Valve’s Steam Deck is a video gaming system built for enthusiastic parents.

Last Sunday, I laid my two-year-old kid asleep for a nap, sat down on an office computer, and played the sublime new game Elden Ring. It took about 10 minutes for her daughter to start screaming to get out of the crib. This will ruin the shots in the game of the day.

Or is it? Valve Corp has been tested for the past few weeks. Using Steam Deck, a new portable video game system from, I was able to move with her to the living room and resume where the game was interrupted. The Elden Ring didn’t look good and the frame rate wasn’t as stable as a desktop PC, but portability was worth the compromise.

Players like me are the target audience for this new hardware from Valve, the best-known privately owned company that runs Steam, the largest online store for computer games. The Steam Deck looks like a super-sized Nintendo Switch and is offered at a super-sized price of $ 399 (US). A version with a solid state drive with a decent amount of storage costs $ 529 or $ 649. This device allows players to enjoy Steam games on the go. But unlike the Switch, which runs on Nintendo’s own operating system and can only play games approved by Nintendo, Steam Deck is an open garden that can do almost anything you can play on your computer.

The Steam deck consists of a small screen with a joystick, buttons, and two trackpads that act like a computer mouse on the side. We run many Steam games effectively and improve compatibility every day. Like the Sony Group’s 2018 jewel God of War, it feels like a mid-range PC capable of running games with rugged graphics at a stable speed of 30 frames per second. The low-impact games I tested ran perfectly, from acclaimed platformers like Hollow Knight to niche role-playing games like Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. You can download the game directly to your device’s hard drive or stream it from another computer.

Despite its weight, the machine is surprisingly comfortable. It has a wealth of controls, including a back button, and almost everything is customizable. Also, in an era where many office workers are limiting or eliminating commuting, portable games may not be that important, but Steam Deck is ideal for us with small children who need to be on the move all the time. am. The ability to save game progress in the cloud allowed us to switch between desktop PCs and portable machines without losing an inch of progress.

It is flawed in several respects. Battery life is very inconsistent. It was especially noticeable in the God of War. In the meantime, I was able to get about an hour and a half of unplugged play time. Some titles can be difficult to prevent at all. Early testing suggests that this is a platform for computer-savvy gamers, taking full advantage of its open operating system and customizable nature. Those who just want to dive into the game and play may be disappointed that things may not work as intended. During the weeks of using the system, Valve released new updates and fixes almost every day, so the machine could be more stable weeks to months after its release.

However, for certain player groups, its openness is part of its appeal. In the coming months, you’ll see a YouTube video full of tips for getting almost anything running on this machine, from retro emulators to Microsoft Excel. On Thursday, the day before the Steam deck’s debut, Valve designer Lawrence Yang sent a list of updates, including a one-click installation of the Google Chrome browser.

Whenever a new game comes out in the last few years, the following are common refrains among gamers: Indie developers are often hit by requests to bring their titles to Nintendo’s machines. Steam decks can make that question unnecessary for many. Valve’s machine may not be able to keep Nintendo executives at night (Steam Deck doesn’t have Mario or Zelda), but thanks to its comfort and portability, it’s a more legitimate competitive pose than any other attempt. Is approaching. And our people with small children may benefit the most.

Valve’s Steam Deck is a video gaming system built for enthusiastic parents.

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