PC Building Simulator Is Much Less Nerve-Wracking Than The Real Thing

PC Building Simulator Is Much Less Nerve-Wracking Than The Real Thing

Last week Kotaku‘s Nathan Grayson told us about PC Building Simulator, an indie game in which the nightmare of putting together a gaming PC follows us into the virtual world. This week I played the demo release, and it’s not nearly as difficult as it is in real life.

Having recently assembled, disassembled, then rebuilt with the CPU inserted correctly my own new gaming PC, I was eager to give Romanian indie developer Claudiu’s spare time project a try. If you’d like to give it a go yourself, the demo version is available now on the game’s official website.  

The demo is very bare bones, with just a tutorial level in place and no sound whatsoever. Still, it’s easy to see the potential in a game in which players can purchase whichever components they want and build their dream machine while playing on whatever they could cobble together once they got those silly dreams out of their heads.

There isn’t much to screw up in the first build. It’s just the basics — standoffs, power supply, motherboard, cooler, hard drive, memory, video card and fans. Aside from the memory, which requires flipping the locks on the motherboard open before inserting, it’s all fairly straightforward. The only tricky bit comes when it’s cabling time, when you have to select which cable goes where from a drop-down menu.

Once you’re done you are free to move about the work environment as you see fit, looking at choice bits of scenery while imagining how big this game can get if just a few PC hardware makers hop on board to have their stuff licensed.

PC Building Simulator is off to an impressive start. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Claudiu brings to the work bench in the coming months.


  • I wasn’t aware people found building PC’s difficult.

    It all goes together like lego these days.

    • It’s hard for a first timer (from memory). But after having built 10 in the last 13 years the last thing I want to do is go through the tedium of building a rudimentary fake one. Bugger that!

      • Depends on how timid you are I guess. When I was about 12, my parents brought home a 286 given to us by my uncle, and the first thing I did was pull it to pieces to see what it was made of and how it worked! Much to my mother’s horror of course! 😉
        I had zero clue what I was doing at the time, but I recall opening the case, and looking in to see how neat and organized it was, and thinking “this looks pretty simple”. Had it been complex when I opened it up, I don’t think I would have risked it. Also, I guess I was fortunate in the sense that I started with a built machine. If someone had handed me a bunch of bits and told me to assemble I might have been slightly more intimidated!

    • It’s always been fairly easy: I think the main problem many people have is fear of breaking things. To some extent this is exacerbated by the price of some components.

      One simple thing you probably take for granted but a novice probably won’t is “how much pressure should I apply to connect these two components?” If you apply too little, you won’t get a good electrical connection, and if you apply too much you might break something. If your main fear is breaking something, it is easy to end up with bad connections.

      Also, while components might fit together like Lego, that’s only true if the components are compatible. It can be overwhelming to see a list of all the components at a shop and not know which ones to buy.

  • It wasn’t what I presumed…

    I was expecting more of a Surgeon Simulator-ish style of controls.

    You know, so I can stand 5 feet away from the motherboard and try and ninja-star the GPU into the PCI-E slot.

    • Yeah, it seems a bit pointless to me otherwise since IRL assembling a new PC is “30-odd minutes of fairly simple and somewhat tedious work”. If they want to model the entire process it’s mostly waiting. Do a little bit of research on what’s good and make sure all your components are compatible. Order your components. Wait for them to arrive. Assemble. Start OS installation. Wait. Now you get to the good bit.

      In the bad old days there was a lot more that could go wrong when putting a rig together but these days its something that… people who’ve done it know how easy it is but people who haven’t think it’s much more difficult than it really is.

      I guess they imagine it’s somewhat harrowing because you have the chance of bricking components worth hundreds of dollars each but it’s really very unlikely to mess up that badly unless you’re prone to random spasms and fits.

      • I’m with you. I was a little confused when I saw this concept as, having built quite a few PCs (and pulling one apart to replace parts no more than two months ago) I couldn’t understand what the allure is.

        It’s literally almost impossible to screw up putting a PC together nowadays. Basically all the components are error-proofed so that they only plug in a certain way (the same way that you’re hard pressed to plug your toaster into the wall incorrectly or to plug in a USB stick the wrong way). In fact, the only stressful part I recall was having to push some parts in harder than I expected and getting a bit panicky that I was doing it wrong and would snap the board.

        I understand games where you rebuild engines, that’s actually quite complex. But I’m pretty sure that the double decker couch set from The LEGO Movie was more complex to put together than my PC was.

        DISCLAIMER: In no way do I include water/oil cooled computers in this as those things can get absolutely crazy and some of the things I’ve seen people do with them is more akin to sorcery than the vague flapping around of meat flippers that I’m capable of.

      • 30 minutes? There’s that many boxes and wrappers I usually haven’t opened everything in that time.

        • Agreed, 30 minutes is ready, set, RUSH!!!

          That, or you work at a computer store, where you’ve done it a million times that it becomes arthritic muscle memory.

          If it’s my own machine I usually take a good hour, setting all the boxes up neatly, putting away all the translucent plastics, clean as I go basically. Then I size up all the screws that came with the motherboard, read all the booklets that come with the GPU (sometimes they come with a game serial code), measure the PSU cables to see what I can tuck away (cable management), collect all the loose metals like the bendy plates that block the PCI slots.

          It’s a soothing therapeutic experience.

  • It’s not truly building a pc simulator unless someone is behind you randomly and strategically cutting your hands along the knuckles. Good pcs involve a blood sacrifice to work properly.

    • Oh man… I know that pain. As a tech who worked at a pc shop for many years, where cheap cases were the norm, I suffered many a cut from sharp edges. It’s such a pleasure when you get to build in a nice high quality roomy case like I did for my recent upgrade!

      • Haha, I had that issue when I worked at Umart.

        Go to wash your hands for lunch, see all these very fine slices along your fingers, sometimes up your arm, and you’d wonder where the hell they all came from.

        Those cheap case brands like Tsunami and Huntkey were out for blood.

    • As someone who spent 3 years building PCs for a living, I know exactly what you mean. Every now and then you would come across a motherboard backplate which refused to cooperate until you had sliced your hand open on it at least once…

  • It would be good if it was 100% accurate. Them you could test will this motherboard and cooler fit in the particular case.

  • Needs an expansion that simulates when you install an OS and reinstall/re-download all your software.

    Expert mode is 1990’s style, with autoexec files and memory management.

  • Nice might check it out, just built myself a new gaming rig for the first time in like 7 years, now I have the itch to build more

  • I’ve just finished my first Mini ITX build. That was a nightmare because of the lack of space, but to echo previous comments the components all just snap together easily and it’s very hard to get things wrong, especially if you’ve done it before.

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