Coffee Talk #351: Do You Use Subtitles in Videogames?

In yesterday’s Coffee Talk, I was surprised to learn that a bunch of you prefer movies with the subtitles turned on. For games, I always have the subtitles turned on. How about you?

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the hotness of mermaids, liking the song “African Child”, or continued iPad 2 production delays, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

In yesterday’s Coffee Talk, I was surprised to learn that a bunch of you prefer movies with the subtitles turned on. As I explained, English is a second or third language for several of my friends, family members, and playmates. Subtitles help us all enjoy movies together. That said, I often leave subtitles on when I’m watching alone. For games, I always have the subtitles turned on. How about you?

I’m a writer. I need to read. In addition to videogame stuff and tech commentary, I’ve scripted videogames and comics. Reading is one of the best ways to improve writing. I’ve “borrowed” techniques from my favorite columnists, comic-book writers, videogame writers, and more. So for me, leaving subtitles on in videogames adds to my enjoyment and serves as a study tool.

And you ladies and gents? Do you prefer your games with or without subtitles?

Author: RPadTV

45 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #351: Do You Use Subtitles in Videogames?”

  1. I ALWAYS turn subtitles in games ON in addition to my movies.

    Especially in games where the voices can be drowned out by the in game music. Also video game characters sometimes have very odd names and I prefer to see it in addition to hearing it.

    I was playing Uncharted 2 the other day and it was the first time to play on my new PS3, so I found my self turning on subtitles.

    I just have to have subtitles on whenever possible. The only time I have found myself disliking subtitles is in one of my DVD rips I made for my phone. Subtitles on a phone screen eats up a lot of screen. Also there was no way to turn them off. Handbrake put them directly on the movie since they were in the original DVD rip.

    I am pretty sure my subtitle needs stem from my love of going to the opera (go ahead and make fun). The first time I went, 12-14 years old, I was livid that I had to read the words above (supertitles????) the action. But I got used to it and it flowed after the a bit and the next few times it I hardly noticed the reading along with the action

    1. Ha, ha! A big, linebacker-built guy like you from Texas who loves opera?! AHAHA HA HAHA HA HAHAHAHAA!!!!



      1. Yep. I hear it from everyone. It doesn't help that my profile pic is me dressed up as a pink bunny chugging a pitcher of beer for Easter.

      2. Nope everyone loves to watch me down a pitcher of beer, my best time is right at 5 seconds.

      3. In my heavy drinking days I used to down a pint in one swallow. I saw some guy do it on the Man Show and was determined to be able to do it as well. I succeeded…but now…I don't think I can do that.

      4. HAHA. Ziggy Zoggy Ziggy Zoggy…..

        He was my 'inspiration' also! I do have to let the beer warm up a bit though, found out the hard way that cold beer HURTS.

      5. I do. I just bought tickets to the Symphony too, taking a friend for her birthday. When I was in 3 grade I got into the Gifted and Talented program at school because of my high test scores (top 1%). They took us to a lot of plays, opera, symphonies/orchestras, and art museums…..for free. Still love doing all of those things. Very few people I know enjoy going to them as well though.

      6. I try to hit the Boston Symphony at least once a year, I'm a sucker for classical music.

  2. I don't use subtitles in games because I want to focus on the visuals and whatnot but I love subtitles in movies, especially foreign films.

    If the music is to loud I try to turn it down a little bit but that doesn't work all the time.

  3. In an RPG…most probably. If given the choice I always prefer the native language audio with english subs. Very few games do this these days. "Mer'cans only like the english!"

    Something like Gears of War though…naa…I don't need subtitles to hear Fenix drop the F bombs.

    I should really play that game again.

  4. Subtitles in games are more important than subtitles in movies for me since sometimes I can make out what a person says by reading their lips in movies, but with the horrible character facial animations in most games, that becomes impossible. Subtitles in games are a must for me.

    In addition, if I'm watching a movie at home, I can always rewind it and play it again easily whereas in a game, I would have to reset or reload the last check point and work my way back to the part of game where I missed the dialogue. Too much work just to answer the question; "Wait, what did he say?"


    1. Maybe you are just getting old?

      perhaps change the sig to " – Old Balls M "

  5. DANG! Did you see the Galaxy S II stable overclock to 1.5?? Hit nearly 4100 in Quadrant. Yes I know this isn't real life performance, but it is damn impressive.

    1. I did see those, but I wasn't too impressed. Overclocking any current dual-core chip by 25% would get high numbers. More importantly, until software comes out that takes advantage of these chips in a meaningful way, there's not much of a point. Hopefully the new 4GB limit will lead to cutting edge Android games by Q3 or Q4.

  6. I hate Subtitles in games. My wife uses them all the time. I feel like if I'm reading, I'm missing everything else that's going on on the screen. For a while I had to use them because my son would wake up when I'd game at night, but now I have a set of Turtle Beach headphones, and that's no longer an issue. In fact, they're so good that I almost prefer to use them whenever I game, no matter what time it is, because I feel like I never miss a detail now.

  7. Did anyone else know that Common was so street and controversial?!? The backlash has been hilarious. I love how the retorts brought up Eazy-E being invited to the White House by Bush Sr.

    1. Dude, They Shot Bin Ladin in the eye. Can't a brother get more than a week and a half to celebrate before returning to silly season?

      1. No, I just caught a little bit that they replayed on some of the news shows. The Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert stuff has been pretty great though.

      2. You should find the clips of Hannity and Carlson accusing Common of being a militant thug. I don't think they knew that this is a man that models cardigans in GQ. Or maybe cardigans are just street these days.

      3. They see a black man that happens to rap and he is automatically a thug, that's uneducated white America for you.

      4. I'm not the least bit into rap music, but I'm pretty sure you could take even a Will Smith lyric out of context and make him look like a thug in the eyes of the 90 sumthin's who watch FOX News.

      5. The first time I had ever heard of Tucker Carlson, he was interviewing someone from one of the numerous anti-medicinal marijuana organizations that existed at the time. Tucker tore that dude a new asshole and had him contradicting himself every other sentence on national television. That said… I have to say the man is talented as all hell and I can't think of anything I've heard him say since that I agreed with.

        However… Glenn Beck is/was a bigger douche in my opinion. This might call for a poll. There may need to be alot of choices in that poll though.

  8. I always rock the subtitles in every game that allows it.

    I've been in loud rock bands since I was 13 years old and my father and brother would rehearse at my house with their rock bands before I got my own band… my hearing is not the greatest in either ear. Especially my right ear because I always position stage right since I have a tendency to move around alot and I have literally made my bandmates bleed in the past from smacking them with the headstock. I'm pretty tall too, so it usually hits the in the head somewhere. Standing stage right keeps my headstock pointed away from the rest of the band and is therefore safer.

    Anyway, my right ear becomes my drum monitor ear and I've paid the price.

  9. I'm interviewing the Stunt Coordinator for Fast Five tomorrow for the website. At this point I'm thinking of closing with "Is there any truth to the rumor that I'm about to start that Vin Diesel conned Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and The Rock into playing D&D with him?"

  10. The baby boomers who are clung to anything not Fox will think the out of context Fresh Prince lyrics are horrible as well. Don't doubt the fringe from either side lol.

    1. No doubt the fringe from either side are both nuts. Unfortunately they're the only ones who are involved 24/7. That's why so many elected officials are flip sides of the same crazy.

  11. If possible, I would always use subtitles. Some movies and games are too quiet to hear voices (Batman, anybody?) and subtitles really do help.

  12. I don't mind subtitles, but in a video game or movie where they are speaking English I prefer them to be able to be heard clearly. It is more annoying though when I the voices aren't clear AND the subtitles are in a hard to read font and too small to read on screen. I have no issue with subtitles in movies when it is appropriate, and I will usually put them on my video games too just to make sure I catch everything. The poor choice in fonts usually makes that a little discouraging in video games though (which is why they should hire me as the technical writer for games to help fix that problem!) haha.

  13. I have ADHD, so subs help make sure I catch everything that is being said. If I'm focused on one thing and someone starts talking, my brain hears the talking and tries to divert my attention to to it. However, it doesn't hit the record button till after it has my attention so I have no clue what they are saying because I've missed the first half of their sentence Q_Q That and a lot of games put a lot of work into the background audio. Some of the funniest moments in games are barely audible because they are in the background.

  14. I received proof today that the internet seeks ideas and approval from My netflix app updated today with the inclusion of subtitles.

    Maybe we should start posting with real names and email addresses so they'll call us and offer awesome jobs? lol

      1. Haha. I've been interviewing like crazy for jobs.

        I have a dream job of sorts lined up for interview on Monday. Accounting IT Consultant at a very old firm. The ultimate geek accounting job. I love some of the pre screening questions:

        "if a client requested you on site to install hardware and then train their staff would you be opposed to it?"

        the questions got more technical but I can't believe something like that is a hang up for some accountants. The only one I was taken aback by was if I could amend software coding. I told them I'd have to learn the syntax but the science wouldn't be a problem.

  15. I only use subtitles if i can't hear the game or i can't have the game too loud but other than that, i'm subtitle free.

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