Valve’s new Steam Deck game is playable without a Steam Deck

Valve didn’t just start shipping steam deck this week (some even directed by Gabe Newell himself). He also released a game to teach you how to use the Steam Deck controls. It’s a short game that can be played for 30 minutes, and here’s two good news: it’s great, and you don’t even need a Steam Deck to play it. Aperture Desktop is now available on Steam for free, and as long as you have a controller, you can play it right on your desktop. And you should! Even though this is just a tutorial on how Steam Deck sticks and buttons work, it’s full of jokes, references, explosions, and most importantly, new Aperture Science lore.

As a new employee at Aperture Science, you must test toilets. That’s all—just toilets. You will be introduced to the basics by a chatty personality named Grady, voiced by one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Nate Bargatze, who openly admits that you have the worst job at Aperture. Pressing the buttons fills the toilet tank with water, tests the strength of the seat structure with a cushion, sprinkles a festive bidet-like fountain, and flushes the water away. That’s all you need to do. Test toilets. In sequence. Get to work.

But this isn’t your standard toilet factory; this is Aperture’s ultra-dangerous science lab where things can go wrong quickly. And they do. A small accident involving Grady, a malfunctioning toilet, and a pipe full of live ammunition leads to a great idea for a new Aperture product: a gun toilet. Grady wants to develop this idea and present it to Cave Johnson, the founder of Aperture, and you have more than four buttons on your controller, so you can use them. And you can definitely trust Grady! When has Aperture’s personality core ever harmed you?

Even at just 30 minutes, Aperture Desk Job has plenty of laughs, plenty of action (your toilets aren’t the only weaponized devices in the building), a quirky plot involving praying mantises, a surprising amount of callback jokes, and no jokes. A small amount of Aperture Science knowledge to absorb while you bring your new invention to the boss’s office. It’s fun to fiddle, too – when I was prompted to press a certain button, I didn’t, which resulted in a lot of lines from Grady that I would have otherwise missed.

Now, if Valve really made Portal 3, maybe we could get a game with the same humor and fun that lasts over half an hour.

 

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