Video Game Journal – March 15 2023

It’s been a hard run health-wise this week. Nothing serious overall, but it’s been knocking us around for an extended period. The best description I can give you is a really bad sinus cold, with all the pros and cons that entails.

Coughing fits, vertigo, nausea – none of which helps make a comfortable gaming experience. VR was out, as was finishing the Dead Space Impossible run. But I did start messing with the Steam Deck again, as shown by the Board Game Journal this week.

So while I only played one ‘video game’, I did mess with the Steam Deck some more. So while not a full review (still, sorry, I keep branching in my thoughts), I thought I would share some thoughts on the Steam Deck this week.

Steam Deck General Thoughts

What can I say about the Steam Deck that hasn’t been said already? It’s a PC in the form factor of the Nintendo Switch. Seriously, I love the hardware, but there is only one thing that gets to me when I hear reviews and others talking about it. That is the learning curve to the device that some users just won’t see coming.

20230315 - March 15 2023 - The Steam Deck - A great little gaming tool
The Steam Deck – a great gaming tool

I have been going to write up my thoughts and experiences with the Steam Deck so far, but they keep flipping. Not in my love of the system – it makes so many things easier and portable with little effort.

Well, except when it doesn’t. The Steam Deck isn’t a console, it is a PC. Valve hasn’t hidden this fact, but many people seem to misunderstand what this means. For games that are verified by Valve to play on Steam Deck, the experience is almost always great. They even made Elden Ring on Steam Deck run better than on PC by ‘fixing’ that shader cache.

When Valve and/or developers step in and optimise the experience on the Steam Deck, gaming is a great experience. But when this hasn’t happened yet, that means troubleshooting just like a problem with any PC. The issue here is the Steam Deck isn’t running on Windows and has a lot of different levels of compatibility. Where could the problem actually be?

When I first grabbed the Steam Deck, I tried putting on some of my GoG games, Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. There were many, many issues playing both.

If I had the Steam version of both games, a lot of work has already happened by Valve to get them running. Downloading via the Steam Launcher forces these settings for you, meaning it ‘just works’.

20230315 - March 15 2023 - Re6 Benchmark - Preloading shader cache stops dips in performance like this
Yes it’s the Resident Evil 6 benchmark, but those big dips are where the shader cache needs to be built, hurting performance

Now I could make similar changes and force different things with Proton and Command Line options, but I don’t want to do that. I want to play my game. By installing outside of the Steam Launcher, I agreed to take on the tweaking myself.

This is the agreement rarely spoken about between Valve and gamers. If you want to put your own software on the Steam Deck, they won’t stop you. But they won’t help you with your installation either. If you want to go outside of their ecosystem, you are responsible for the performance.

I think this is great. There is a massive community to help people play their games outside of Steam. The hardware is pretty open to you. They even let you just install Windows on the Steam Deck! Yes, you lose some benefits, but if you want to do that, you can.

20230315 - March 15 2023 - Windows on Steam Deck
Want to install another operating system or any other software? You can!
IMAGE SOURCE: Tom’s Hardware (

Remember when PlayStation let you run straight Linux on your PlayStation 3? Remember how that got killed halfway through the console’s lifespan? This is where Valve is straddling a line, but I think they are doing it well.

I have found a new quirk to look out for. I installed Resident Evil 1 Remake (yes, the game was remade in 2002 – the game many calls ‘the original’ is a remake!) on the Steam Deck. It shows as Steam Deck Verified, and I have been meaning to go back and play it for ages.

Except there is a small gripe. I can’t play videos. The introduction video is a test screen. The game runs great, but the video cutscenes – not so much.

20230315 - March 15 2023 - Re1 remake - missing codecs
Game breaking? No. Immersion breaking? Absolutely!

A little digging points to Proton not having video codecs to play the video. This is what confuses me. If a game is listed only as ‘playable’ for small text, wouldn’t missing cutscenes also stop a game from being considered ‘verified’?

The Steam Deck is amazing and is great for many gamers. The only thing you need to keep in mind is there is still a lot of ‘testing’ involved with games running on it, even a year later.

On top of all this Steam setting experimentation, I have more to go. This includes playing with GE Proton, a branch of Proton that includes some video drivers. I have also installed CryoUtilities, a series of small tweaks that improve the feel of the deck.

Then over and beyond software experiments, I am also going to upgrade the sticks to Hall Effect joysticks. The biggest delay now is wondering if I will also upgrade the internal disk drive, so I only have to open the Deck once.

20230315 - March 15 2023 - Opening the Steam Deck
The Steam Deck is a small laptop, so I would like to limit the number of times I need to open it up
*IMAGE SOURCE: ifixit (

So yeah, amazing piece of hardware with amazing support and continually improving. But at the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that some games won’t work the way you expect – just like any PC out there.

This is the one strength consoles have over PCs – it works on the console, or it doesn’t. This is why I disagree with anyone that refers to the Steam Deck as a console. The term console has a specific expectation around how it works, and while Steam Deck is console-like, it isn’t fully there.

Resident Evil 4 (2023)

Feeling pretty sick, I haven’t kept up with anything this week. But one bit of news popped up that grabbed my interest – the Resident Evil 4 Demo.

The little teaser demos for Resident Evil 7 and onwards have been a lot of fun. For the newer entries, they have been stand-alone experiences adjacent to the final game. The same engine, but is not directly tied to the new main story.

For the remakes, the demos have been closer to the main game but limited in some fashion to avoid spoilers. This usually meant an hour total to play the demo.

But for Resident Evil 4, no timed demo had appeared. In my mind, I guessed Capcom decided Resident Evil 4 didn’t need to whip up any more excitement. I was wrong.

20230315 - Resident Evil 4 - Lets do this
What a great way to push the Steam Deck than with a surprise release demo

While I was keen to finish the Dead Space Impossible run, I couldn’t even start it. Coughing fits and permadeath don’t mix! But a demo? Well, worst case I wouldn’t finish the demo sequence. What did I have to lose?

Then another thought struck me. I could play lying down on the Steam Deck! By all accounts, Resident Evil has been performing well on the Deck, so I was curious to see how the demo would play.

So, I installed the Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Demo (I wonder which enemy this will feature?) and fired up the game. I was both impressed and disappointed.

20230315 - Resident Evil 4 - The controls seem flexible and restrictive at the same time
Somehow, the controls seem flexible and restrictive at the same time.

Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Demo was running pretty well. I am sure I could play through the game at pretty locked 40 FPS nicely. There is also no time limit! Play the Demo as many times as you like, and enjoy exploring the opening village at your own pace.

BUT. There are a lot of graphical issues on the Steam Deck, and try as I might, I couldn’t fix them.

20230315 - Resident Evil 4 - Locked to 30 fps in settings but that tearing
It’s hard to see, but I am sneaking up on a villager here

But the Steam Decks visual glitches didn’t stop me from finishing the Demo. I even managed to unlock the secret ‘Mad Chainsaw Mode’, and immediately died. This means I need to unlock the mode again, and I don’t know how I did it the first time so a new challenge waits for me.

If you have a Steam Deck and want to play Resident Evil 4, there is a fix out there. You need to go to the experimental update branch, which includes an updated video driver.

This seems to fix all of the visual issues shown here. Hopefully, this driver will be added to the stable release prior to Resident Evil 4’s launch.

20230315 - Resident Evil 4 - Not bad for a first run
All things considered, not bad for a first run. Only 2 weeks until the full release!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter, Hive and Instagram! And don't forget you can get random gaming and pet pics on Instagram as well. 🙂

Until next time,