Hi-Tech Lo-Life. I’ve had the pleasure of kicking his arse in Melee (nah, just kidding). But the topics that he covers on his YouTube channel are great. Originally talking about and reviewing mechanical keyboards, he’s now moved on to mostly Steam Deck-related topics. He’s reviewed multiple accessories, looked back on the Deck one year later – referring to it as “a year of innovation” – and covered various plugins, such as SteamGridDB. Being the anime lover that he is, he also has covered how to “anime-ify” your Deck and the games that he recommends.

Personally I think he deserves way more than the 8k subs he has on his channel. So I wanted to give him the spotlight, talk a little bit about the history of his channel, why you need to subscribe to him, and – most importantly – why he’s so much into anime and mecha.

TL;DR

  • mostly talks about the Deck on his YT channel, but covers other topics as well, including “general PC gaming topics” and “reviews for specific games”
  • the Deck: “it’s genuinely my favorite way to game”
  • Steam Deck alternatives are viable in terms of smaller footprint and performance, but price is a big hurdle
  • some familiarity with Linux; used Manjaro in college. Would actually switch over to Linux if Destiny 2 worked on said OS
  • recommended Deck accessories: IEMs, a GaN charger, and a dock
  • favorite Deck accessory: the Tomtoc carrying case
  • favorite type of games: challenging games, arcade-styled games, and RPGs
  • favorite anime: Shōnen Jump, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Shin Sekai Yori, and a few others
  • things to look forward to: more Deck content, game reviews, Vtubing/streaming, revival of his podcast (potentially)

Explain who you are and what you do.

Hello, I’m Hi-Tech Lo-Life, and I’m a Tech & Gaming Content Creator! I cover many things gaming-related and while I may be a Steam Deck creator, I’m not EXCLUSIVELY a Steam Deck channel the way Fan the Deck is.

HTLL official website

My YouTube account has existed since 2010, but I’ve only started making and uploading “Hi-Tech Lo-Life” videos in around 2019. I am primarily a content creator on YouTube. I do have a blog but more often than not, they’re just my YouTube videos adapted to text.

For my day job I’ve got plenty of experience working with hospitals and at the height of COVID, spent most of my time maintenancing medical devices, like IV pumps and whatnot.

What inspired the name “Hi-Tech Lo-Life”?

The name came as a sort of funny thought. I thought, “I’m a high tech low life” and the name stuck.

Outside of the Steam Deck, what else do you typically talk about on your channel?

I talk a lot about general PC gaming topics as well as reviews for specific games. Long ago before the Deck was released, I used to do mechanical keyboard reviews as well as a podcast! Thinking of potentially starting it back up!

HTLL typing on a keyboard

The channel did start as a keyboard channel, more specifically, mechanical keyboards, key switches, & keycaps. Heck, I even assembled a fully custom keyboard in a video! I also talked about random tech stuff but I didn’t really have a focus nor a consistent release schedule until the Deck was announced.

As for the podcast, we talked about tech stuff. The podcast ALSO predated the Steam Deck so it was sort of aimless, but we did talk about important issues in tech (such as the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit & Right to Repair) and we also talked about multimedia such as movies, games, anime.

How long have you owned a Steam Deck, and what are your thoughts on it?

Reserved as soon as I could! I reserved the 256GB version of the Deck because I knew 64GB version wasn’t enough, but I wasn’t sure if I needed 512GB. And this was before Valve made it known that the SSD can be swapped and at that point I was already pretty deep in my reservation not willing to give up my spot.

My unit arrived in Q2, but I had a friend who got an earlier order than mine, so I got her order and she got mine!

Honestly I do most of my gaming on Deck these days, outside of specific titles that either don’t work on Deck or are exclusives on other consoles! It’s genuinely my favorite way to game.

HTLL playing on Deck

PC gaming has always been my preferred way of playing games due to a number of factors, but more importantly due to the open-ness of the platform. Anyone can make anything for the PC and distribute it however they’d like, even outside of Steam. On a console you’d never get the luxury of getting games from a different storefront or just downloading a random executable.

But the main issue with PC gaming is that I spend many of my hours at a PC as is for my day job and that’s about the last thing I want to do for an activity that’s supposed to be relaxing. The Steam Deck gives me all of that and the flexibility of going anywhere with it!

What do you think of the so-called “competition,” that is, Aya Neo, OneXPlayer, etc.? Do you think these portable devices will ever become a viable alternative to the Deck?

I do think they can be viable alternatives to the Deck. Many of these offer similar performance at a smaller physical footprint, and some offer even MORE portable performance. The big issue though is again, price.

Price is a major consideration for a product like this and the Steam Deck throws the price to performance argument out of the window. There’s no real competition in the price to performance ratio, only alternatives if you, for whatever reason, hate Valve.

Name three Steam Deck accessories a Deck owner must have and why.

Here are some non-MicroSD card accessories I like:

  1. Any traveling Steam Deck user needs some sort of audio gear, especially if you plan traveling via bus, train, or plane. My preferred accessories are some good quality IEMs. There’s a pair called the Moondrop Aria, and they’re amazing for the price.

  2. A more compact charger. Plenty of GaN chargers – chargers that use Gallium Nitride instead of the typical silicon – that can charge at 45W and are much smaller than the Deck charger. These don’t function any differently from your standard charger, but they are far more efficient, allowing for smaller wall warts at a similar power rating.

  3. Third is probably a dock of some sort. Docks are a must have for anyone looking to play on a TV or if you want to capture footage in tandem with a capture card. The Valve dock is always a safe bet and it even comes with an extra charger.

Moondrop Aria Image credit: Moondrop

[For those who aren’t aware,] IEMs stand for In Ear Monitors, and while one may think these are merely earbuds, they are so much more than that. Typical earbuds rest on the outer ear whereas IEMs go inside your ear canal, ensuring a tighter seal and more often than not, they beat the snot out of earbuds in a pure price to performance ratio.

One other feature I like about IEMs are their modularity. Most earbuds are conjoined with their wires and for most people, a damaged cable means the earbuds become useless. For most IEMs, the unit is modular and you can unplug the ear pieces from the cable and swap them out if so desired. This allows for cheaper replacements and customization if so desired.

Among the Steam Deck accessories you’ve received, what’s your favorite?

Oh gosh, I’ve checked out so many accessories it’s unreal. One that I really like is the TomToc Steam Deck case. It more resembles a satchel than a traditional Steam Deck hard case that you’re used to. It has enough space to carry multiple Deck accessories, and stylish enough to wear in public.

HTLL reviewing Tomtoc case

Outside of the Steam Deck, how familiar are you with Linux?

Pre-Steam Deck I’ve had SOME experience with Linux though mostly in a server environment with CLI and whatnot. I’ve actually had my own Proxmox hypervisor set up in my own home with multiple VMs set up for different purposes. I’ve tested Linux out for a bit as a daily driver years ago but ultimately switched back because college work isn’t too Linux-friendly.

The distro I tried out in college was Manjaro. I had a basic Dell Inspiron laptop. Core i3. I believe I was using XFCE as my desktop environment, but honestly I can’t remember. For software, of course I had LibreOffice. I didn’t really game on my Manjaro install as my time in college was before Proton existed.

Manjaro XFCE Image credit: Manjaro team

I enjoyed my time with Manjaro but it wasn’t really a viable solution for me for both someone in college and a massive gamer, even most of my gaming time was with lower end (at the time) games.

As for switching to Linux now, I could with one exception, Destiny 2…And I think I would switch to endeavorOS if I were to switch now.

What are your favorite type of games?

I prefer more challenging games as they’re more stimulating and require more creative out of the box thinking to beat them. I was fortunate enough to grow up near an arcade when arcades were already out of fashion, so I have a soft spot for arcade styled games. I also quite like RPGs too.

I see you’re an anime fan. Tell us what your favorite anime games and TV shows are.

I’m a huge Shonen Jump fanboy. I love battle action manga like DBZ or One Piece and they will always hold a soft spot in my heart. I’m also a massive mecha fan and I have some gunpla in my house (I’m still a bit miffed that Bamco hasn’t made a Perfect Grade Gundam Deathscythe Hell, but one day…) and even gifted my cousin some.

I do like more dramatic animes as well, one I thought was really good was Shin Sekai Yori (From The New World).

Gohan Image credit: Arc System Works/Bandai Namco

As for games, I don’t tend to play games based on existing animes, but I am a huge fan of the Disgaea franchise and have jumped down the rabbit hole of anime dungeon crawlers.

What new videos we can look forward to?

Steam Deck content (tutorials & etc). Game reviews for sure, perhaps collaborations with other content creators, maybe even a podcast! Other non-Steam Deck related stuff, VTubing. I may even stream every now and then.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Thanks to all of you guys who believe in HTLL and who have given my stuff a watch. It means the world to me and makes it all worth it in the end. And if you’re a frequent reader of LGC, thanks for reading this and checking me out too.

You can find Hi-Tech Lo-Life at the following places:

Subscribe to his YT channel if you haven’t already!

All other images used in this interview are credit of Hi-Tech Lo-Life.

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