I find that I play a lot of games with the volume muted. I’m subscribed to over 30 podcasts and in order to listen to them all and play games at the same time I have to mute the games. So I will frequently choose to play games in which the sound is inessential. This is mostly RPGs, racing games, sports games, games that I’ve already completed before and Little Big Planet. I probably play about 40% of my games muted. Sometimes I’ll even play Lumines muted so I can focus more on clearing blocks.
The only game I can’t play muted is Patapon. It’s rhythm based and you have to base your rhythm on the rhythm you hear so any kind of outside noise can mess up your concentration. The need for absolute silence to play it is one of the reasons that I only got half way through it.
I play most games with sound on, but when I am playing something that I care less about, the volume goes down, the story is ignored, and the podcasts or music come out. My best examples are Dark Void and Dark Sector. I simply did not find the story in those games fun and I mainly played them for achievements at a point, so I ignored most of what goes on.
Every game gets a chance though.
I almost never mute my games. As when I'm playing them, I'm almost always completely focused on them. (I'm not a multi-tasker like most of ye! :P )
For a reason completely unrelated to multi-tasking though, there is one game I always mute. >_>
I'm surprised at the results so far. Who knew the majority of Giant Bombs forumites have played games muted?
As to the opposite I got an expensive surround sound headset. Maybe it's just me but it doesn't help much with FPS. and there are cords everywhere!
I got a decent headset with a 3 meter cord so I could play Rock Band in the middle of the night. I find that it does help me play better. My scores tend to be 3-5% better than without.
Normally NO. There are times when I mute the sound if it's distracting. In Dead Space I was stuck on the asteroid shooting turret level. I played it so many I just wanted to break the disc in half. I read some tips about adjusting the brightness to see asteroids sooner and turning of the sound. I tried a few times with the brightness turned up then gave in on the muted sound tip. Got passed it on the first try. I have tried this on a few other games with sequences like that and it helped me. Normally I prefer the game music and sounds.
MMO's and Battlefield 3 are pretty much the only games I've done this in, though I don't mute the sound, just lower the volume a bit so it won't interfere with listening to podcasts. For pretty much every other game I instead turn the volume for the game's music up quite a bit (they tend to set that to really low for some reason).