Emulate everything

Can one handheld play them all?

- By Wes Fenlon

Why stop your Steam Deck gaming with your Steam library? Dream bigger: Valve’s handheld PC will also be able to play retro and modern consoles games thanks to emulators, most of which run natively on Linux. It has the potential to be the greatest emulation device ever made.

“Everyone I know has relatively high hopes for the Steam Deck,” said JMC4789, a contributo­r to GameCube/ Wii emulator Dolphin. JMC4789 is optimistic about how well Dolphin could run on the Steam Deck, and so are the developers of

Switch emulator Yuzu. “We believe that the hardware should likely be capable enough to run some games pretty well right out of the box, and potentiall­y run Yuzu very well with optimisati­ons to the emulator,” the developers said.

Emulators sometimes have issues with AMD’s Windows drivers, but it’s a different story on Linux. The open source drivers for AMD on Linux are “excellent,” according to the Yuzu team, and at the Steam Deck’s screen resolution, its GPU will be more than up to the task. Emulation pushes the CPU harder because your processor is doing a lot of work to replicate the behaviour of that different CPU architectu­re; it’s impossible for it to be as efficient as the original hardware. But Zen 2 should be powerful enough to run most emulators with better-than-console performanc­e. Emulators may need UI overhauls to play nice with the Deck’s screen and controls, but “the potential is really high,” said JMC4789. “The hardware sounds too good to be true, but Valve can kind of get away with selling the hardware at a loss and banking on software sales. A mobile device that’s essentiall­y a near gaming PC? If that’s what it is, then it’ll be great.”


 ?? ?? ABOVE: Stardew
Valley’s not being emulated here, but isn’t this a nice shot of the hardware?
ABOVE: Stardew Valley’s not being emulated here, but isn’t this a nice shot of the hardware?

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