The Steam Deck is the most powerful portable on the market, boasting the ability to play Elden Ring and Street Fighter 6 without a hiccup. But I would be lying if I said that was was the best feature on the Steam’s little beast.
The ability to play games from other stores is a game changer that should entice anyone with a PC gaming library to run to this device. GOG (Good Old Games), Epic Games, and Amazon Games are the three competitors to Steam offering free and low-priced games. The ability to access these libraries from the comfort of your bed is beyond the realm of miracles.
Steam Deck is a Linux based OS, which comes with a deep learning curve. This requires a user to go to the Steam desktop and find the right app to access all these stores. It is easy to do, but you will have to put in the labor to get it done right.
Steam Deck Desktop Mode
— ShyVortex 🇵🇸 (@ShyVortex) February 25, 2022
Installing the Heroic Launcher
You will need the Heroic Launcher to be able to access these markets. There are other game apps like Lutris that work, but Heroic is the easiest. Open up the app store on the Steam Deck desktop. The app market is in the tray in the lower left hand corner. Now you will need to search for Heroic Launcher. To bring up a virtual keyboard you need to click any text space and hold the X button.
Download the Heroic Launcher and wait for it to install. Once finished don’t bother opening it on the desktop. We will want to open it in the Steam OS. To add it to the Steam OS you need to open the main apps drop down. Click the Steam Deck icon in the lower left-hand corner. Click APPLICATIONS and find the Heroic Launcher in the alphabetical list.
Right-click or (LT) on the Heroic Launcher. Choose the option ADD TO STEAM LIBRAY.
Heroic Games Launcher 2.10.0 released with plenty of essential fixes, a crucial tool for Steam Deck and Linux desktop gamers https://t.co/evt2ZYuQck#SteamDeck #Linux #Gaming pic.twitter.com/Mteqxudpyj
— Liam @ GamingOnLinux 🐧🎮 (@gamingonlinux) November 6, 2023
Setting up the Heroic Launcher
Once you are back in the Steam OS you can find the Heroic Launcher waiting for you in the Non-Steam Apps part of your library. The app opens to a black empty box and options in the left panel. Pick Stores and you will have the option of Amazon Games, Epic Games, and GOG. You might want to have a phone handy because some of the logins might ask for email confirmations.
Your libraries will fill the empty box with every game you have ever purchased in these game stores. If you click on any of them you will be able to start downloading and installing.
— Liam @ GamingOnLinux 🐧🎮 (@gamingonlinux) July 25, 2023
Here is the tricky part. Not every game you have will work on the Steam Deck. Steam Deck is compatible with almost any modern game that can be played on an Xbox gamepad, but some complications arise. Some games pop-up with errors looking for missing files. Some of the keyboard and mouse only games do not translate at all to the face buttons and triggers on the Steam Deck.
So far, I have gotten Rayman 3, Creature in the Well, Hand of Fate 2, and Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure to work without a hitch from the GOG store. I couldn’t get Quake 4 to work because the mouse and keyboard inputs didn’t correlate with the controls. I also downloaded Control for GOG, but it gave me a loading error.
On the Amazon Games app I have a long list of Neo Geo games. I had no problem loading and playing Alpha Mission 2, Top Hunter, and Art of Fighting 3.
I only downloaded one game in the Epic store and it crashed several times. Kao the Kangaroo is unplayable. I want to try more games on Epic, but I ran out of space (the other problem Steam Deck users keep having).
The Heroic Launcher is a must-have for Steam Deck owners and you will thank me.