Valve made a bite-sized new Portal game for the Steam Deck

I just posted a 4,000-word review of Valve’s Steam Deck portable gaming PC, which went on sale today to the first batch of early adopters. But the company also had a surprising announcement – Aperture Desk Job, a new bite-sized experience set in the Portal universe and available to download for free on March 1. It’s designed to introduce new Steam Deck buyers to the handheld’s incredible array of controls, and it includes… toilets and seats.

Assuming you’re not halfway through the video teaser atop this post, here’s how Valve is trying to thread the needle between our unbridled desire for Valve to remember how to count to three and the potential disappointment that Valve hasn’t succeeded in that feat yet:

Aperture Desk Job rediscovers the already-done-that genre of walking simulators and places them in the lightning-fast, endorphin-packed world of sitting still behind things.

You play as a novice on their first day of work – your heart full of hopes and your legs full of dreams, eager to climb that corporate ladder. But life has other plans, and they all have to do with chairs.

Designed as a free-to-play shorthand for Valve’s new Steam Deck, Desk Job walks you through the handheld’s controls and functions while not being nearly as boring as it sounds.

Not Portal 3

Lower your expectations: This is not a sequel to Portal. Now get ready to level them up a bit because it’s in the vast universe of those games.

It looks fun! But it surprised me for two reasons:

  1. Valve never said a word about it.
  2. Valve explicitly told reporters it wouldn’t do such a thing.

In an exclusive interview Edge Magazine asked Valve founder Gabe Newell if his company ever considered developing a “custom” game to “demonstrate hardware capabilities” that would launch alongside the deck, as Valve did. with The Lab or other experiences in VR.

Gaben reportedly said:

Yes. I mean, we’ve looked at it – it’s just a matter of resources and time. We decided to devote more of our resources to our existing games like Dota and Counter-Strike and come up with ways to make them better on this device. We just felt like that was more bang for the buck than building some sort of gamelet.

Yet the gamelet exists!

Valve also suggested to me in August that they wouldn’t make games exclusively for handheld devices like they made Half-Life: Alyx exclusively for VR, and wrote in a FAQ that the idea of ​​Steam Deck exclusives “doesn’t make much sense to us.”

But maybe it’s not exclusive. Anyway, I’m definitely not going to look a gift Portal experience in the mouth.

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