Not long ago I played Last Call BBS, a puzzle anthology that included a minigame about assembling model robot kits—using tools to snip them off the plastic sprues, then connecting, painting, and even stickering them. I get a sense of the same pleasant tactility watching the release trailer for Retro Gadgets, an upcoming game that will let you build your own videogame handheld, calculator, digital pet, or chiptune starter kit.
“Lose yourself as you build, solder, code, customise, and play with electrifying gadgets at your relaxing workbench”, says the Steam page description. “Build video game consoles, weather machines, lightboards, radios, drum machines… any gadget you can think of. What will you come up with next?”
If you can't think of what you'd like to build, Retro Gadgets will let you find projects other makers have shared via the Steam Workshop “Check out gadgets made by people all over the world”, it says. “Download any gadget, play with it, take it apart, see how it works, build your own version.”
I'm not much of a maker myself, and I leave it to others to do things like using a Raspberry Pi to make an all-in-one emulation box for playing classic console games. But pretending to be the kind of person who owns a soldering iron and wields it like a pro has a definite appeal. Turning that fantasy into a game is kind of like what PC Building Simulator does. Plus, it takes away the element of risk. You could even use Retro Gadgets to plan a build before going ahead with it in real life.
Retro Gadgets is being developed by Licorice ehf and Studio Evil, who plan to release it in early access, where it will stay for, “Ideally about one year, but this could change.” A demo will be available during Steam Next Fest, which runs from October 3 to October 10, and you can add it to your wishlist right now on Steam.