You can get PC games out of your office and on to your couch, back patio, or anywhere with the help of Valve's steam deck. It's worth having around even if you just play it a few times a month for a few hours. I play the steam deck a few times a day for a short time.
It's the only reason I still play video games.
Since becoming a father, I have less time to play games, but I still enjoy them. Setting aside an hour to play a game felt impossible for my daughter for the first year of her life. I was able to use the Nintendo Switch's sleep mode in a short period of time. The baby is playing with a toy. I waited for her to go to sleep.
I was thinking about the steam deck while I was reading the story. The ability to quickly suspend and resume a game was something I had never experienced from PC gaming before, and it was promised by Valve. It is a standard quality of life feature on home consoles, but it can be hard to restart a game after putting a PC to sleep.
The feature worked when my steam deck arrived four months later. During my first day with the handheld, I casually picked it up for just 5 minutes every few hours. I wanted to finish Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order within two weeks.
I started playing games in the margins of my day with the help of the steam deck. Picking it up for a few random battles in Final Fantasy IV after the baby fell asleep on my chest, doing a deep space cargo run in Rebel galaxy Outlaw as I watched her nap on the baby monitor, or sneaking in a few puzzles in Baba is You before turning in for the night, I didn't think I'd have time to finish games.
The suspend trick can be used with non-Steam games and older titles. I finished the game I abandoned when I was 16 years old.
It's not to say I haven't played sessions on the deck. When thrown into suspend mode, online-only games like Final Fantasy XIV or Knockout City tend to distract the player, but I prefer to play them on a portable device. It is possible to beat the Deck's custom Ryzen 7 3700X with 64 gigabytes of RAM and a 980 graphics card. It runs games at higher resolution with better settings, but it doesn't use much power.
I enjoy having my library of PC games separate from my writing and video editing workspace. You can say that is what more powerful traditional game consoles are for, but the Deck is more portable. It's better to play games on the couch, in bed, or while rocking the baby to sleep than it is to have maxed out graphics settings. I don't know if I'll upgrade that graphics card. At today's prices, the steam deck is a far better value.
It turns out that not all of my games work well on steam deck, but that's a plus for me. I like to tinker with gadgets and settings. When I have to manually install a non-Steam game, which inevitably involves configuring alternative Wine compatibility layers, I enjoy the challenge more than the game. The games almost always work with the suspend and resume feature on steam OS.
The Steam Deck is a standard feature on most modern gaming devices, but I can't help but think it's silly to praise it. One feature can change things. Before the Steam Deck, playing a game from my PC library was a lot harder than it is now. It doesn't work when you only have minutes of free time. You can start to see the appeal of a gaming device you can take anywhere, one that lets you immediately stop and start a high-end PC game, if a crying baby calls you away from that hard-earned game session at a moment's notice.
Suspend and resume got off to a rough start on the PS4 and XBOX One. It is a feature that PC gaming has largely been missing out on. Until I really needed it, I didn't appreciate how much of a game change it was. The PC crowd has never had a package like the Steam Deck before. Being a portable system is more than enough. Being able to play games with a baby in my arms is priceless.