Am I the only one who has trouble understanding the dialogue in games a lot of the time?  Am I the deaf one?

After the impact of yesterday's posts, I thought I'd do something a bit quieter today.  Probably won't get near the views and comments, but that's ok. 

I bought Singularity yesterday (oh no, an Activision game!!!  Call out the boycott!), and though I'm currently in the middle of Mass Effect 2, I gave it a whirl to make sure that the game worked ok.

I didn't play it long, but I did like what I saw.  The graphics aren't top notch, but they're decent.  I've only killed one thing, though (yes, it does begin a bit slow if you're an action junkie, but it sets up an interesting-sounding story), so I can't tell you anything about the actual gameplay itself.

During the opening narration, I realized that I (as usual) forgot to turn the subtitles on.  It usually takes me the first bit of dialogue before I remember.  So once the cut scene ended, I went into the Options menu, clicked on "Visual" (or whatever they called it), and saw...the ability to change the brightness of the game.  That's it.

What????  No subtitles?

I can't imagine a story-based game nowadays that doesn't have subtitles.  I have found subtitles to be invaluable for my enjoyment of a game, for a couple of reasons:

1) In many games, in order to get the dialogue understandable, you have to bump down the Sound FX and Music to the point where I don't feel immersed in the game.  Either that, or I have to turn up the volume of the TV, which makes the Sound FX and Music REALLY loud.

But most importantly for me...

2) I play games in my living room, where my wife is often working on our PC.  Sometimes she's just goofing around, but sometimes she's actually working (she's a transcriptionist, which means she needs to hear what she's typing).  Or she's in bed, and I don't want the TV to be too loud.  The subtitles make sure I don't miss anything.

Subtitles just mean you can keep your TV at a reasonable volume.  It makes things easier on the game player.

So why would a game with dialogue ship without subtitles? Just in the little bit I've played, there have been lots of audio things (a short little movie about the island you're on, some audio logs, announcements over a loudspeaker).

Do you turn on the subtitles in your games?  And what do you think about a game that *doesn't* have subtitles?  Are you as annoyed as I am?