Aperture Desk Job

released on Mar 01, 2022
by Valve

Introducing Aperture Desk Job, a free playable short game set in the universe of the Portal game series.

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It's an incredibly simplistic tutorial which I don't think really helped learn anything and can't imagine anyone other than the most untechnical of users getting any value from, but it's in the Portal universe and has great characters and fun writing so I enjoyed the 30 minutes.

It's well done, it's very polished and clean, it expands the Portal lore a bit but overall it's mostly a tech demo for the Steamdeck features.

Pretty good showcase gor the deck's features. Also a nice return to the portal universe.

I have to wonder why Aperture Desk Job doesn't just come built into the Steam Deck. The game provides an excellent onboarding to the portable machine and is a must play for new owners. I only found out about it through word of mouth, though, as you have to search for and download it on the Steam Store yourself, and only on the store page does it say that it is a Steam Deck demo app -- I thought it was some Portal gag-spin-off at first.
It's a very welcome introduction to Valve's new gadget. The premise is simple: you're an Aperture employee tasked with certifying the company's products. You're assisted by a robot called Grady, who quickly develops ambitions of climbing the corporate ladder and drags you along with him. It's a short (30 minutes) experience that boasts incredible production values, and will walk you through all of the Steam Deck's functionality, from "what are all the buttons on it" to "how to open the virtual keyboard in-game".
It's great when console manufacturers do this sort of thing, like Nintendo bundling Wii Sports with the Wii and the AR stuff with the 3DS, or Sony adding the Welcome Park to the Vita. With the gains from generational leaps getting ever smaller, getting a new console doesn't have the same spark as it once did -- "new machine that does previously unthinkable things" has given way to "new machine does the same as previous machine, probably even shares much of the same games, but performs slightly better". Having these demo apps helps give a bit more personality to the new toy, and Aperture Desk Job is brimming with character.

I'm happy to visit Aperture again, and I was quite surprised they got JK Simmons back, but otherwise... eh. I know it's just supposed to show off what the Steam Deck can do, but I've seen other such titles do it better.

Basic tech demo but revisiting Aperture is always nice