You can read all the manuals and watch hours of video, but nothing beats hands-on wrench-turning experience if you want to get better at understanding how your car works. But cars, tools, and workspaces are expensive. This video game Wrench, however, could make practical mechanical training much more accessible.
The concept seems pretty straightforward: You assemble and maintain virtual cars! One of the game’s developers, Alec Moody, introduced me to the concept via email and described the game more specifically as: “A super-detailed mechanic simulator focused on preparing and maintaining endurance race cars.”
You can check out some more clips of the game in action on Alec Moody’s YouTube channel.
Moody just minted the game trailer you see above, the game’s official press kit has a little more back-of-box info on what it’s all about:
“Wrench tasks players with repairing and maintaining race cars. Each component in Wrench is meticulously crafted- Parts down to each nut and bolt are faithfully reproduced in order to provide players with an accurate simulation. Wrench features common fastening tools (ratchets and impacts) and accurately simulates fastener torque, stretch, and breakage. Players use a growing selection of lubricants and chemicals to perform common tasks like oil changes or brake fluid flushes.”
You can play the game on a Windows PC or in virtual reality using motion controllers, the latter of which sound particularly interesting. Sadly, I don’t have any of that hardware so I won’t be able to play this game any time soon. But if you’re keen, you can check it out on Steam or the Oculus store for $19.99.
It’s out now as an “early access release,” which essentially means the developers plan to add a lot more content to the game. You can check up on the progress of said development on Wrench’s website. As of this writing, here’s what the game’s “development roadmap” looks like.
I’m elbows-deep in a very frustrating automotive project at the moment, so the idea of spending even more time wrenching on a car that’s not even real made me chuckle at first. However, upon further consideration, I realized this would be a much more relaxing way to learn my way around tools. And using it would mean I wouldn’t have to go into my dark and disgusting apartment complex garage!
Seems like a fun and educational tool. Based on the reviews that are up, it seems like a pretty successful execution, too. Drop some comments in if you’ve played this and have insights to share!