The Steam Deck is here!
And it has been released to a chorus of positive reviews, enabling gamers to play the latest releases in the palm of their hands. But how good is the Steam Deck for retro gaming?
For those that may not be in the know and find themselves asking, “What is a Steam Deck?”. Effectively, the Steam Deck is a mobile gaming pc for the cost of a low to mid tier laptop. It comes bundled with the newly developed Steam OS that connects directly to your steam account. As well as some nice little extras (which we’ll go into more detail on later).
“Effectively, the Steam Deck is a mobile gaming pc for the cost of a low to mid tier laptop”
The most important thing though is that after just 7 months since it was first announced, the Steam Deck is here. Gamers are already raving about the ability to play titles like God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn on the go. PC Mag has done a fantastic launch article that goes into finer detail on the specs of this exciting bit of kit. But what do you need to know as a retro gamer?
What is it like to hold?
Lets not beat about the bush, it is mammoth in size. Measuring at 29.8cm in length and 11.7cm in height, this thing is as long as a ruler. For perspective the classic Sega Game Gear was just 21cm by 11.3cm. However the Game Gear didn’t also have a 7 inch 720p HD screen and on board fans.
“unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck has a highly variable battery life.”
The rather bulky device weighs in at an impressive 670grams but it is effectively a gaming laptop in your hands. It is incredibly portable and handles a lot like the Nintendo Switch, which can only be a good thing. On the other hand, unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck has a highly variable battery life. Playing those newer releases will see the systems battery completely depleted with just 2 hours – so be warned.
How is the Steam Deck good for retro gaming?
The most exciting element of the Steam Deck is that it obviously comes with gamings most extensive library of official modern and retro games imagineable. We’re talking literal decades of gaming all available on one device. All for a fee of course.
Titles like Jet Set Radio, Z: Steel Soldiers and Sonic Adventure sit along side Call of Duty, Sekiro and Hitman. Giving you a device that can play pretty much anything mainstream. Please remember that this is a brand new release and will need some further updates to ensure compatibility.
More importantly, as the system sits on a core Linux base, it is simpler to update and will receive constant support. But that is not all.
The Steam Deck comes with popular emulators ready to install via the systems marketplace named Discover. Already available are:
- Dolphin (Gamecube and Wii)
- Duckstation (Playstation 1)
- PCSX2 (Playstation 2)
- bsnes (Super Nintendo)
- mGBA (Game Boy Advance)
And you can guarantee there will be more to come. As has already been said, it is an out of the box Linux machine – effectively anything already available can be installed on it!
“The Steam Deck comes with popular emulators ready to install”
The Steam Deck is certainly one of the most impressive new systems on the market. It has a lot of gamers excited and it looks like Valve has learnt from their past mistakes – anyone remember the Steam Hub? No? Not surprising really. Yet in the Steam Deck is a gaming PC that rivals any console available today.