Why You Should Play With Subtitles

My husband, author of Falcon Game Reviews, thought it would be a good idea to have a… hmm… discussion of sorts. He wrote an article about why gamers shouldn’t play with subtitles on. It is filled with pretty screenshots he took when he re-played Mass Effect 3 with a side of humor.

This is my rebuttal.

Read his article and then come back here.

Did you read it? I did. I forgot to butt punch him. I guess I’ll have to make good on that promise…

Why You Should Play Games With Subtitles On


Sometimes your spouse will want to show you goofy videos or tell you what is going on in his/her video game while you’re playing yours. Subtitles allow you to pay attention to your spouse and also know what is going on in what you’re doing.

Subtitles Don’t Ruin Screenshots, They Add To Them

Who cares if it ruins your screenshot? The subtitles are good for people who like to screenshot a certain moment. The words allows the audience to see what is going as well as read it. What if Kaidan said something super funny to Garrus while riding up the elevator on the Citadel? You can’t capture that with an image, unless you have the subtitles on.


I took this screenshot because I thought the saying was hilarious… I mean, c’mon guys, what do you see? (Shelby: Nice screenshot notification in the top-left, noob)

Without subtitles in this picture you would see the guy about to chop off my head and Alduin approaching. Boring. The subtitles add context and content. See? Good for screenshots.

And those comments to his super-duper-awesome-Mass Effect 3-gallery, they’re just kissing his butt. Butt kissers. I should play ME3 now WITH subtitles and do the same thing.

They Don’t Distract From The Game (Husbands Do That)

They distract you from the game? No. You know what distracts me from the game? A spouse that watches those Monster Factory YouTube videos and laughs crazily and then pauses it and makes me watch them with him while I am playing my game. I have been playing ReCore lately (I really need to finish that) and it has some hairy situations it it. During several moments of I-am-near-death the husband will be like, “Hey, check this out.” NOT RIGHT NOW CAN’T YOU SEE I AM ABOUT TO DIE????!!!! And then I die and he feels bad (Shelby: I never felt bad). I can’t tell you how he has survived for this long.

Okay, anyway. They don’t distract you from the game, they should assist you in becoming more versed in what is happening. Sometimes voice actors talk funny or use weird accents that make it difficult to understand them, thus ruining the experience because you don’t know what the heck is goin’ on! 


Thank you for adding that context, Ralof. Otherwise, I may not have found that out. 

You Read Things You Should Understand (You Don’t Know Me)

How do you know I don’t speak Czech? (Shelby: I will quiz you later then) You don’t know my life. Maybe I am like James Bond and just somehow can speak like ten different languages. Beside, even if I don’t speak Czech (not saying I don’t) then the subtitles help me know what that douchepants said behind my back and now I have a good reason to punch him in the face.

Right Or Wrong?

Finally, Shelby is wrong (Shelby: Pfft). Or I don’t know, who cares? Get off my back about my subtitles!

The Comments

Here are some comments made on his post by some fine people:

iplayed the game said,

I keep them on for dialogue in gameplay moments. When the background noise is loud, I sometimes can’t hear what’s being said so I have them on to glance down and pick up key words (driving in open world games, shooting in FPS games) to avoid missing something important. You point about body language in cutscenes is interesting though.

I bet he is talking about kids, or his spouse…

Mr Panda said,

I play with them on, and if there’s an option to enlarge them, I do that too. Subtitles help me because I usually need more than just audio cues to understand what people are saying, especially if they’re using in-game lingo or have an accent. Sometimes, I play with the sound off too, out of necessity, so they work great when they’re options. I don’t think you’re wrong in not using subtitles while you play, but others should play games how they want and with what works for them.


Mr Panda is right to play with them on. Here’s to you, Mr Panda.

James Dixon said,

I tend to play with subtitles too – all other things being equal. A lot of that’s because I’ve become weirdly addicted to subtitles in general – all TV programmes here have Portuguese subtitles on them – and whilst I’ll happily ignore them 90% of the time, it’s great if you do miss something, because you can quickly glance down and get a second chance.

In games, it’s a trade off I think. Sometimes you’ll maybe miss a visual clue, or badly done subtitles might spoil something if they’re running a bit ahead – but they’re a massive bonus if the game’s loud, or if you’ve not fiddled with sound settings properly. There was one bit in the last CoD, for example, where I couldn’t hear what I was being told to do, and I’d pressed every combination of buttons in hopes of stumbling across it accidentally. After dying a bajillion times, I just turned on the subtitles and got it done first time.

What does really wind me up though, is when the subtitles aren’t exactly the same as the dialogue, but that’s probably a different discussion…… 😉

Did he know he was going to help fuel my argument by allowing comments on his post? Ah, no matter.

I can’t share with you all of the comments made on his post, because he has so many stinken comments, but I will say that there were some agreeing and, as you can tell from above, some that disagreed. Some were a mixture of yes and no.

So, who is right or wrong? (Shelby: I am right) Is there a right or wrong? (Shelby: Yes, you are) What do you think about playing with subtitles on/off? 

Thanks for reading! Happy Valentine’s Day!