Theme Hospital was developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1997. The aim of the game is for the player to design and manage a hospital. Like most of Bullfrog’s games, Theme Hospital is permeated by an eccentric sense of humour. The game is the thematic successor to Theme Park, which was also produced by Bullfrog.
The player has no direct control over the patients that wander the hospital, although gameplay largely centres on influencing their actions in one way or another. The player does, however, have the ability to pick up any staff member in the building and move them to a different area and to expel any patients from the hospital. The player may also force the patient into taking a chance of possible cure at the risk of killing the patient and rearrange the queue of each of the rooms in the hospital.
Each level consists of an empty hospital to plan and design, with set goals in the fields of financial attainment, patients cured, percent of patients cured, and hospital value. Holding negative funds or allowing sufficient patients to die will bring about losing requirements. When the goals have been met the player has the option to move on to a new, more elaborate hospital with tougher winning conditions and more diseases present. The final level in the game, ‘Battenburg‘ consists of an enormous, yet somewhat awkward, hospital with all the diseases and rooms in the game present, all disasters frequent and very high winning requirements.