The virtual-reality surgical simulator signals the beginning of an era of computer simulation for surgery. The surgical resident of the future will learn new perspectives on surgical anatomy and repeatedly practice surgical procedures until they are perfect before performing surgery on patients. Primitive though these initial steps are, they represent the foundation for an educational base that will be as important to surgery as the flight simulator is to aviation. It is anticipated that the full development of the surgical simulator will take less than the 40 years which was required for flight simulators to become an indispensable ingredient of pilot training. As the system evolves, many new and yet-to-be-imagined applications will arise, but we must have understanding and patience as we wait for computer power to improve to a point where VR surgical simulation can emerge from its PacMan era.