A Steam Deck Reignited My Love for Homebrew PCs

Build your own PC included with unique thrills. Sure, it can frustrate you like anything — there’s a reason it’s so much easier to buy a fully cooked PC than to buy homebrew. If you haven’t had the pleasure of assembling your own PC, it’s not as simple as throwing components in a tower, hooking them up, and starting it up. There can be a lot of compatibility issues that you haven’t even thought about, from your processor to your motherboard to your graphics card. Are you planning to overclock your processor? Does your system need liquid cooling? Could it even support liquid cooling?

I used to live this eccentric life. I want to sell components, swap out my graphics card for the best performance, stare at my monitor while flashing the BIOS and just hope for the best. My computer is an endless source of frustration, but also a lot of fun when I hold my breath, start everything and everything just have worked.

Honestly, it’s a way of life – a lifestyle I left behind over a decade ago. In the end, I decided that I prefer to play games with the console because it usually has nothing more to do with turning on the console. I’m tired of tinkering, trying to get things to work. I wanted simplicity, and I have not regretted it since. Honestly, I haven’t even missed it yet.

That is, until I got my hands on the Steam Deck. I’ve written about this amazing little technology quite a bit. When I first got it, I didn’t think I would experiment much with it. I’m just going to use Steam to catch up on some PC games that I missed.

But then I saw someone talk about how they managed to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate work on their Steam Deck. And let me tell you, it’s like a lighthouse in the night. That innocuous little post blew my mind. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was figure out how to get access to as many cross-platform-worthy games on my Steam Deck as possible.

I have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, thanks to my husband and I have a PlayStation 5. So I have to use Googling. I know nothing about Linux, but I knew nothing about Windows when I first started building my own PC and I succeeded.

Before I tell you how to do this (or at least, link to the sources that guided me because I Not tech-savvy enough to figure this out on your own), let me note with this: If you’re super particular about FPS, response times and graphics quality, or if latency in general driving you crazy, never mind this. Games will run, sure, but don’t expect super high quality or high frame rates. Honestly, I’m really shocked, I don’t have much of a problem, considering how experimental all of this is, but it’s also possible that my FrankenSteam could be crashing notifications momentarily. Alternatively, purchase a mouse and keyboard for your Deck. It makes this whole process a lot easier.

Setting up Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is simple because Microsoft provides live tutorials. It’s beta, of course, but it works fine for me even when I’m traveling and have a relatively slow internet connection. I played through most of it Star Wars: The Squad no noticeable lag or other issues.

PlayStation Remote Play is a bit more complicated, and it’s important to note that it doesn’t work outside of my local network. Here is a great tutorial from Reddit user mintcu7000. The only thing I’d add to this is make sure to run the Base64 account ID PSN script on your Deck and copy and paste it into Chiaki. (I tried to run it on my computer and type it in, and every time I got an error.) I played about four hours of it. Lost this way, and it works much better than streaming PS to my iPad (which is choppy, laggy and barely usable).

What struck me was how much I enjoyed the process – almost the end result. It’s great to be able to play most of my library of games on my Steam Deck, but it’s also gratifying to tinker with the back end of the system and just get it to work. There’s a sense of pride every time I use one of these features because I made it happen.

Now all I can think is I’ll figure out what’s next. Does anyone know how to play remotely into a Switch?

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