The Steam Deck Is The Best Handheld For Big Hands

You know what they say about big hands? They’re fucking annoying to play handhelds with. I put off phones, despite being a zoomer, until I was in my mid-to-late teens, because the buttons were too small; I traded in my DS and stopped using my Game Boy since it was awkward getting a grip on them, and I got a Switch OLED, not for the new screen, but due to it being a bit bigger. Even then, the thing feels tiny.

I hate handhelds. They’re uncomfortable, my hands cramp, and I’m always terrified they’ll slip right out of my palms. I’m not alone in this weird console ick either, since there are entire guides for people with big hands on how to get comfortable holding the Switch, and a lot of it boils down to buying cases or extra padding. Our own Features Editor Andrew King even suggested that the Switch 2 should come with Hori pads as standard. I never bothered with such solutions since I could stick it on the TV, but now I have a Steam Deck, I finally get it. Handheld is the way to game, and all I needed to understand that was a giant, heavy black brick.

One of the first things I remember people saying when it was announced was, “Phwoah, what a unit.” That quickly evolved into, “Fucking hell, bit much innit?” It is, but that’s perfect for me. It’s the first console that feels catered to my long fingers and annoyingly large hands, meaning that I can sit with it for hours on end without my joint problems acting up. Big hands and joint problems, I’m the whole package. And being able to sit and play with it for hours on end means I’m getting away from my work desk and back into PC gaming, digging into my old backlog and even sticking my head into the revolving mod door that usually ends in crashes and frustration. I don’t care, I still love the journey.

I lie in bed and game when I’m sick, bring it with me to coffee shops so I have something to do while I wait for my friends to show up, and enjoy bashing out some Vampire Survivors on the sofa while I watch The Good Place and Always Sunny. I haven’t been able to do anything close to that since I was a kid, when the DS felt like it actually fit in my hands, before they ballooned into the slightly larger than average mess I have today. In a lot of ways, it’s nostalgic. A handheld that feels right isn’t something I’ve had in years, but the Steam Deck has given me that back.

I’m not sure what the future of the Deck looks like, whether its successor will streamline the design to be sleeker and more user-friendly, but right now I like my cumbersome, clunky gaming block. It reminds me of me, an uncoordinated giant oaf that has trouble keeping a hold of things that are too small. For now, that’s all I want, and it’s finally letting me enjoy this slice of gaming that I’ve always shoved to the side.

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