I don’t know if you know this, but there are a lot of video games, more than any one person could ever feasibly play. Even just getting through about half of all of the Castlevania games ever made will take at least a good few months to plow through, and that’s without getting into life’s other distractions, like movies, shows, books, and arguing with strangers online. Trying to get through a gaming backlog is like climbing up Mount Everest with Crocs on in the middle of an avalanche.
That’s why I found myself so drawn to the Steam Deck, Valve’s girthy handheld that lets you take a lot of your Steam library on the go with you. The Switch has been a mainstay of my handheld routine for the last five years, but it’s starting to feel a little long in the tooth when you pick it up after playing on more contemporary tech. Plus, the Steam Deck has achievements — I am a monkey, give me that dopamine rush. After putting myself on the waiting list for them to call my bingo number (or however Valve’s system worked), I was excited to finally get my hands on the Steam Deck and start ticking off my frankly farcical backlog of Steam games.
That backlog is so farcical because while I love PC gaming, I don’t love being sat at my PC. My job requires sitting at a desk for up to 50 hours a week, which is not the best thing for your body, doubly so when you start to feel the sands of time trickling away as I so vividly do these days. The first thing I want to do when I finish working is to get away from the desk, so unless the genre is best experienced with a mouse and keyboard or if it’s only available on PC, I spend most of my time playing console games.
The Steam Deck has already changed that. I’ve been playing PC games that I never would be able to from the comfort of my couch pretty much whenever I get a spare moment, games ranging from the wonderfully outdated Murder House to Jurassic World Evolution to even the upcoming Rollerdrome flawlessly. I’ve even managed to belatedly finish Metal Gear Rising at an absolutely crisp 60fps, while also finding time to re-evaluate DmC: Devil May Cry (it’s good, by the way) and play one of the many roguelikes that have cropped up in my library over the years.
There are so many bundle games that I can now feasibly play after years of them just sitting in my library, basically numbers to hypothetically impress nobody. There’s no longer the guilt that comes with adding more layers to my pile of shame, as I know that, even if just briefly try some of them out, I can play most of the games I buy on the cheap with very little fuss. Even a lot of the games that aren’t verified work remarkably well on the Deck, such as State of Decay 2, a game that’s supposed to be unsupported but works completely fine almost directly out of the box. It’s even wilder that it’s a one-time Xbox exclusive now in the palm of my hands.
The Steam Deck feels like the best place to play the same kind of games that excel on Switch, but it’s difficult to undersell just how powerful it actually is in comparison to Nintendo’s hybrid, and just how many extra doors it opens. Massive blockbusters like Metal Gear Solid V, Hitman, Devil May Cry V, and DOOM Eternal are just a few of the big names in my library that I can now play on the go, while players can also try out Halo Infinite while they did with another kind of ring on the toilet, as long as they don’t mind some tinkering.
While perhaps just a bit too heavy (it’s basically a handheld PC, after all), there’s no denying just how impressive the Steam Deck is, and how much it’s changed my outlook on PC gaming in general. I’m obviously not going to get through all 600 games in my library, but at least with the Deck I have a higher chance of actually getting through the ten Yakuza games I’ve put off playing for far too long. I hear they’re pretty good.
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