I Don't Need To Play Games With Captions, But I Do It Anyway. Anyone Else?

In-between all the explosions, I need a little help. Or maybe it's just a weird habit.

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Aug 10 2017, 3:05pm

Image courtesy of Ninja Theory

While playing through Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, a game with incredible and sometimes overwhelming audio, I realized a strange tick of mine, specifically related to video games: I turn the captions on. This isn't true for movies, unless I'm watching a foreign film, but more often than not, if I'm playing a video game, I'm doing so with text scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

I don't need them for accessibility reasons, yet I'm glad they exist! I use 'em!

There's good reason to have the captions on, obviously. Unlike a movie, you're interacting with a video game, so it's easy to have your attention elsewhere, and captions provide an easy way to pick up on an audio cue you might have missed.

That said, captions bum me out, because it doesn't give me a chance to take in the performance that's happening on-screen. This is especially true in a game like Hellblade, which uses motion capture to display incredibly detailed and emotive performances by the actors involved. It often feels like a disservice to be reading what they're feeling before they actually get around to telling me.

Am I the only one here? What are your captions habits in video games?

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