Image: Valve

Remember when Valve actually made games? Yeah, me neither (Half-Life: Alyx doesn’t count, screw VR exclusives), but the company is taking another baby step toward its original claim to fame with Aperture Desk Job, a new “game” set in the Portal Universe.

As the quote marks might indicate, Aperture Desk Job isn’t really much of a game at all but more of a “short,” as it’s described by Valve, something that the developer quickly whipped up to celebrate the launch of its ridiculously hyped Steam Deck handheld, which officially launches today. Set in the world of Portal, Aperture Desk Job is a playable walkthrough that allows Steam Deck users who have never experienced playing games on a handheld before (uh, none?) to learn how to use the device’s controls and features.

This might be the part where everyone asks why Valve didn’t make the brilliant marketing move of complementing the Steam Deck’s launch with an actual Portal 3, extending a sorely missed franchise that hasn’t seen a new installment since 2011’s critically acclaimed sequel. Who knows, but Valve has decided to rub salt into the wounds of puzzle-platform fans everywhere by explicitly warning prospective Aperture Desk Job players that it is in no way, shape, or form a sequel to Portal.

Er, Half-Life 3 confirmed? Aperture Desk Job will be unlocked next week on Tuesday, March 1.

Aperture Desk Job (Steam)

Aperture Desk Job reimagines the been-there-done-that genre of walking simulators and puts them in the lightning-spanked, endorphin-gorged world of sitting still behind things.

You play as an entry-level nobody on their first day at work — your heart full of hope and your legs full of dreams, eager to climb that corporate ladder. But life’s got other plans, and they all involve chairs.

Designed as a free playable short for Valve’s new Steam Deck, Desk Job walks you through the handheld’s controls and features, while not being nearly as boring as that sounds.

Not Portal 3!

Lower your expectations: This is not a sequel to Portal. Now get ready to raise them slightly, because it is in the expanded universe of those games. Desk Job puts you squarely in the driver’s seat at Aperture Science. Then quickly removes the driving part and adds a desk in front of the seat.

Steam Deck: A Desk For Your Hands

Up until now, real life mostly involved sitting, and video games were the virtual fantasy world you could escape to. With the portable Steam Deck, we flipped that, freeing your body to run marathons and jump out of planes while your brain and hands simulate all the sitting you used to do.

It’s F-R-E-E (Free)!

Put that wallet away, gaming fan! Your money’s no good here. For this particular product. If your money stops working while trying to buy groceries, though, you should contact your bank immediately, because the cashier just stole your entire identity? You’d better go talk to her again, because what do you mean she never worked here?! Now you’ll have to go undercover as a dark web hacker to track her down! Only to find out it was a different timeline you?!! From the future?!?! And also if anyone from Hollywood is reading this bullet point, take your wallet back out, because this great idea is not free (but is for sale at buyagreatscreenplay@valvesoftware.com )

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