Valve Steam Deck

For much of my life, I had been a strictly console-based video-game enthusiast. This was mostly due to convenience; I didn’t grow up in a household that even had a PC, let alone one that would run PC games. Heck, I didn’t really start using a computer in my everyday life until I was about 25 and it became a necessity for my job. So the idea of using one for frivolity, or even being able to afford to do so, seemed like a pipe dream in a distant galaxy.

I did play a few mostly non-taxing games on a laptop I had, which I previously used solely for music production, another hobby of mine. But it just didn’t compare to the power or comfort and ease of use of my PS4 Pro, which was still where I did most of my gaming. Again, convenience.

But my partner and I decided sometime in 2019 to pool some money, buy some components, and build a PC. Of course, she did most of the work, even following my intentions to play the console version of PC Building Simulator for tips and pointers, as well as to basically familiarize herself with the basic terminology. I did a little research as far as where to source the components, but she really took the bull by the horns on this project.

PC Building Simulator

And once the PC was built and we finally figured out how to install Windows, I downloaded Steam and began my adventure into PC gaming. I had been nabbing free games this whole time from The Epic Game Store, as well as through my Twitch and Amazon accounts. I had also been buying games across Steam, Epic, and GoG in anticipation for this eventuality, so I had a solid library right out the gate. Of course, having a video-game-buying addiction as I did, I also justified the purchase of a number of other games with this newly minted ability to play larger or more taxing PC games. My partner even indulged my habit by gifting me an Azeron controller, which went a long way toward my enjoyment of PC gaming, at least initially.

For you see, as much as I enjoyed playing PC games on our new PC — which ran like a dream, mind you — I still could not acclimate to using a mouse and keyboard. Say what you will about the pinpoint precision of a mouse; using WASD for character movement sucks, period. So even though I had made it to the top of the mountain, I was still far from Xanadu, mostly hampered by the sheer number of games that didn’t have two magic words listed in their descriptions: “Controller Support.”

I was baffled by the lack of controller support in this day and age, with the Epic launcher seemingly the biggest culprit in this crime against humanity. But even on Steam, I encountered games that had console ports that didn’t support controllers in their PC versions. And yes, I could simply map the controller myself (although that’s not an option in every case), or download a user-created profile if one existed, but this was all just more fuel on what was slowly becoming a personal dumpster fire.

A rat burning Cyberpunk 2077

Add to all of this the pain of having to actually play a game on my PC (or later, my gaming laptop), locked to a desk (because of the limitations of our setup), lurched over like a mongrel just to play a handful of games that weren’t available on consoles. Slowly, I just receded back down from my proverbial mountaintop and fell back into the more favorable groove of console gaming. That is, until I finally got my hands on a Steam Deck a couple of weeks ago, which literally changed the game.

The Steam Deck is nothing less than a marvel, basically everything I hoped the Switch would be but ultimately wasn’t. I know other similar products exist, but having a handheld gaming PC that acts like a video-game console from the PC storefront industry leader? Well, that just sealed the deal for me. And considering the vast number of games that are optimized to run on the Deck, with more being added on a regular basis and even more that have not been tested but run perfectly fine, I finally feel like I have reached peak levels of PC gaming Nirvana.

So now when I search for a game on Steam, I no longer look for those golden two words, “Controller Support,” but instead a new two-word gumbo of greatness: “Deck Verified.” So much so that I will probably hesitate or even outright opt out of purchasing a game if I don’t see that beautiful, comforting checkmark in a green circle; shorthand for “You’d better believe this thing runs perfect on that gorgeous little Deck of yours.”

Steam Deck Verified

In fact, I have even bought Steam copies of games I already own, just to experience them in the palm of my hand. And it’s almost solely because of the sweet, sweet word combo: “Deck Verified.”

So this is my suggestion to Steam: kept those verified titles coming. And not only that, but work with developers and publishers alike to get more stuff verified right out the gate. “Deck Verified” might become a major selling point for PC titles going forward, especially as more people like me — the console-converted — start to fill the ranks of the Steam Deck Army.

But even if this doesn’t become an industry norm, seeing as how the community has been putting in the work to offer Deck-supported controller configurations, which are incredibly easy to access and download on the Deck, there might be a Steam Deck stew a-brewin’ on the horizon, the likes of which the world has never seen.

“Deck Verified?” More like “Purchase Certified!”

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