To mute or not to mute

April 15, 2019

Still struggling with the question wether or not i should add mute buttons to my games.

Yesterday i had an interesting topic brought up by a kind player in the comment section of dead sticks over at itch.io. The player, who called himself Computers Don't Compost, was making a feature request for a mute button, so he could listen to his own music while playing the game. I thought that was a very valid point, but yet i went ahead and replied with this cocky statement:

I understand your point.
But i also must say that imho a game does not feel complete without audio. In the beginning of the cinema there was no sound on a movie and only by the 1920's it became technically possible and after that you simply couldn't release a movie without sound. A lot of the websites today are completely silent experiences, which i feel is a waste of 50% of the design space and kills the immersion.
A lot of games have a giant mute button in the top right corner of the screen and that button always bothers me, no matter how bad the sound of the game is... So as a design choice i opt out of the use of a mute button as it has nothing to do with the game itself.

The player answered that he found a way in the browser to mute a tab, which is very nice if you know how to do it, but not everyone is going to figure that out.

Maybe i am making wrong assumptions here for what the players expect from a game. Maybe i am making it all to arty farty.

Anyway i will try to make todo items for mute buttons for my next games, but on the condition that it is properly integrated into the design.