Gabe Newell's Steamed Ham (my Steam Deck experience)
Mwu: Hey! Since writing this nico got its Steam Deck working, and now feels much more positive about it !
I really wanted to love the Steam Deck (or as I am going to probably accidentally call it many times in this post, the Steamed Ham, as I took to calling it through this experience). I really did. It was a relatively elegant, self-contained solution to wanting something to play PC games on that my thinkpad couldn’t handle. I wanted this post to be a review of the steam deck, diving into some of the technical aspects of the machine and how I felt about it after a thorough proper try. But sadly my steam deck adventure didn’t get that far. It barely got to the first level of portal.
I bought a 64gb steam deck right after Christmas, it took a while to arrive but that was expected given it was the holiday season. I excitedly got it out of the box, plugged it in, turned it on, and failed to connect to wifi. Then got through that and tried to launch a game. It didn’t launch. Tried a verified game. It didn’t launch. Tried Aperture Desk Job, the official pack in/test game (also borked). Then I tried to shut it down and it didn’t even shut down, rebooting instead(?). The buttons didn’t work all the time. It would freeze up and get stuck on things. It was a broken buggy mess. I was so disappointed in it that I actually broke down crying. So I contacted steam support.
Steam support were very helpful and after going through some software troubleshooting steps they sent me a return label, so I sent my deck off for a return. 2 weeks later, I got a replacement!
Things started well. Well, they started ok. I played through the entirety of aperture desk job, with only a little bit of suspicious Gyro aim weirdness. I played some other games for a little bit and the worked fine! So I put in my SD card only to get a mysterious “error 2” on trying to format it. Fine, it’s still a little janky, I formatted it in my PC. I then tried to download and play some other games, and the wifi was still fucked. The on screen keyboard would stop responding to keypresses randomly. The Gyro was weird and messy and not working properly in every game I tested.
It was broken.
At this point my feelings were something like:
NOOOO STEAMED HAM! PLEASE! STEAMED HAM! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DISAPPOINT ME LIKE THIS??? COME ON STEAMED HAM!!!!
After two failed attempts, I gave up. I asked for a refund.
I really wanted this to work out. It was, theoretically speaking, my perfect gaming device. But reality said otherwise.
So what do I have to say really? Nothing. Just wanted to vent. Valve need better QA. Props to support for being mostly cool though.
Well Gaben, you are an odd fellow, but I have to say: you steamed some bad hams.