Playing Metroid Prime on a Steam Deck shouldn’t feel so good

If there were gamer commandments, Nintendo probably wouldn’t expect too much. Still, I was hoping that on November 18, it will surprisingly release a Switch version of the Metroid Prime trilogy. Nintendo did no such thing on that day, the 20th anniversary of Metroid prime, the timeless modernization of the series that turned it into a first-person shooter. I didn’t let that get me down. After all, I own a Steam Deck, which seems to be just as good at emulating non-PC games as it is at playing many PC titles.

Getting the collection of three games for Wii running on the Steam Deck was a surprisingly simple and quick process, and it requires very little experience dealing with emulators. Not to mention, it’s incredible that I can play a motion-controlled Wii game like a modern dual-stick console shooter without getting lost in the settings – a testament to the modders who, I’m sure, have worked very hard to streamline the hell out of it. It even put some really nice cover art in the Steam Deck game dashboard, so it goes with the rest of my PC games.

Playing these games on Steam Deck is made possible thanks to a free app called EmuDeck, which you must download to the calculator via desktop mode. The site has a helpful written and video walkthrough for loading it onto SteamOS, and you’ll be switching which consoles you want to emulate in minutes. One thing to note is that EmuDeck does not provide individual game ROMs or BIOS files; you have to find it yourself. It should also go without saying that I’m not in favor of emulating games you didn’t buy.

An image of a hand holding the Nintendo Wii game disc from Metroid Prime Trilogy.

I own a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy and I’ll buy it again if (or when) it comes to the Switch.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner/The Verge

Needless to say, I’m glad there are fans out there who clearly enjoy the series more than I do, to the point of trying their best to make these games work as well as they do through emulation. I already felt validated with my decision to buy a Steam Deck to play PC games on the go, but trying out this particular game was more impressive than I ever imagined. I couldn’t resist taking a few screenshots.

Now, it’s none absolutely perfect experience. There are rare drops in frame rate and audio, and I’ve had it crash a few times, which is frustrating when it’s been a while since my last save. But my experience has been smooth for the most part, at 60 frames per second, and I just can’t get mad at the shortcomings. It just feels a bit strange to play Metroid prime in HD quality on a Steam Deck connected to my TV, controlled with a DualSense, but the emulation itself is so good it feels like I’m exploring the Phendrana Drifts for the first time.

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