Aperture Desk Job
You think your job's bad? I mean... Your job is bad. It's the worst job at the company, way worse than mine. I shouldn't have made it sound like we were competing.
Aperture Desk Job is a non-canonical technical demo developed by Valve, to showcase the Steam Deck's controls and features. It was released March 1, 2022 on Steam.
The game begins with the player, seemingly on an 80's Aperture lounge room. A progressively intense orchestral is playing throughout the scene. Cave Johnson welcomes the character into the Aperture Science Competence Center, seemingly made for the most gifted of all the employees in Aperture. Cave informs the character that they are exceptional.
The player's view then descends below the room, revealing that they are above the Competence Center. While the character descends into the seemingly retro-looking facility with tubes and testing rooms, they encounter employee's silhouettes, a play room, precursor utility robots, and references to the lore. It is also worth mentioning that there are Half-Life 2 gun supply crates being used in a room.
After the descent, the player is greeted by Grady, the Graduation Core, who informs the player that the pre-recorded message from Cave was the wrong tape, and before playing the correct tape, in which Cave tells the player to "get to work, or you're fired."
Grady proceeds to introduce the player to the Desk, a visualization of the Steam Deck's controls, showing joystick, button, and bumper buttons. The player is then tasked to test and quality assert toilets, in which the toilet can at least be filled with water, have a working bidet, and be able to flush.
After some toilets passing through inspection, a seemingly smoking toilet is seen arriving into the line. Grady notices this and tries to inspect the toilet by himself, while unbeknownst to him, the player keeps on testing the faulty toilet. Until an explosion occurred and knocked Grady out of his rail arm, which subsequently made him stuck in the toilet bowl. The player then would turn on the bidet repeatedly to unjam Grady out of the bowl, which unfortunately, made Grady eject out of the toilet at a high speed, knocking down a pipeline with ammunition flowing inside of it.
The ammunition flowed into the water container of the toilet, and when the player tries to test the toilet, the ammunition ejected out of the toilet bowl as live bullets. Although the toilet failed inspection, the event gave Grady an idea that took months in the making.
After a long amount of time, Grady meets the player again to present them a heavily-armed toilet turret. This turret utilises all of the Deck's control instruments, while Grady prompting the player to try them all. After much chaos and destruction to the back part of the toilet testing area, Grady informs the player that someone must be responsible for the damage done, the player gets caught and arrested while Grady escapes.
After another long time in jail (approximately 18 months), Grady meets the player in prison while informing them that he has acquired a probation officer license, and will get them out after completing a prisoner release form, in which the player needs to use their microphone, keyboard and mouse to give voice data and sign the form. After a transition, the player and Grady is put into a sort of internal area of the houseware department filled with conveyor belts and house wares. Grady introduces them to the Mark III turret, a much stabler and more controllable turret. After testing the turret by destroying the various home equipment and machines, Grady tells the player that gyroscopic control has been embedded into the turret, prompting the user to manipulate their Deck's orientation to aim the turret.
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.
Grady fires the rocket and blasts through approximately 88 floors, crashing right into the entrance of Cave's office. Grady then informs the player that he actually didn't get an appointment with Cave, and no one has seen him for years. The two enter the room, and is presented with the giant digitally-living head of Cave Johnson.
Cave Johnson told the two that after his disease worsened, he instructed his engineers to preserve his mind as soon as possible, after much trial and error, the result is the giant head thar Cave is now residing in. Cave then told the two to kill him, or "breaking [him] out of prison", Cave then asks the two what they have brought before him. Grady introduces the turret, and the player is then prompted to fire at Cave's head, after destroying the rocky exterior, it is then revealed that the inner layer of the head is made out of bullet proof metal, preventing damage from the turret.
Grady notices a power socket of which Cave's head was plugged into it, and instructs the player to shoot at it, in spite of the turret's overbearing damage, and finally shut Cave down, for a moment. The reserve power for Cave's head is then kicked on, prompting Cave to fire them out of failure. However, due to the ricocheted bullet damage and presumably also the damage done by the previous rocket break-in, the floor below them began to crumble, with Cave's head tumbling down below the facility.
After looking down into the pit, Grady realises that no one except them knows that Cave is assumed dead, killed by them, and informs the player that they should hide the evidence.
Months later, Grady (now poorly disguised with a fake moustache as "Gary") meets the player again in a highly-destroyed environment in the aftermath of Cave's head falling, telling them that the witness protection program is great and all of their problems are taken care of. Grady then dismissed the player.
The game ends with Cave's head and multiple robot toilets singing in the bottom of the facility, powered by the mantis civilization's power core.
- It is unknown whether the toilet turret is the predecessor to the sentry turret, although their designs share an uncanny resemblance.
- The sentient mantis civilization went through multiple stages of milestones:
- Discovering how to route electricity.
- Establishing a 19th century British-like civilization.
- Futuristic modern city, powered by a power core. And finally,
- Downfall of their city, after their core being dragged down with Cave's head and the city being destroyed.
- The game can be played entirely without a Steam Deck, the only input requirements to interact with the game is a pointing device (whether it be a touch device or mouse), and controller input (using actual hardware or a virtual controller software). The only time a Steam Deck exclusive control is used is when Grady instructs the player to use the Desk's gyroscope system to aim the turret.
- The Lab – a collection of VR minigames made to show off capabilities of the HTC Vive
- Aperture Hand Lab – a VR technical demo made to showcase the functionality of the Valve Index controllers.