Lord, I’m in love with Valve’s Steam Deck TGS booth

Lord, I’m in love with Valve’s Steam Deck TGS booth

Steam Deck’s Asia release has made it to the Tokyo Game Show, following a solo launch event that included several surviving Steam Deck prototypes. In my report on the latter, I made some passing references to a new, oversized Deck that Valve built for their TGS booth, completely unaware of how often I would find myself admiring it a few days later. Look, the Steam Deck booth at TGS, from the high scale model to the strangely impressive elegance of the logistics, might be the finest event booth I’ve ever seen.

I’m not sorry! Just look at that: even without the Big Deck, which comes complete with a suitably gigantic, working screen, it’s a beautiful piece of exhibition design. The sprawling, coolly lit room; the neat stands for demo units; the fact that there are actual seats?! Can people go to a big event like this and sit down on anything other than a disgusting floor? Incredible. Bet they even have bottled water that isn’t sparkling.

As you can probably deduce, stalls like these are not the norm. I’ve been around a few tech shows in my time, and the usual routine when trying out a piece of hardware goes like this: you show up to a booth that already has too many people in it for its size, move to where the crowd around the demo set is thinnest, shuffle awkwardly for a few minutes, then move to a completely different part of the audience anyway because a YouTuber is here and wants everyone to move ten feet back so he can set up his stand.

Oh, to have written more conveniently after visiting booths like Steam Deck’s. ONE video from valve designer Lawrence Yang shows a far more civilized visitor experience, starting with a nice walk into the huge main area and ending with playing a Steam deck of your choice three different seating options. The only wait is apparently filled up by watching an informational video on Steam Deck, after which everyone can help themselves to a real one to try. No free for all, no stress, no racks. Heaven.

And see how organized it is! Us Brits have spent the last two days patting ourselves on the back for an (admittedly very long) queue to see the dearly departed Queen Liz, but the sight of 150 random TGS-goers neatly past the racks of demo decks remains the most impressive display of courtesy logistics I’ve seen this week. And again, that’s made possible by the booth, in all its spacious, cozy, white-and-blue glory. Not strange Hideo Kojima stopped by.

The only thing I don’t like about this stand is its potential to induce deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, especially in myself. Since RPS shares a corporate overload with EGX, Katharine and I (mainly Katharine) have been joining a Steam Deck demo stand for EGX London next week. I have no idea how big or glorious it will be, but between us, readers, even a second-hand view of Valve’s efforts makes me wonder how ours will stack up. Still, if you’re attending and you see me around, feel free to say hi – I can only deny that I wrote any of this.

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