The statistics all tell me that I’m not too old for video games, but these days, I sometimes lack an enthusiasm for big games that I once had in an ample supply. Ubisoft’s recent Far Cry 5 is well made — I recognize that — but I don’t have a passion for it. And that makes me question my passion for any of it … until I play something like PC Building Simulator.
Now, I’m not calling PC Building Simulator some sort of holy experience. It’s not. But it is the kind of odd and quirky game that clicks with me and rejuvenates me.
PC Building Simulator is a business simulator. It is available now on Steam for $20 — although you can get it for 10 percent off through April 3. You start the game by taking over your uncle’s computer-repair shop and his account balance of negative $15. It’s up to you to troubleshoot your clients’ PCs, order the parts they need, and replace the components. All of the GPUs, CPUs, and other parts are officially licensed, which I like a lot — except this game exists in a fantasy world where crypto-mining was outlawed because the prices aren’t all insane for a GTX 1060 or whatever.
The game part comes in the form of managing your finances. Once a month, you have to pay your utility bill and the rent. You can also overdraft your bank account up to $1,000 without incurring a fee. So, within those limits, it’s up to you to maximize each job to make as much as possible.
But attempting to maximize the profit from a job or trying to do it with maximum efficiency in terms of timing comes with risk. Clients all send their PCs to you overnight, so if you accept a job, you won’t get the PC to fix until the next day. The problem, as it is in real life, is that the emails rarely contain all of the relevant information. One client wants 1.5TB of storage so that they can
torrent movies back up their Blu-ray collection, but they don’t tell you how much storage they already have. So, maybe you go into the store and purchase three 500GB HDDs for $30 next-day delivery, and then, the PC shows up and already has 500GB inside of it. You just spent money you didn’t need to because you tried to guess.
Now, in that situation, which happened to me, I could’ve waited until I got the PC to order the parts to avoid overspending, but some jobs are time sensitive. So, you want to get in the habit of trying to predict what you’ll need to handle them as quickly as possible.
The good news is that having an extra 500GB hard drive in my inventory isn’t a terrible thing. Sometimes, a PC will come in without any info beyond “figure out what is wrong with my computer,” and you’ll end up needing a part that you already had in your system. I even started implementing used parts that I took out of other people’s machines to save even more money. That is potentially risky because it seems like those parts fail faster, but then, that just means repeat business, right?
Oh, God … I played this game for a couple of hours before turning into one of those shady auto mechanics that I hate.