The Steam Deck is One of the Best Purchases I’ve Made in Years

Being a Gamer Dad is Hard

As a new father and gamer, it has been a struggle lately to keep my hobbies. Whether there are things around the house that need fixed, the animals need tending, the constant attention my baby needs, or one of the other million things happening around the house, it has been hard to find a few minutes to myself. Before Mabel was born, I was hours into epic RPGs such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Since then, I haven’t been able to sit down for more than 15 minutes without interruption.

Not that I mind at all. I live to provide for my wife and daughter. However, there are days where I feel that need to get lost in an epic fantasy adventure, or sit down and play a few rounds of Spelunky 2. Not being able to have that outlet, that escape, is what really makes some days hard. That’s where the Steam Deck comes in – a monstrous beast of a handheld, this is a Nintendo Switch on steroids, both in price and specs. It ranges from $399 to $649 USD, and has the performance to run modern AAA games. Ever since I got one, I have been playing the hell out of it.

Pumpkin lights not included.

PC Games in your Palm

Booting up the Steam Deck gives a sense of freedom that the Switch just can’t compete with. I have about 600 games on my Steam account, and many of them are playable right from the Deck. Not only that, but this piece of tech is fast and can play games the Switch can dream about. I’ve been playing an indie game called Realms of Magic on the Deck, a game that has zero controller support. However, the Steam Deck is so adaptable that I was able to have an enjoyable gaming session. Another great example is RimWorld, one of my favorites, and it’s playable from anywhere. With official Deck support, mind you!

I can rant and rave about how powerful it is or how smooth games run on it, but what I really love is that it gave me my hobby back. After a long day at work and the baby is down for the night, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of my desktop to play games. Instead, I can lounge on our recliner, I can sit outside, I can lay in the bed or on the floor (like I’m doing right now), or I can watch TV with my wife while playing a few games. Even if I only have a few minutes, the Steam Deck has a instant-resume feature so I can get back into the action, and pause at the drop of a hat. I definitely recommend it for gamer parents!

RimWorld in the palm of my hand! Notice the crib in the background 😉

You Should Games Try These On Your Deck

Here are a few of the games that I’ve been playing on the Steam Deck:

  • Final Fantasy III Pixel Remaster
    This has been in my library for months and I haven’t had the chance to play it. It’s such a great “pick-up-and-go” title. This is a Steam Deck Verified game; it plays perfectly from the start menu to credits! I want to talk more about this game later.
  • Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster
    Same as above, however this title is marked as “Playable” because you need a keyboard to input the names of your party members. Luckily, the Steam Deck has a pop-up keyboard so it is a non-issue. Another awesome adventure for the Steam Deck.
  • Realms of Magic
    Realms of Magic has an “playable” status for the Steam Deck, and it doesn’t have any controller support. Seeing as you need the mouse for combat, this is a real test for the Steam Deck. Luckily, there are community made control layouts that work well for both combat, building, gathering, and navigating the menus.
  • RimWorld
    RimWorld is a Steam Deck Verified Game, and makes heavy use of the Steam Deck’s trackpads. To be honest, it’s a little cumbersome to play on the Deck for me. I’m sure it’s much easier once you spend some time playing this way, or if you customize the controls to your liking.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
    Being a UPlay game, I was a little nervous about installing it. However, there has been zero problems with the launcher and performance! I have the game on medium settings, and it runs at a solid 45 fps. I’m sure I can tweak it to 60, but I’m happy with how it looks and performs right now.
  • Graveyard Keeper
    My wife has been playing this. It runs much better than the Switch version, and she is enjoying it!
  • Spelunky 2
    A classic sequel to a classic game. Steam Deck Verified and running flawlessly. When joining online games with 3 others, the framerate is limited to 33 for some reason. Just something I noticed that is odd, and doesn’t happen on my desktop.
  • Valheim
    I never got the chance to dive into Valheim, but I’m happy it works so well on the Steam Deck! It’s marked as “Playable” but works pretty well. The framerate hovers around 50 for me with mixed settings, and the controls take a little to get used to, but this is very playable and fun to build in.
  • Green Hell
    I’ve had this game in my library for a long while but never played it. It’s a jungle survival game – really reminds me of The Forest but set in the Amazon. This game is marked as “unknown” but I’m happy to report it plays perfectly on the Deck.
  • New World
    It’s wild that New World runs so well on the Deck. It’s not a very optimized game in my experience, but it runs around 30fps in most situations on Low settings. It’s also marked as “playable” but requires an anti-cheat plugin from the Steam store to connect. The controls are a bit finnicky here, and it’s hard to get used to at first. I’m not very far in New World, so I can’t say what PVP is like. I’d say it’s best for gathering.

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