Aperture Desk Job
The gameplay consists of product inspection aided by Grady, an artificial intelligence "core" much like many others seen in the Portal franchise. The game serves as a tech demo for the Steam Deck, with most of the game taking place in front of a desk that acts as an in-world representation of the console. A few different scenarios are used to test different functions of the controls, such as a shooting segment making use of gyroscopic control, or a situation where the player must write their name making use of the Steam Deck's touchscreen. The game could also be played on standard computer hardware with the use of a game controller.
Aperture Desk Job
The player, whose name is up to them to decide, starts work at Aperture as a product tester at a desk that from that point on they seem incapable of leaving. A core named Grady (Nate Bargatze) arrives and tasks the player with testing toilets. A defective toilet destroys a transport pipe filled with ammunition, filling the cistern with bullets which the toilet then fires off. Inspired, Grady decides to try and pitch a new idea to the heads of Aperture.
Six months later, Grady introduces a turret cobbled together from weapon parts and the shell of a toilet. He urges the player to test it out and the player ends up destroying the warehouse. Grady leaves the player to take the fall while he attempts to improve the design of the turret. Eighteen months later the player is released from Aperture prison, and Grady has become a parole officer in order to monitor them. Grady enthusiastically urges them back to work to test his new and improved turret on appliances stolen from the Housewares Department. He claims that he has organized a meeting with CEO Cave Johnson (J. K. Simmons), and as they journey to Johnson's office on the 80th floor Grady fantasizes about spending the money they are going to make on paying back the loan sharks he used to fund the turret's development. They are suddenly attacked by appliances modelled into (far superior) turrets by Housewares engineers. The player battles through an onslaught of appliance turrets, before using the desk's inbuilt rocket propulsion system to speed them to the top floor.
Finishing the testing of the Mark III, Grady excitedly tells the player that they are going to present the contraption to Cave Johnson directly, and takes the player up to his office with an elevator. However, midway through the ride, the elevator jammed, and a weaponized appliance shoots at the duo, presumably in anger of the two's shooting session of all the housewares in the previous section. Throughout this section, the player goes into combat with all the modified houseware turrets until Grady finds a solution, which are rockets attached to the desk.
Aperture Desk Job, Valve's short, new Portal spin-off, lets players forget the problems the puzzle series has typically asked you to solve. Don't expect to break your brain thinking with portals this time. Instead, the game handles the movement for you, rooting your anonymous Aperture worker to their desk and presenting the world to you from that fixed vantage point. Though the game was designed as a companion for Valve's new line of Steam Deck portable PCs, you can also just play it on your regular non-portable PC. That's what I did, and despite some very minor hiccups, Valve's latest software is worth checking out even if you haven't sprung for its costly new hardware.
The new game takes you on a guided journey through the legendary lab. You may not move from the desk, but the desk often moves you, shifting vertically and horizontally, forward and backward, on a perfectly straight axis. It feels like an on-rails shooter, but one where the rails you're riding have been designed to accommodate a Wes Anderson dolly shot. The building is presented to you like this scene from The French Dispatch, with the camera passing through walls and floors, following the action and revealing moments of wonderful spectacle hidden beyond what the humans of Aperture Science can see.
Aperture Desk Job puts you behind the - duh - desk of a lowly tester in the bowels of Aperture's facility. Almost literally, because your job is to stress test toilets (using the buttons on your desk, not... you know... manually). You are helped by a friendly personality core called Brady, who turns up to tell you what to do, and highjinks ensue. Aperture Desk Job exists to show off the stuff you can do with the Steam Deck's controls, which are obviously more controller-ish rather than mouse and keyboard-y. So the escalating highjinks are such that will make you use all the triggers, talk into the inbuilt mic, tilt the tilty motion controls, that kind of thing. The desk you sit behind is sort of set up to have the same shape as a Steam Deck, which is cool.
Aperture Desk Job is so much fun! It has loads of jokes, and little bits of visual storytelling that it doesn't need to have, but it does. Grady is a treasure. At one point he says he wants to get a tattoo, and later on he just has one - little things like that, where Valve trust you to be smart enough to notice and appreciate what's going on, without having to point to the punchline with a bit neon arrow saying "PLAYER NOTICE JOKE PLS". There's a whole developing mini-arc with insects that has zero dialogue. Aperture Desk Job is set decades ago, and even the visual design of washing machines and tv sets and the buttons on your desk is cool and telling its own kind of story. This! This is what Valve should do! All the time! Make me nice games! You're so good at it! Maybe even the best! Valve, I beg you.
Valve loves making tech demos for their new hardware, and with the official launch of the Steam Deck a few days ago the developer/publisher released a brand new free-to-play Action Adventure game set within the popular Portal universe. Although it is meant to show off the Steam Deck controls and capabilities, PC players can also play it on their desktops.
Weirdly though, the PC system requirements for Aperture Desk Job only show the minimum specs, with recommended simply noting "Steam Deck" under the additional notes. Not only that, they are surprisingly demanding given the short and free-to-play nature of the game (12GB minimum RAM, for instance). Then again, it is meant for the Steam Deck and not necessarily desktop PCs too, so as long as it runs well on the former then that's what matters.
Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_
Everything should now be set up and ready to go and you can launch start_testbed_tools.cmd script which will start the deskjob-testbed.exe into tools mode but instead of using the steampal game and the gameinfo.gi within it, it will use the testbed game folder and gameinfo.gi instead. but if you want to run the original game in tools mode you can just use start_tools.cmd instead.
The game takes place in the Portal universe but focuses on a new character who is placed in Aperture Science to test items as part of the Quality Control department. The story walks the player through the different buttons on their desk they can use to test the equipment. This correlates to the buttons on the Steam Deck/Controller so that the player learns what the portable system can do as they are playing the game.
In order to complete quality control tests within the game, the player needs to be able to remember which buttons on the Steam desk console perform which functions on your Aperture desktop. If the player is using a controller and playing on PC, they need to remember which buttons on the controller they are using correspond to the controls on the in-game desktop.
Announced just a few days ago, Aperture Desk Job is a tutorial for the Steam Deck. It plants you behind a desk with the same buttons, paddles, and sticks as the Deck, and walks you through a short story that cleverly makes use of a lot of its features. However, that's not the most interesting thing about Aperture Desk Job; the most interesting thing about it is that it's a return to the Portal universe, taking place when Aperture Laboratories was running in the mid-to-late 1980s, a period we haven't seen yet. 041b061a72