Games Aren't Important

9 Feb 2024

This is the second time I've accidentally bought a single-player game that doesn't let me pause.

I googled for the reasoning and potential solutions1, and the apparent justification is that this is "more hardcore", it's a "skill issue", and if I can't guarantee being completely uninterrupted for an unknown period of time, I should "go home noob".

Nothing you do on a computer screen is hardcore. Doing hard, risky, strenuous things in the real world, that's hardcore.

But more importantly, I don't care how beautiful, touching, and involving your game is (and I've played some amazing ones) - it simply will never be the most important thing I'm doing. I have a partner, friends, a job, a bedtime, a doorbell, and all of these things are more important to me than any game will ever be.

If your singleplayer game doesn't let me pause at any time (including cutscenes), or save-and-quit at any time, then it doesn't respect me as a human.

Of course, games are art, made by artists, and it's absolutely your right to make any game you want.

But I really should stop buying2 them.


  1. Universal Pause Button works well in my testing, though it doesn't fix the save-and-quit problem.

  2. I'd like to see some kind of "nutrition label". Maybe call it "Game/Life Balance" - five stars means both pause and save work all the time, one star is "arcade machine style". Players could still opt to lock themselves out via a settings menu if they want to feel hardcore.