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    1. Two weeks with the Steam Deck

      I received my Steam Deck on June 6th and have used it literally every day since then. Here are some assorted thoughts that might be of value to people either waiting on theirs or on the fence...

      I received my Steam Deck on June 6th and have used it literally every day since then. Here are some assorted thoughts that might be of value to people either waiting on theirs or on the fence about ordering:

      The Good

      • I had no idea until I got it that there's an official Deck test game: Aperture Desk Job. It's essentially a cute test/tutorial for the Deck's controls, set in the Portal universe. Takes about half an hour, but it's a fun onboarding for the device.
      • On the past two Saturdays, I have woken up and played Vampire Survivors with one hand while I held my morning coffee in the other. This is the way.
      • The control remapping options are absolutely incredible. It is a very robust system. Even simple fixes (like putting A on a back paddle so I can play Vampire Survivors one-handed) can make a world of difference.
      • I haven't run many heavy games on it, but I started up Bugsnax, and it was keeping a solid 60 FPS and looked great.
      • Emulation on the device is a dream. I haven't done anything past OG PlayStation games yet, but the power of the device, the robust control customization, and the ease of installing emulators (adding Flatpaks in desktop mode) make this absolutely ideal for revisiting older consoles. I've spent probably 80% of my time on the device in PSOne games.
      • Battery life is fine, but I don't really use it. I bought a long power cord and spend most of the time with it plugged in on my couch since it has passthrough. I thought the cord sticking out the top of the device would bother me, but it hasn't really been an issue.
      • Game selection is increasing steadily (1700+ verified games currently). If you're buying it to play specific games you might be disappointed, as there's still a lot that doesn't work. If you're buying it for games in general though, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
      • The grips are MUCH more comfortable for bigger hands than standard Switch joycons. Those would always cramp my hands, but the Deck feels natural and comfortable.
      • The middle of the device gets warm to the touch during gameplay, especially on more demanding stuff, but the grips remain cool and you won't feel the heat at all unless you specifically move your hands to the back middle of the device.

      The Bad

      • The paddles on the back are a little awkward, and I accidentally click them more than I like. In most games they're not mapped to anything so it's fine, but in emulators I use them for save states. I had to set them to respond to long presses only so my accidental clicks didn't mess things up.
      • The software is... still getting there. I get navigation issues on store and profile pages frequently, along with frequent UI lag. It's a bit unpolished at the moment.
      • Don't know if it's specific to my hardware or a software bug, but sometimes it won't log me in to my Friends list and the only fix is a reboot.
      • I wish the control sticks had deeper indents for your thumbs. They're pretty flat, and my thumbs tend to slip off on stick-focused games (most noticeable on my right (aiming) thumb during 20 Minutes Till Dawn).
      • Bluetooth headphones have to be manually reconnected in the Settings menu each time. No idea why this is, but it's a bit of an inconvenience.
      • Mid-game suspending is still clunky. I don't really do it, as I don't trust that it'll save like it should. It also still counts playtime while suspended but seems to have a rollback feature? I put the device to sleep with a game open that I'd played for 20 minutes and came back to it saying I'd played it for 3 hours. The playtime ended up dropping back down to 20 minutes, but only after I restarted the device.

      The Ugly

      • There isn't any ugly. I absolutely love this device. Despite my nitpicks above, I think it's nothing short of splendid. I'm more excited about this than I've been about anything in videogaming in a long time.

      If anyone has any questions, ask away! Also if any other people here have their Steam Decks and want to chime in with their experiences (@Autoxidation), go for it!

      36 votes
    2. Tell your hopes and experiences with cloud gaming

      So I just upgraded to an M1 Mac Mini. I was a little iffy on it, part of me wanted to build a PC just to play games but I really like MacOS and I mostly play on PS5 and the Switch with the PC only...

      So I just upgraded to an M1 Mac Mini. I was a little iffy on it, part of me wanted to build a PC just to play games but I really like MacOS and I mostly play on PS5 and the Switch with the PC only being for indie titles and stuff that only works with a keyboard and mouse like RTS, 4x, or city builders. I just don't play PC games enough to prioritize gaming as a use case in buying a computer, but I also really like RTS and city builder games.

      I figured WINE and Parallels would meet most of my gaming needs but my forays into WINE have been frustrating and buggy, and this reddit thread about what works on Parallels is, frankly, just kind of sad to look at. What's worse, apparently the new Age of Empires has some kind of pathfinding instruction set that ONLY works with x86 architecture. So it won't work under any kind of virtualization or emulation.

      Enter Cloud gaming. It seems the big contenders right now are ShadowPC, GeForce Now, and Paperspace. Has anyone tried these? When I last costed these out Shadow was only around $15-$20 a month which was almost a no-brainer. But it seems to have gone up to $30 a month now, which gets costly enough to where it almost seems like I'd rather get a Steam Deck. Paperspace is like $10 per month plus another ~$1 per hour of play, which would probably end up cheapest for how little I play. But how it is in terms of configuration and latency I have no idea.

      7 votes
    3. Tildes Game Review Journal - October 2021

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Thanks to all who posted to or read last month's trial run of this topic. Let's try another month!


      This thread is for when you're done with a game and you want to give your finalized overview of it. Did you enjoy it? What did it do well? What were some of its frustrations? Would you recommend it to others? That sort of thing.

      For ease of readability, please bold the title for the game you're reviewing.

      Also, please mark all spoilers as well using the following formatting:

      <details>
      <summary>Spoilers</summary>
      
      Spoiler text goes here.
      </details>
      
      5 votes
    4. Tildes Game Review Journal - September 2021

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      I really enjoy reading through the weekly gaming threads where people talk about what they're currently playing. Those often give really interesting in-the-moment commentary, and I was thinking it might be nice to have a spot for more formalized "I'm finished with a game" thoughts and reflections.

      This thread is for when you're done with a game and you want to give your finalized overview of it. Did you enjoy it? What did it do well? What were some of its frustrations? Would you recommend it to others? That sort of thing.

      For ease of readability, please bold the title for the game you're reviewing.

      If this is something the community likes, I'm thinking it could be a recurring monthly thing. Consider this month's post a trial run to see whether this is a concept worth continuing.

      22 votes
    5. Beat Saber (and the Oculus Quest 2)

      The first time I saw beat saber was this gameplay video in 2018 and I immediately fell in love with it. I adored the concept and wanted to play it so badly. There's a VR arcade close to my place,...

      The first time I saw beat saber was this gameplay video in 2018 and I immediately fell in love with it. I adored the concept and wanted to play it so badly.

      There's a VR arcade close to my place, where I actually played Beat Saber for ~30 mins last year. Lots of fun! And last week, I bought and received an Oculus Quest 2 and finally played it by myself.

      First of all, god damn that is a good game. It's perfect at making you feel like you're naturally good at it, too. Or maybe I actually am. With only ~4 hours of played time I'm doing hard or expert on most new songs with faster song mode (+20% song speed). Which has this weird effect of making me feel like that's the natural pacing of the song… super, super weird when they are ones I already know, as now the version I know feels slowed down.

      The campaign felt short and a bit too easy, with one exception (1-hand expert $100 bills with max 4 misses… spent 2 days on that. Looks like I'm not the only one having problems with it). Though it's been frustrating in places; I find the whole "you need to make at least x mistakes to win this level" pretty ridiculous. Min/max movement is an interesting mechanic but I'm not fond of the execution.

      I have some frustrations with the game. No replays I can save to show off the most awesome combos. Hit detection feels way off on some levels. I haven't tried online mode yet, pretty excited about it.

      But god daaaaamn it's an awesome game. I'm finally playing something again! I haven't really played any video games since … shit, almost two years. And the workout you get is fantastic. I am finally getting a handle on my lockdown atrophy.

      Ben Brode once said: "Make your games super easy to get into. The longer it takes me to get into your gameplay, the less interested I will be in playing your game. Except for Beat Saber: I will jump through any hoop just to play that."

      And that brings me to the Oculus Quest 2. I was a 2020 original Oculus Rift kickstarter backer. I actually tried the first dev kit. A pretty awesome and unique feeling, but all that for shitty resolution, motion sickness and 4 cables hanging off your head.

      Well, it's all gone. Integrated audio, fully wireless, good resolution, no cables, no base station, no PC required. And the features just blow my mind. IR cameras to detect objects around you, the guardian mode with its virtual barriers, the pass-through mode which lets you see outside the oculus without removing it (killer feature). Casting support so it's easy to show your gameplay to friends in the same room. Oh and hand detection?! This is some Star Trek shit.

      I recall my reactions to touching and playing with the first iPhone: "Wow, this is game-changing." - Such is my reaction to the Oculus Quest 2. VR is now a console that is, frankly, cheaper and less intimidating than owning a playstation-type console or some such (after all, you need a TV for those). It's on the same level as the Nintendo Switch. I know a lot of people who are greatly intimidated by VR and this removes almost everything scary about it.

      Incremental progress is weird; sometimes you stop following the various upgrades in a field and suddenly you catch up and it's mind-blowing.

      The problem with the Quest 2 is still the lack of true killer games. Right now, I bought a $400 Beat Saber game… though, it's still worth it. Like Ben said: any hoop.

      (I also got The Room VR because I'm a sucker for these kinds of games and it came highly recommended)

      17 votes