Life & Death

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Life & Death
Life & Death DOS Cover Art.jpg
Developer(s)Jake Smith & Don Laabs (Atari ST & Amiga conversions by Simon Beal)
Publisher(s)The Software Toolworks
Designer(s)Dr. Myo Thant
Platform(s)Mac OS, MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIgs, FM Towns, NEC PC-9801, X68000
Mode(s)Single player

Life & Death is a computer game published in 1988 by The Software Toolworks. The player takes the role of an abdominal surgeon. The original packaging for the game included a surgical mask and gloves.[1] A sequel, Life & Death II: The Brain, was published in 1990. In this sequel, the player is a neurosurgeon.[2]


In the role of a resident abdominal surgeon at fictional hospital Toolworks General, the player must diagnose and treat a variety of maladies including kidney stones, arthritis, appendicitis, and aneuritic aorta. The last two require the player to perform surgery.


Life & Death emphasized realism and visual detail even with limited colors.

Compute! complimented Life & Death's graphics and sound, stating that the game effectively used CGA's four colors and the PC speaker, and stated that the game's warning to those queasy of blood was accurate.[3] An author on Gamasutra praised the game for its attention to detail and the way it offers significant depth and challenge despite only the mouse.[4]

Macworld reviewed the Macintosh version of Life & Death, noting its gore and level of difficulty, stating that "If the embossed photo of a bloody brain on the box doesn't get to you, the challenge and frustration of playing the game just might." Macworld praises Life & Death's difficulty and educational value, but criticized the "annoying" copy protection, monochrome graphics, and lack of a save function. The reviewer for Macworld is stated to be a doctor of medicine.[1]

Life & Death was nominated for Software Publishers Association (SPA) awards for Best Game, Best Simulation and Best Use of Technology.


  1. ^ a b Franklin N. Tessler, M.D. (March 1990). "Life & Death 1.01 Review". Macworld. Mac Publishing. p. 182-184.
  2. ^ Cobbett, Richard (August 27, 2011). "Saturday Crapshoot: Life and Death". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Latimer, Joey (May 1989). "Life & Death". Compute!. No. 108. pp. 71–72. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  4. ^ ""A Matter Of Life And Death", Leigh Alexander". Retrieved May 6, 2012.

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