A video game that simulates building custom PCs


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/01/a-video-game-that-simulates-bu.html


For $20 you get to enjoy all the tedium and hassle of building a new PC without any of the reward of actually having a new PC when it’s over.

Does it simulate the gnawing pit of dread in your stomach as you wonder why the damn thing won’t turn on and fret that despite all your precautions you somehow static shocked it and your x hundred dollar investment has just turned into e-waste? For maximum realism it ought to include in-app purchases for each component, with a percentage chance that each component will break, forcing you to make the IAP all over again,

This is one of those games where I am highly dubious as to the fun factor in playing it.



All the challenge of inserting a board into a slot and tightening a screw. Building PCs at this point may be even less complicated than building Ikea furniture.

A story: In the mid 90’s, I did PC repair. A computer with a non-working SoundBlaster was brought to me. Fiddling around, I could not figure out what was wrong with the thing. It wasn’t an IRQ conflict, a problem with the driver, or anything like the usual issues. So I carefully inspect the thing… there is a hole in the DAC. Turns out, the machine had been hit by lightning. (Not directly, but close enough.)


So I have been researching building a small form factor gaming PC as my iMac is end of life from a support standpoint and I do not want to go buy a brand new one. anywho…what I have learned is there is an insane amount of customization available now with RGB/LED this that and everything else.

I suspect this is less about the “fun” of simulating building a computer and more about wanting to see how things will fit and the over all aesthetics of the build/parts prior to making purchases.

Which if that is the case is pretty damn ironic to me. One of the things I always heard from PC gamers was “Oh you are on a Mac…you bought it because you think its pretty! You should be buying things for function not form, moron” And it seems more and more PC Gamers now want “bedazzled” computers.


wouldn’t it be cool if you could integrate it into Blockchain Tycoon?


Can you play a simulated version of “PC Building Simulator” on one of the PCs you build inside the game?

Yes, but it’s boring. You can simulate being bored by simulating being bored.


I had that just last week after flashing my BIOS and the damn thing switched itself off straight away when I switched it on, twice in a row… before coming back on like there was no problem, why are you shitting yourself like that. Bastard.

And I had to flash the BIOS because there was a problem with the old BIOS where it wouldn’t boot from USB no matter what I tried, which only took about four hours to establish. And it looked like it still wouldn’t boot from USB for another hour of so, until I found exactly the right combination of arcane incantations and smears of pigeon’s blood on my forehead to appease the gods and convince them of my devotion.

I needed to boot from USB to run Memtest86, because the damn thing kept crapping itself despite a fresh install of Windows and a replacement PSU, and after stuffing about for nearly a day, I finally got it to run, and haha, surprise, I have some dodgy RAM. And not the old 4GB, no of course not, the new 8GB, that’d be right.

Fuck, computers shit me.


Can it simulate figuring out whether I really need a new motherboard? Because I moved recently and my self-built PC won’t power on. Tried the paperclip test and the power supply seems to still be good. Tried unplugging and replugging everything into the main board and the damn thing just won’t power up.


Minimum you need is a CPU, stick of ram, and if no onboard GPU, a graphics card.

You need to be able to swap those out for others to diagnose. A PC swap meet might be able to help you with that.


This is pretty cool, what i would love is if manufacturers for motherboards and cases were to provide info directly to this game so someone can walk through how to install everything beforehand. I built my PC and helped my brother with his and the part i struggled with the most was plugging everything to the motherboard because all of the connectors are kind of hard to see. With my brother’s one we spent like 2hrs on it and we still missed plugging in one or two things in ]:




How about the endless boredom of downloading drivers from the manufacturer’s incomprehensible support website and navigating thru their shitty flash-based download management plug-in wondering and hoping you selected the right video driver, network adapter, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, ethernet, BIOS, anti-virus, fingerprint scanner and power supply? (Oh shit! I downloaded the 32bit versions - I need 64! Goddammit!!).

Then does it make you move all the drivers over from a USB stick one at a time with an OS reboot every 15 seconds as it automatically updates versions all the while secretly installing 3rd party crapware you then have to dive into the registry in order to remove?

Finally does the game force you to apply 483 security patches and OS updates with another 38 reboots in between before the fucking thing is usable?


Thanks to Microsoft finally seeing the fucking light and switching to rollup updates for Win 7 and later (so this month’s updates include every previous month’s updates), you can get by with only a few dozen updates (for all the stuff that inevitably isn’t included in any of the rollups) instead of hundreds.

Also, slipstreaming tools like NTlite are your friend. Feed it your Windows ISO and point it at a folder of downloaded updates and it will grind away for a few hours, then give you an up-to-date windows ISO.

Now that I’ve got all the non-rolled up updates saved in a folder, making an up to date windows ISO involves deleting one file (the monthly rollup from last time I did this), downloading one file (this month’s rollup), and running NTlite.


Does it simulate cutting yourself on devious burrs and edges not visible to the human eye, but so sharp that you notice the blood smeared on your kit before you notice the gashes on yoursef?

The Gods of Hardware demand blood sacrifices, 'twas ever thus.


At last, the My Summer Car for gamers who aren’t also gear-heads.


It certainly isn’t rocket surgery(and the edge cases that might be have been reduced by the economics of the industry generally into “isolate the FRU, then throw it away and put in another one”.

That said, there are some rather annoying bits that a simulation could really show it’s (niche; but genuine) value for:

Fit, primarily; with “oh, the Asus zootyboard 3000 only supports 4 DIMMS if you use DDR4-5600; otherwise it’s two only unless the ritual of thricefold execration works and your RAM happens to use specific Hynix chips” as a much less frequent, but unwelcome, occasional visitor.

Figuring out(ideally ahead of time) whether everything is going to fit nearly enough to leave some room for both cable tangles and airflow, being sure that Vendor A’s optimistically sized GPU cooler won’t bump into the fan mount on Vendor B’s cyclopean CPU cooler, that sort of thing, can be annoying; especially when getting solid mechanical diagrams out of the vendor isn’t generally a good bet(and the well documented standards are often…bent a trifle…).

If this functioned as essentially a domain-specific CAD program (trading the versatility and nontrivial learning curve of a general purpose one for a capacious part library for it’s domain and an understanding of how the available parts snap together) it could be quite handy for validating builds for fit without having to buy the parts first.

Clearly the game already has the x plugs into y and render the result capabilities; I don’t know how much chiselling it would take to get adequate dimension documentation out of vendors to make it a useful prototyping tool.


Only if you are messing around with the cheapest cases. Pay a bit more and you can get a case that does not have an insatiable thirst for your blood.

Or, better yet, get an antique or broken Dell or EMachine computer from Goodwill for ten bucks, recycle its innards, and use it as your case. As a general rule, name brand cases have no sharp edges, no vampiric tendencies, and are more compact than most enthusiast cases.


Been there, done that, still got scratched, used the t-shirt as a bandage.


All I can say is that since I stopped buying dodgy cheap cases I have rebuilt a dozen or more systems without needing any bandages. YMMV. Avoid cases haunted by the spirits of grumpy cats.