Buying the best graphics cards is a big ask in the real world right now, but thankfully, there's still a way to build PCs with the best and rarest components in the meantime. And for a limited time, it's now completely free. PC Building Simulator, a game in which you can build your own dream PC in glorious cyberspace, is up for grabs at no cost on the Epic Games Store until October 14th.
Originally released at the beginning of 2019, PC Building Simulator is an exacting recreation of the sweaty art of building a PC. If this doesn’t sound like a great way to spend an afternoon, then the overwhelmingly positive online reviews might change your mind, as they tell stories of hours lost to the game, along with complaints about a lack of thermal paste and cables that are unrealistically thin.
What’s on offer is just the base game, but there's plenty of DLC available to round it out, including packs that add cases by Fractal Design, EVGA and Razer. There's also a whole expansion built around esports.
In the same way as the Truck Simulator, Farming Simulator and Train Sim games have built audiences for themselves by recreating people’s full-time jobs as entertainment, PC Building Simulator sees you inspecting customers’ PCs, ordering and fitting components and sending people away happy. It all happens in first person and, for once, its audience is perfectly placed to judge the accuracy of the simulation. Power on machines, and you may be greeted with a BSOD, requiring actual research before you set about the screws at the corners of a PC’s side panel to juggle components until it boots.
In fact, PC Building Simulator is so accurate it could be a great teaching tool for anyone wanting to start building their own rigs - far better, after all, to fry a CPU in virtual space than in reality.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.