A Console Gamer’s Journey with the Steam Deck: Chapter 1

My Steam Deck arrived mid-day on August 11th, 2022, after several months of hitting that pre-order button. As a console-only gamer since age twelve, the anticipation of experiencing Steam through a handheld device felt akin to exploring a whole new world in Marvel’s Multi-Verse. Before the Steam Deck, I have played on most Nintendo consoles and handhelds, the PlayStation 2, 4, and 5, and the Xbox Series X. I have never played games through Steam or anything of that ilk, and I never owned a gaming PC. It’s quite wild. While I understand the Steam Deck is a new venture for Value and still nothing like a true gaming PC, it was a little appetizer for a newbie like me.

My excitement was such that as soon as the FedEx guy dropped the package unceremoniously at my doorstep, I bolted to the box and ripped it open–all while I was on a work call. The first thing I immediately noticed was its size. There was significant heft, dwarfing the Nintendo Switch (don’t come at me, PC gamers–I know the specs within are different).

After charging my Steam Deck, I turned it on, and my awe and excitement drained from my face. The interface and controls reminded me that I was out of my comfort zone. There was the standard directional pad, dual joysticks, and A, B, X, and Y buttons, but there was also left and right track pads, and five L/R buttons. I fumbled around with typing on the virtual keyboard with the track pad, which I eventually got used to, but a slight panic trickled up my spine.

Did I go way over my head with this device?

I’ve learned now that I didn’t have the best first impressions with the Steam Deck, especially when the first games I played were online co-op with my partner. He was a PC gamer and insisted on playing co-op that same night. We attempted to play Gauntlet and A Way Out, and both times, my screen would freeze while the audio continued. He continued to play and asked why I was just standing there. I also noticed that whenever we launched co-op, both players had either his user name or my own. When he asked me to download another game, I noticed I hit my 64 GB limit quickly. I just could not afford the higher two tiers, which included the NVMe SSD feature. As a reminder, the 64 GB version sells at $399 while the 256 GB and 512 GB retails for $529 and $649 USD, respectively. I made a mental note to purchase an SD card later.

However, when I played my bread-and-butter, single-player games, everything ran smoothly. Granted, I only have tested out two indie games so far due to my 64 GB limitation–Life Slide and Moolander, but I have no complaints so far. It did boost my confidence a little because this is why I decided to purchase the Steam Deck, to play these indie games that are not available on PC. Steam did a wonderful job notating which games work well on the Steam Deck, and what issues you may encounter, if any. For example, a game may run well, but the text is super small.

Another goal of mine was to play my Game Pass games because, thanks to the Nintendo Switch, I now prefer to game in handheld mode. Yes, I would prefer to game on the Steam Deck instead of my Xbox, if possible. Installing Game Pass on the Steam Deck is still an obstacle I am working through. I perused through several sites and video walk-throughs, and my frustration bubbled inside once more. It’s possible, but it’s not easy feat for the average gamer–and ultimately I had to stop because I needed to enter a command with a keyboard. An actual keyboard (if someone knows how to pull up the virtual keyboard, be my guest and comment).

The first week with my Steam Deck has been a rollercoaster. None of my downs have much to do with its deficiencies, but rather, my complete and utter newness to a PC-like device. It’s amazing how accustomed I was to console gaming. I didn’t have to worry about compatibility. I didn’t have to worry about overriding anything to access Game Pass. I still like this chunk of hardware and won’t give up on it yet.

Stay tuned for chapter two!

Stephanie, aka the Madpharmacist, is a pharmacist by day and award-winning author at night! She is a copy editor for the Boss Rush website, co-host of the Boss Rush Podcast, and a regular contributor for After Dark, Standard Definition (Disney), and the EXP Cast. If that isn’t enough, Stephanie also writes for Another Zelda Podcast. She is an avid gamer when she finds the time–with Zelda, Ghost of Tsushima, and indie games as her go-tos.

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The Boss Rush Podcast

The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and The Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, LeRon, Stephanie, Edward, and their friends from around the internet come together to talk their week in games, entertainment, and more while also bringing topics for conversation, answer listener and community questions, and cover major news and events happening in the video game industry. Watch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT or on Friday mornings at 7AM ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening! You can also get this episode one week early on Patreon.

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Featured image courtesy of Steam Deck

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