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The Hidden Way You Never Knew Your Steam Deck Could Be Used

The Steam Deck is the Nintendo Switch-like handheld that PC gamers have waited for. As a portable PC with internet browser support, the Steam Deck can use emulators in ways that other systems can't. As revealed by YouTuber GameXData, you can even emulate 3DS games such as "Pokémon X and Y" on the Steam Deck.

"A ton of people brought it up. So, I thought I'd confirm: Yes, you can play 3DS games dual screen with a Steam Deck as the bottom screen," GameXData wrote in a viral tweet. The accompanying photo shows him playing "Pokémon X" (or Y) with a monitor connected to the Steam Deck. The monitor acts as the top screen and the Steam Deck acts as the bottom screen with the controls, similar to how a 3DS would function. In fact, using a monitor enables players to have a wider screen to play the game rather than the tiny one on your handheld Nintendo console. The Steam Deck can emulate more than just 3DS games. GameXData has a full video about the different types of Nintendo emulation you can accomplish.

Dual screen emulation on the Steam Deck

In his video about running dual screen titles on the Steam Deck, GameXData goes over how to emulate 3DS, DS, and Wii U games on the handheld. He details the emulators for each console, like Citra for 3DS, and walks viewers through different considerations to keep in mind for specific emulators. For Citra, GameXData notes that the screens need to be manually edited to properly fit, but it otherwise runs smoothly.  First-time emulators might feel overwhelmed by the file-digging and downloading. Thankfully, GameXData shows his step-by-step process. Download the Dolphin file manager (not to be confused with the Dolphin GameCube and Wii emulator) and Citra so you can be ready for the first step at "open up your Dolphin file explorer."

Series like "Pokémon" and "The Legend of Zelda" aren't supported on PC because of Nintendo exclusivity. In that case, emulation is the only way to play them on the platform. However, there are still plenty of titles available on the Steam Deck for those who aren't fans of emulation. Valve currently lists many "Great on Deck" games on its website, which should run without major issues. GameXData and others' emulation efforts just offer an alternative way to experience releases.