Indie Corner Episode 16: Old and New
Previous Indie Corner Episode 15: Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!
I hope everyone is keeping okay! I’ve owned my Steam Deck for about a month now. It’ll be over a month by the time this article goes live. While it’s not a perfect device, by all means, I’m impressed by Valve’s first serious attempt at breaking into the handheld PC market. It still needs some work, especially with the software, and I wish the touchscreen was a lot better than it currently is, but I love it and it’s worth the money.
In my previous article on the Steam Deck, I used the time to chat about games I’ve been trying out. While that is still the point of this series, I also wish to discuss my journey with my gaming handheld collection, and why the Steam Deck is the perfect example of why I enjoy them so much. I’ll discuss games of course! That’s largely the point of owning one, after all!
One of the things I’m pretty well known for in my circle is my obsession with these devices. It’s a harmless hobby, I swear! I think my collection stands at seventeen now, although I will sell off a few of my spares to free up some space. I don’t need to own three Nintendo Switches, for starters. I really should think about selling off the Lite at some point…
There is a great mix of devices available for every purpose. Most of them are for emulation needs, which of course leads to a gray area of discussion that I won’t cover today. There are plenty of first-party handhelds like the Nintendo Switch, the 3DS library, Nintendo Ds Lite, and the Sony PS Vita. There are quirkier devices such as the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, the GPD XD lineup, and weird gaming phones like the Moqi i7s which I own. Out of all of these, I use the Moqi i7s the most by far. It has an incredible screen, solid overall performance, and excellent battery life. I’ve been meaning to cover gaming handhelds on the website at some point, perhaps that could be a new thing!
Windows gaming handhelds or devices capable of PC gaming have been growing in popularity for years. It’s easy to see the appeal, right? Sitting on a train or plane and playing something like Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption 2, or Elden Ring on the go is a great talking point! It started off with the quirky and wonky GPD Win lineup, as well as the Aya Neo and OneXplayer families. Valve’s Steam Deck has blown this market wide open with its balance of performance and price. With an average price of half that of its direct competitors, it’s easy to see why they are so popular.
A month later, I’m loving this thing! While I’ve had a couple of minor criticisms regarding the battery life of the Steam Deck and its software still in its infancy, I’m impressed by the device. I own the GPD Win 1 and the GPD Win 2 as my other windows handhelds, and the Steam Deck easily beats them. I still have a soft spot for these two little things, however. The GPD Win 2 for instance is still the most powerful handheld in its form factor and has plenty of tricks even to this day. One day, I hope we’ll get a refreshed device in the same design at some point.
I picked up a 512GB Micro SD card during Amazon’s Prime Day sale for an excellent price, so I have plenty of storage to test out new games. Coupled with the 256GB SSD storage, that’s more than enough for me, though I’ve seen people kit out their Steam Deck with 1TB or more storage.
Right now, I have over fifty games installed on my Steam Deck, a nice mix of bigger titles, indies, and more obscure titles which are untested. This is one of the things I enjoy most about the Deck. It encourages me to play more games I either don’t feel like trying out on my laptop or prefer using a controller. While I’m uncertain whether I’ll take the Steam Deck out for long journeys, I’ve found a great time to use it during the early afternoon after a walk, or during the evening. To prevent my eyes from suffering from excessive strain from being on the laptop, I usually come off it during the evening to rest them; the Steam Deck doesn’t give me anywhere near the level of eye strain, so if I fancy an hour of gaming, that’s a nice way to play it lying on the bed.
One example of a game I didn’t play much on my laptop but I do on the Steam Deck is Day’s Gone. I wasn’t able to pick up the game during its original release on the Playstation. Initially, I wasn’t all too impressed when I first heard of it. A big, Ubisoft-Esque open-world game about a zombie apocalypse? How creative! I also do not own a PS4 or PS5 so I wasn’t able to play it at launch. Fortunately, it seems Sony is providing us poor PC folks with more of their games, so Day’s Gone came out on the PC last year and I picked it up after Christmas.
It’s well optimized, runs well even on middling specs and it’s pretty enjoyable to play, but as always for my laptop, it runs rather hot and I get a bit paranoid about my laptop heating up. In the height of summer heatwaves where I wish I could just remove my skin, that’s something I want to limit if I can. The more I played Day’s Gone, the more I enjoyed it. The story and characters are surprisingly well written for a zombie game, and I enjoyed the gameplay even if it struggled with open-world bloat at times. I’m not too far into the game, but I’ve put several hours into it on the Steam Deck and find it a solid experience.
Having plenty of settings options helps a lot. While the Steam Deck has plenty of power, it’ll come with poor battery life if you just max out all settings. To give me a balanced experience, I decided to keep things in the lower settings. With all of that, you can get around three and a half hours of battery life playing Day’s Gone on the Steam Deck while maintaining a decent framerate.
What games are next for me on the Steam Deck? Right now I’ve been enjoying Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga. While I’ve never been a big fan of the Star Wars series, I enjoy the Lego games a lot, and Skywalker Saga is a wonderful, content-packed romp that is perfect for the Steam Deck. It runs great, feels solid to play and the battery life is fairly good to boot. I’ve also been playing Coromon; a twist on Pokemon by some fans of the juggernaut, and so far it’s been a nice experience if a little too heavy-handed on the puzzles.
That’s all for today! I hope to be back some point soon. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and mental health comes first <3