I’ve always been a PC gamer, since I was five or six years old, playing tentacle day in ScummVM on my grandparents’ computer. I sometimes played PlayStation 2 or even Nintendo Wii a few years after it came out, but games like Gate, team fortress 2, and even Minecraft were what got me back to my PC. This is where my favorite games were, and the ability to play with mods was something I couldn’t find anywhere else.
However, over the years I found myself only playing one or two games with my time. I would play games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but I would spend my waking hours elsewhere. I didn’t want to sit in front of my computer all day, especially since my computer is also where I work. However, with an ever-growing backlog of games, I found myself in a situation where I had games I wanted to play but could never quite find the time or energy to do so.
Thanks to free access to the Steam Deck, however, I was able to play games I had been thinking about for years. Rather than sitting in front of my PC even after I’m done working, I can roam elsewhere with my Steam Deck and bring the games I want to play with me. I can lie in my bed, on the sofa or take a train to Dublin and play games like half life. It even gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my girlfriend, who likes to watch a lot of the games I play.
Valve’s first portable gaming PC, the Steam Deck is one of the hottest devices of 2022 with a huge library of games to play on it
About this editorial: I bought the Steam Deck for myself when pre-orders opened. Valve had no influence on the content of this editorial.
Valve’s Steam Deck fixes an issue many gamers are having
I feel like my experience with the Steam Deck is not unique. I have 203 games in my Steam library, including games I’ve wanted to access for years – like Portal 2 Where Half Life 2 — but I didn’t want to spend my free time in front of my computer (unless I was playing multiplayer games like Counter-Strike or VALORANTS with friends). After getting the Steam Deck, I beat Portal 2 in just a few days. While only 46 games in my library are Deck Verified at the time of this writing, many more are still running without any modifications, so there are plenty of options to continue in my backlog.
Where it gets even better is the modding potential. Valve’s Steam Deck is, at its core, a Linux-based laptop that uses Proton, a compatibility layer that helps it run Windows games. There’s a desktop mode where you can install programs as you please, and you can settle in with great projects like EmuDeck to emulate some of your favorite consoles from the past. These aren’t old consoles either: you can even play some PS3 games on the Steam Deck. I can also play the free games I get from Epic Gamesbecause the heroic game launcher works with Proton.
Essentially, the Steam Deck completely changed some of the games I play and the way I played them. We’ve all heard the stereotype of the PC gamer with hundreds of games in their library who never plays any of them. That was me, and the Steam Deck gives me the ability to finally break into that.
The Future of Steam Deck
I love my Steam Deck, but Valve could definitely make it an even better device. For starters, the specs it has far outweigh its own weight. It uses an integrated AMD APU for graphics, packs 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. It can run quite hot and noisy, and the battery won’t last very long with the most intensive games. I can play a game like GTA V on the go, but it says I’ll only get about two hours of battery life.
The Steam Deck needs a better screen and a more energy-efficient chipset. However, it’s hard to strike a balance between power efficiency and real-world performance, and I don’t have many complaints about what it’s currently capable of. Apart from that, I would also like to see the company build a device with better ergonomics. Those with small hands, like me, may have issues with certain games. I gave a friend my Steam Deck to use, and she had a hard time with it wonderit is Spider-Man Remastered because she had smaller hands.
The other issue I have is the button placement. I often slip on the touchpads when playing games, and for games that actually use the touchpads in-game, this can cause conflicting inputs. left for dead 2 uses these touchpads to quickly access certain equipped items, and I keep swiping on them when moving around with the left thumbstick. That’s okay as it doesn’t confirm the input until I click on it, but I can see it causing issues in other games.
Even still, I’m really glad I chose the Steam Deck. I’m exploring titles in my library that I’ve never had before, and enjoying games that I’ve wanted for years and never found the time to make. The Steam Deck has changed the way I play games, and being able to play AAA titles on the go is something I’ve never experienced, not even with my Nintendo Switch. The valve is release frequently with updates for the Steam Deck and adding features people have been asking for, like custom boot animations and more. There’s a lot to like about this little device, and I’m glad I bought one.