How I Finally Fell In Love With The Steam Deck

  • 15-05-2024 |
  • João Almeida

Hades 2 made me buy another Steam Deck. This time it was the OLED model, and it seems my theory that a prettier screen would turn me around on the handheld was pretty accurate. Since it arrived last week, I have installed loads of games, got cloud streaming for Xbox and PlayStation working, and poured dozens of hours into the machine. I’ve finally seen the light, and my attitude to PC gaming has shifted forever. It’s basically a Nintendo Switch, but where the ports of certain games don’t run and look like absolute garbage, which is already a massive win in my book. But of all the games that could showcase the power of the Steam Deck, the last one I expected was Crash Bandicoot.

Why Did I Change My Mind About The Steam Deck?

The N.Sane Trilogy is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, but all three console versions run at a locked 30 frames per second. While it can reach a max resolution of 4K on a few select platforms, the fact a precision platformer like this doesn’t take advantage of increased performance isn’t a good thing. The framerate is unlocked on the Steam Deck, however, and I didn’t expect it to take full advantage of the screen’s refresh rate while still looking pretty damn good, too.

I proceeded to boot up games like Spyro, Fallout 4, Prey, Hi-Fi Rush, Cocoon and countless others which looked and felt great to play on the 1200x800 display, because they were working in the confines of technological restraints that weren’t trying to do everything, but still more than enough to make the Steam Deck one of the best portable platforms I’ve used.

It’s this new perspective that changed everything I thought about the Steam Deck, fully altering my perception into one of admiration and curiosity, instead of believing it wasn’t good enough with its specs, battery life, or display. The latter is now spectacular for a start, while learning to live with how things run and how long they last before needing a charge is pretty easy.

A New Home for a Big Library

Steam Deck photography

The Switch has always felt like a home for Nintendo exclusives, while on occasion I’d peruse an indie title or two before opting for PlayStation or Xbox versions I knew would look and run better. Not to mention achievements and trophies, two components of these ecosystems I’m already invested in after decades of use. Nintendo doesn’t have that, and when you factor in all of the technical shortcomings, the Steam Deck now feels like the obvious choice for a big library I’m now on the precipice of rediscovering.

What Does The Future Of The Steam Deck Look Like?

Valve has confirmed that a successor to the Steam Deck won’t be coming for a long time, as it won’t pull the trigger on a new console until the technology has reached the right point. It’s a company that is willing to take its time, and would much rather curate and improve what it already has than abandon it for something new. That’s why the OLED was released with hardly any fanfare with the same price point and far more improvements under the hood than we’d expect from a console that was pushed out with little more than a press release.

I can see the Deck becoming a regular part of my gaming repertoire, changing what games I play on which platforms and how I treat visuals and performance in the portable space. This is not meant to be a beefy gaming PC in the palm of my hands, nor a Nintendo Switch, but something squarely in the middle that supports the majority of my existing library while also inviting me to try whatever new games might catch my eye. Instead of failing to see what all the fuss is about, I’m now all over the Steam Deck, and who knows what the future holds?