to do this successfully and so your algorithm and decision making is absolutely crucial”. It’s about taking in data and making decisions in a way that is not possible on a mannequin or ethical on a live patient.

“Everything that goes into the app is peer reviewed” and, with any computer game you can earn points as you go along; this game though gives you (Continuing Medical Education) CME points.

Google Play:


Open Anesthesia is here: https://www.openanesthesia.org/

Presented by Desiree Chappell and Monty Mythen with their guests. Sam Glassenberg, CEO and Founder of Level Ex, before which he was CEO of the leading independent game publisher in Hollywood, releasing games based on popular films, including The Hunger Games and Mission: Impossible, he also led the DirectX graphics team at Microsoft, where he accepted a Technical Emmy on behalf of his team for advancing the visual realism of video games across the industry. His career began at LucasArts, creating Star Wars games for PlayStation and Xbox. Sam serves on numerous industry advisory boards and speaks internationally on video games in medicine. Robert H. Thiele, Associate Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering, Division Chief, Critical Care Anesthesiology, Board of Directors, University Physicians Group, University of Virginia School of Medicine. He has a background in engineering and has been using technology to improve education since his residency in 2008. He is co-founder of www.OpenAnesthesia.org which lead to the development of Self-Study, and also authored one of the first iBooks focused on cardiac and critical care ultrasound.