Dear Video Game Makers

I love your game. It's really quite novel and entertaining. OK, maybe not that novel, but I was kind of out of the game market for a couple years, so I missed it the first time you did it. I'm sure your implementation is much better than that other company's. Really, bravo.

However, as much as I'm enjoying your game, I have a minor nitpick. It's very dialogue-heavy, with a lot of character and plot exposition going on in dialogue. I love that, truly. No arguments there. The voice acting is good, and I really am getting into it, far more so than the last few Star Wars films, for example. However, there's a teensy little problem.

OK, not that little. This is a 23-pound problem. His name is Ian. Ian is a small child. He likes to make noise, whether by babbling aimlessly or by saying "DADADADADADADADA" or (more rarely, and usually when he's upset) "MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA" or (and this is a recent favorite) by banging a coffee cup on a hard surface like a blacksmith getting started on his masterpiece.

Subtitles. I'm asking for subtitles.

I know it's an extra step. And I appreciate that your people are already overworked and underpaid and haven't bathed in a week because they're trying to tweak the video codecs to make the game run just 7% better on my outdated budget video card. It's cool. I get it. And don't think I don't care about those things. But if I can't hear the dialogue because Ian is practicing his tyrannosaur roar to announce his pleasure at the discovery of a colorful object under the couch, then it really doesn't matter how much time and money you put into tightening up the script and making a story line that actually makes sense because I'm not going to hear it.

If it were just the combat, I could get by without the yells and curses and tersely worded commands. I turn the volume down on those parts often anyway, on the off chance that Ian really is listening to the words being used around him. But the story dialogue, the cut scenes, the exposition where the bad guy explains the plot--those things need to be clear and unambiguous. I won't get another chance to watch the cut scene (that option seeming to have disappeared from games in the last few years), so I've got to get it the first time.

It's cool if you can't swing it. I understand. Really. But I only have so many hours a week to play video games, and if I don't get into the story, it doesn't matter how cool the weapons upgrades are.

At the least, you could throw in a journal feature; most RPGs I've played have at least a rudimentary journal, and some (thank you Neverwinter Nights) are quite good. This would allow me to find out what the dialogue was supposed to reveal after the fact. I'll settle for that.

Really, not much else to complain about. Sure, 90% of the stuff you guys are releasing out there is utter crap, but I can only afford to play maybe 1% of the games that are coming out, so it's not a huge problem for me. Not knowing where to take the Widget of Ultimate Badassery after I slay the Malevolent Gazebo of Doom because I couldn't hear the dialogue is a problem. Понятно?