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"There's no pause feature. No, it's not an oversight. Does your life have a pause control?"
— The instruction manual for Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, in reference to Desert Bus

There are many types of games out there. Some are designed to be picked up and played for minutes at a time. Others spread out their Save Points in the interest of providing a a greater challenge. These games can use Save-Game Limits to prevent sessions from becoming too long or cumbersome while still preserving a sense of danger.

Without Save Game Limits, the only way to take a break from the game in-between save points is to pause the game. It's not the perfect solution, as the system has to keep running during the break, but it works.

Well, This Is Not That Trope.

There are a few games that have challenges where the simple act of pausing is forbidden, and you need to play for a considerable length of time. And you thought TV Tropes would ruin your life.

With some modern systems, the pause feature is hard-coded into the system, such as with the Wii (Press the home button), the Playstation Vita (press the PS button), and the DS (Close the lid), but it's possible to deny a prize when this feature is used (as is the case with the Trope Namer).

Arcade Games inherently don't have any sort of pausing feature, due to being designed to be played in public; a pause feature for these games means that one player could just hog the cabinet all day and prevent other players from putting in money to play. The player is expected to stay the entire time if they intend to complete the game, which, depending on the type of game, can take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour. And gods help you if the game's length is dictated solely by how long the player can stave off a game over, especially if you're aiming for a world-class score.

Moral Guardians may be shocked at the long list below, but this is actually a rare trope in popular modern games. Most of the examples are for very specific situations or obscure games.

Not related to Bottomless Bladder, which is about characters in any kind of medium never having the need to urinate, as well as other common daily tasks.

Compare Marathon Level and Marathon Boss. Anti-Rage Quitting, though well-intentioned, may bleed into this depending on how long the game takes to complete a round or match. Contrast Anti Poop-Socking, where the game implements features to keep people from doing Just One More Level! too much. Note that pausing has to be disabled, or breaks away from the game have to be met with a penalty, for a game to count as this trope. Checkpoint Starvation is its own thing.

If you don't have one and you try your hand at these sorts of games anyway, be prepared for a Potty Emergency or a Potty Failure.


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    Action Game 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: The lengthy unskippable intro, where you are given a trial by fire immediately after.
  • Red Steel 2 can be this when it comes to Challenge Mode, in which you must replay a single chapter in one sitting to earn a medal for it. That's right, there is no Auto-Save and if you have to quit and/or turn off your Wiinote , you'll have to restart the chapter from the beginning. This is especially a nightmare on very long chapters, especially Rattlesnake Canyon, making them Marathon Levels in their own right. Looks like the devs didn't think things through when they set up the Challenge Mode to not save during a chapter.
  • Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge has no save option or any continues. Combined with its difficult gameplay, it made the game near-impossible to beat.

    Adventure Game 
  • D or D no Shokutaku (Table of D) is based on a real-world three-hour time limit, with no pause function or saving. This does accomplish the goal of adding a genuine sense of urgency to the proceedings... but it also penalizes you for having to step away for any reason.
  • Nancy Drew: The Final Scene: Be sure you've made your peace with God and your bladder before starting a phone call because some of those calls go on for a while and there's no way to stop them. Remedied in later games, which prompt Nancy for her responses instead of making them automatic and allow a merciful breather.
  • If you want to listen to the culprit's full confession at the end of the game adaptation of And Then There Were None, you'd better make a quick trip to the bathroom before going upstairs because this particular Motive Rant goes on and on with no sign of stopping until the player's cue to step in and save the final victim.
  • In Omikron: The Nomad Soul, accessing your inventory doesn't actually pause the game: if you do it while standing in the street, you can get hit by a car and take damage. And you can't access your inventory at all while you're swimming, or during the fighting or FPS segments. To make it even more frustrating, you have to collect magic rings in order to save your game. So if you run out of rings, there's no way to step away from the game without losing progress.

    Driving Game 
  • Desert Bus, one of the minigames from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors. To quote The Other Wiki, "The objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph, a feat that would take the player 8 hours of continuous play to complete, as the game cannot be paused." It would be easy to bullshit this if the bus didn't gently veer to the right on its own. Canadian sketch-comedy group LoadingReadyRun ran a Desert Bus for Hope campaign, playing the 'game' continuously (and broadcasting it on a webcam) for almost four days to raise money for charity. They used alternating drivers, but they would have had to use the facilities during at least one person's shift. The third year one driver went for 12 hours straight. He did, however, pass off the controller on occasion to use the facilities. The fourth year they took turns taking 24 hour shifts, as they had so much practice that the game was too easy if they took the traditional 4 hours each. They went for nearly 6 days. But what else would you expect from the producers, Penn & Teller?
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune hands out special titles for continuing 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 times in a row. You'll need to have at least as many plays left on your card as you need continues to get the desired title, as card expiration will break your continue chain. You'll also need to make sure no one else wants to play, as continuing to play when other people are waiting to play and no other machines are available is considered very rude in many arcades. One possible solution is to get fellow players to play a few credits on your card while you go off to take a break.
  • While normally averted in the Forza series, where one can pause the game in the endurance races (which are generally only about an hour, unless in a custom race), one of the weekly events to win a Unicorn Car with a unique paintjob required players to do three hundred and sixty-five laps around the full Le Mans circuit - in an online lobby, which meant no pausing. The fastest time to complete the event was something like 23 hours.
  • The arcade versions of Daytona USA and Daytona USA 2 have operator settings to change the number of laps, from the stock 8 (Beginner) / 4 (Advanced) / 2 (Expert) laps to 80 / 40 / 20 in the original, or as many as 500 / 223 / 87 note  in 2. Again, this is an arcade game, so it inherently has no pause feature.

    Fighting Game 
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The games on the earlier systems lacked pause features, since pressing Start was to block. Even though the Super NES had the L and R buttons to do this (and mapped R to Run in Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate), it still had no pause (unless you unlocked the cheat menus, but only on MK3/UMK3). Same with Street Fighter on the 3-button Genesis controller, where pressing Start switched from punching to kicking (the 6-button controller did let you pause).
    • Mortal Kombat II: In order to unlock Pong, you need to have 250 wins... in a row. In a game without a pause function and automatic progression between screens, giving you a maximum of 98 seconds before having to inflict damage to your idle player 2 in order to avoid a draw. note 
  • This trope is actually an important rule in general competitive fighting game play. If a player pauses the game mid-match, they are disqualified and lose the match. In fact, Skullgirls has an "anti-pause" feature programmed that requires the player to hold the start button rather than press it in order to pause, specifically so that this doesn't happen on accident.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Combat Arms' Fireteam mode has a map called Cabin Fever, where a group of 8 defend a small cabin from highly resistant infected - for 45 minutes on the extreme difficulty.
    • And while there are breaks between each level, they are just long enough to reload three weapons, and then you have to start shooting again!
  • Halo has some pretty cruel examples:
    • For the Halo 3 achievement, Annual, needed to get Recon Armor, 4 players must together beat the final level on Legendary on Ghosts with Iron on. If one player dies, you must start again from the last checkpoint.
    • Halo 3: ODST gives you the Endure Achievement (also for Recon; noting a pattern?) where four players must all together survive through set 4 in firefight on Heroic. This task can easily last for three hours, and any one person leaving could result in the enemy breaking through and promptly killing everyone.
  • There's a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare server (and maybe other games) called "20 seconds to POOP".
  • VS mode in Left 4 Dead doesn't allow you to make your character go idle, thus if you really need to go away for a while, you either need to suck it up and play the whole game through, or leave the game and come back to start all over. While players could chill in the safe room while waiting for their AFK teammate to return, the safe room door in VS mode will eventually open on its own, allowing the infected (both the AI and the player controlled infected) to rush in and attack.
  • Call of Duty World at War's Nazi Zombies requires four players to play from the start of the game until their inevitable end, and if one player leaves for more than a couple seconds, it could put every player at risk of quick defeat because a choke point is left undefended. Depending on how well a game goes, it can be between one or two hours before the players finally die, allowing for a quick bathroom break before a rematch.
  • Borderlands: The Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot DLC has three larger challenges that each involve completing 20 rounds of 5 waves of enemies each, with the enemies getting harder each round and more modifiers being added (like enemies with stronger shields, enemies only take damage from criticals, players being restricted to a certain weapon, etc):
    • If you're doing it solo, you can pause, but with other people you can't, although after each round you do get a screen that will stay up until one person presses OK, so you can take your breaks there.
    • This is made worse by the fact that if you or your team should lose, you get sent back to the beginning of the previous round. Not wave, ROUND, I.E., lose on round 9, wave 4, get sent back to round 8, wave 1. This means unless the player(s) are exceptionally good, most people are looking at more than 20 rounds. The large challenges will take around five hours at the very least.
  • Killing Floor gives you about a minute between rounds, which is usually spent mostly by moving to the trader location to restock ammo or buying new weapons (though smart players will already have done so during the round when only a few enemies are left), and heading for a good spot to hole up in for the next wave. Pretty much the only good chance to take a break is between levels or if you get yourself killed early during a round.
  • In PAYDAY: The Heist, the First World Bank has a secret room that can only be opened on the Overkill 145+ difficulty after doing some convoluted steps to make the door appear. To access the secret vault, you have to let the drill do its job for 2 hours. This means you can't take a break since the game lacks a "go idle" feature and the waves of cops are near endless. Better hope your connection doesn't suddenly drop!
    • A patched changed the requirements where you can access the vault on any difficulty and the time needed to wait is 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. Much more manageable, but it's still long enough where you can't afford to walk away without problems.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Mann vs. Machine mode, especially if you're playing Mann Up: you're paying real-world money for the goodies at the end. Any chance to take a break is between waves, and you only get enough time when nobody is ready yet: once three players the "Get Ready" button the timer to start the next wave beginsnote . And more often than not, the server than you connect is always on the first wave. And don't even get us started on Wave 666.
    • Most rounds are timer-based and award additional time to the attacking team when control points are captured. This can result in some truly grueling holdouts on the final control point. In particular, Dustbowl Stage 3 features a meat-grinder of an engagement for the final control point, and if the attackers were moving quickly enough, they may have racked up to 25 minutes of time to assault the final point. God help you if you're the only medic or engineer for either team, as you will be on-duty the entire time. Going AFK in the spawn room for a break means you won't get shot at, but your team will be a man down while you're out and that will probably be held against you if your team loses (especially if they lose while you're taking your break).
  • Deep Rock Galactic doesn't allow players to take a break in the middle of a mission unless they are playing in solo mode. While it is possible for someone to step away from the game, the game does periodically spawn waves of enemies, thus you can't really afford to be AFK.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Sacred 2 on the PS3 has no pause function, even if you go to your inventory. The only way to "pause" is to save and exit, and when you return you're at your last save point.
  • In Dead Rising's Infinity Mode, you have to stay alive for as long as possible while your health slowly decreases. The Infinity +1 Sword could be earned if you stayed alive for five in-game days (ten real-life hours). You could also earn a pair of boxers for an in-game week (fourteen hours). Most guides recommend stockpiling food and finding a safe spot to let your health drain, minimizing the amount of time you need to spend playing the actual game, but you need to plan things out a bit for that route.
    • And even with the best of planning it is entirely possible that, due to the hardware running for so long, certain areas basically become kill screens; meaning a very real possibility of a full-blown game crash to occur when switching between areas resulting in unceremonious failure.
  • You cannot pause Diablo II when playing online, as with most multiplayer online games. This becomes especially rough when you play "hardcore", where when you die the game deletes your character. However, your character cannot be attacked in town, so as long as you carry some town portal scrolls, you can use them as a sort of pause.
  • Diablo III lets you pause if you're in a private single-player game. If your game is public and/or multiplayer, you can't, as indicated by the text on the ESC menu.
  • Path of Exile disallows pausing, period. Even if you're not in a party and you're not in a town!

    Maze Game 
  • Most older arcade games have this potentially, but the devs didn't really expect anyone to play for that long on one quarter.
    • Pac-Man is known for a trick to avert this in which you can "park" Pac-Man in a certain location and be guaranteed that the ghosts will never get him.
    • There are Asteroids players who stock up 99 lives, take breaks while the ship is left to die a few dozen times, then resume play.

  • In MMOs, pausing is generally either not possible or disadvantageous. Extreme examples of this trope include:
    • The Pandemonium Warden in Final Fantasy XI. Even after the patch, it has a 2-hour time limit.
      • Argus in Final Fantasy XI is a notorious monster that, when killed will respawn 18-30 hours later. That means any time within a timeframe of 12 REAL LIFE HOURS this mob could pop. To have any chance of claiming him, you have to stay until you either get him, or he is killed so you know when the window for the next spawn is open. So hardcore players often spent the full 12 hours camping him. Thankfully the item the mob drops also drops in a more convenient instance, but for the longest time, the only way to get that item was to be willing to camp for up to 12 hours a day and schedule your life around its respawns. Even less intensive notorious monsters could easily have a spawn time of 2-4 hours. Combine that with competition or bad luck and it was very easy to spend an 8 hour day for two attempts at a monster's drop.
    • For a substantial time after release, attempting to finish the Fight Caves challenge in RuneScape had no possible way of leaving your computer, save for getting lucky and trapping the last enemy of a round behind a wall (which was still limited by the 90-second inactivity log-out). The Fight Caves, with the equipment available at its release, took an average of 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete. Luckily, you can now save what wave of the challenge you're on by trying to log out, which will send you back into the cave at the same wave the next time you log in.
    • The final area in zOMG! takes a minimum of two hours to complete. And that's just if you have a competent crew. You have to make your way through Shallow Seas, the Robofish cave, and Sealab Compound just for a chance to fight the Chapter 1 boss. And it's an instance, meaning that if you exit the game for whatever reason, you have to start over from the beginning. Casual MMO, my eye!
      • Dead Man's Shadow takes this to extremes: if you want to do a boss run, it's generally accepted that you should set aside a bare minimum of ten hours. And that's assuming you're attuned (once you reach a certain area for the first time, you become "attuned", which gives you the ability to skip past the first section of the maze).
  • EVE Online. Due to the one-server nature of Eve, it's possible for enemies in different timezones to schedule their assaults of player-owned structures so that the defenders will have to play at inconvenient times or accept their losses. However, the reinforced mode system alleviates this problem somewhat: If the enemy succeeds in assaulting a player-owned structure, it becomes invulnerable for a certain number of hours, which can be adjusted by the owner beforehand. If the defender correctly estimated the time of the attack, the structure will exit reinforced mode at a time when the defender can organize an effective defense.
    • The reality being that it actually gets a ticking timer until it comes out of reinforced. Expect a large battle at that time if the attackers and defenders are both serious, otherwise...
  • The now-abolished honor ranking system in World of Warcraft awarded points according to the relative lethality of the character among their respective faction: the most-lethal character received the lion's share of the points, the next-best got half of that and so on. If you had points above a certain threshold, you attained the next rank. Unfortunately, the point requirements went up exponentially. In practice, to attain the highest ranks of Grand Marshal (Alliance) and High Warlord (Horde), you had to fight almost nonstop for several months. To make this even remotely tolerable, many players opted to play the same character in shifts, even if account-sharing was against the rules. And to make things worse, you lost a portion of your already-accumulated points each week, so not playing for a while could negate weeks of effort. In the earliest incarnations of the system, losing a rank also made your hard-earned gear unusable, making it necessary to maintain the breakneck pace.
    • WoW has a more straightforward example with its instances, especially those in the original pre-expansion game. Some, like Blackrock Depths, take a good eight hours to complete. They all offer breaks in the action where players can say "BRB" and go relieve themselves, refill their Mountain Dew, tend to any sobbing, neglected children, etc. Thankfully, the newer instances are about an hour tops.
      • That would be Blackrock Spire, Which consisted of no less than FIVE (though two are raids) "separate" zones. Though you can move from one to the next with only having to leave the instance once, from the dwarven/elemental area to the dragon/orc one. Before the newest expansion, there was an Escort Mission in the Dwarven area that was at the very LEAST a half-hour long in and of itself, with the potential for the escortee, Marshal Winsdor, to die, causing you to have to RESTART THE DAMNED THING. BRD gave many a player grey hair and Cross-Popping Veins. A full clear of the mountain, not counting the two raids, at the proper levels (54-60) would take about 10 hours or more. The raids themselves, Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, would take about the same amount of time each when they were considered end game.
  • Phantasy Star Online has no pause function, even if you're playing offline only missions. Hitting pause would just bring up the menu and move the gameplay to the top-right of the screen.
  • Crews on Puzzle Pirates sometimes go on several-hour-long raids (some crews go out for 12 hours, some have even done 24 and beyond). This involves repeatedly attacking ships on the high seas, and stopping at port only to offload loot, resupply, and sail right back out. Expect the crew's captain and senior officers to remain on duty for hours on end. Junior officers seeking promotion will also try to stay active as long as possible. Due to the way that individual player actions influence the effectiveness of the ship they're on, a single crewmate "hopping off for a quick whiz" can cost the crew an hour's work, so Steel Bladders are practically required. Fortunately, during port resupply, most crewmates can run to the loo, and in the middle of a journey, you can take a minute out to free that bladder real fast. Not so for the captain, who has to run to the store and pick up more cannonballs. Some captains have been known to fall asleep at the wheel during the later stages of a long raid. It is yet unknown how many have spontaneously exploded due to rising internal urine pressure.
    • Some pirates play on laptops.
    • Raids? Try blockades: the above with Ventrilo and higher stakes.
    • This was exploited in a similar way to the above EVE example; by scheduling attacks at unreasonable times, one particularly infamous Griefer by the name of Robertdonald forced defenders to log on to play at extremely bothersome times or risk losing a high-stakes battle by default. Then he would frequently not show up and let the defenders win by default, repeatedly doing this solely to bully people until he got banned for it.
  • The game mechanics of Vanquishing in Guild Wars falls into this when you attempt it in the original game's zones. Vanquishing a zone requires you to kill every active mob in a zone without moving to another instance(which resets the counter). Due to a lack of outposts linking the zones in the Prophecies campaign, you'll either need to do suicide runs to the non-linked areas or chain Vanquish zones. This is while every hour you received a notice to take a break.
  • A lot of browser games fall into this trap, particularly Evony and Tribal Wars. To keep your military and resources up to speed you basically have to be on 24/7. The only real way to win is, indeed, not to play.
  • Wizard101 has several bosses that can take an hour or two to kill especially if the player does not have a full team. While a player does occasionally have a minute to make a mad dash for a quick bathroom break if they make their move at the beginning of the round note  if one of the spells with a longer animation has been cast. Oh, and was it mentioned that these take place in instances that can easily take several hours?
  • Final Fantasy XIV had two dungeons at the end of 2.0 that were very lengthy and contained a lot of cut scenes. Watching the cut scenes without skipping them can run you a good 30 to 45 minutes for the first dungeon and a solid hour to an hour and a half in the final dungeon. At the time, you could skip the cut scenes, but this created a problem where players that were only in the dungeons for the rewards would pressure or outright harass new players to skip the cut scenes so everyone can get a move on. The developers learned from this and designed future content to have major cut scenes only taking place after the dungeon/trial is finished. It wasn't until patch 4.3 (almost five years later!) that the developers made it where those two specific dungeons cannot have their cut scenes skipped nor can you speed through the text boxes. The game also has some very lengthy cut scenes near the end of a major expansion/patch (usually the X.5 series of patches) that can run for more than an hour and the game outright tells you to side aside time if you plan to watch them.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 6 has Endurance Alley mode, in which the objective is to win 100 mini-games in a row - without save points. However, it is much easier if you have only unlocked a few mini-games.
  • Anticipation does not let you pause during the puzzle mode. You can only pause on the board game part.

    Platform Game 
  • Mega Man 9 has the "Gamer's Day" challenge wherein you must beat the games 5 times in one day. Pausing and saving are allowed, but it meets the trope qualifications in spirit, as Real Life Time Keeps On Ticking.
    • It doesn't actually mean that you need to beat the game from the beginning to the end 5 times in 1 day: you only need to beat Wily's castle 5 times, which is far easier if you keep a savefile handy.
  • Ghostbusters II on the NES doesn't have a pause function. Attacked by The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    "I mean, if you have to answer the phone, or take a shit, it's like, 'Tough shit if you gotta take a shit!' You gotta take a quick shit! You gotta have turbo turds! I'm trying to play the game, I've got shit stains in my pants, and an answering machine that says 'Sorry, I'm playing Ghostbusters 2 on Nintendo.' What a selfish game. Bottom line, have a fucking pause button, god damn it!"
  • You can't pause in Stinkoman 20X6. You can, however, usually find a safe place to stand quite easily, where you can stay idle as long as you like. There's even a safe spot in the first boss room.
    • However, standing idle in Level 7 is actually hazardous as you will take damage from the cold no matter where you are.
  • Because the bosses in Sakupen's Dadgame were not tough and frustrating enough, pausing is disabled when you fight them (though it's allowed everywhere else in the game). Some of those bosses are fairly lengthy and very difficult fights, therefore the forbidden pause can cause a great amount of frustration if you're close to beating a boss when you're distracted.
  • The flash game Pause Ahead is an interesting use of this trope. It doesn't prevent you from pausing the game, but if you pause your character will still move in the direction you moved him in. Lots of puzzles in the game require the pause button. This means that you will pause the game to play it, making it nearly impossible to use the pause button to pause the game for real.
    • Unless you don't move at all before pausing. In this game, pausing only maintains the momentum until the game's unpaused. So no momentum = actual pause break.
  • cat planet has no ability to save, requiring the player to beat the game in one go. There's no way to pause either, but there is no penalty for death and the player can just sit motionlessly.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In the freeware game Irisu Syndrome!, attempting to click away from the game window on your 13th playthrough will result in... a little surprise.
  • The NES version of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! has no pause feature during a match. To compensate, round intermissions and pre- and post-fight screens wait for the player to press Start to begin or resume the bout.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Rock Raiders had levels that couldn't be saved and played for up to an hour, making them highly frustrating both for the (usually young) player and their parents. However, it wasn't that bad, since the game usually crashed long before finishing the mission.
  • League of Legends and other MOBA games require anywhere between 15 minutes and over an hour for a single game, and there's no telling how long a game will take - the more balanced the teams are, the longer until one or the other wins. And if you go AFK in your base when nature calls, there's a good chance when you get back you'll be staring at the defeat screen and four angry teammates calling you all sorts of names and threatening to report you.
    • It should be noted though, that there are death timers. If you get killed, you stay dead for a while, and in longer games, this can take over a minute. If you're fast, that's enough.
  • In Eufloria the player can't save while playing a level, which usually take at least an hour.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Rock Band 2 has the Trope Namer in the form of an achievement/trophy: beat "the Endless Setlist" without pausing or failing. The Endless Setlist is every song in the game, all in a row. We're talking more than six hours, non-stop, without a break. Bassists and vocalists are the only ones that get a few spots where they can feasibly use the restroom (the ending for "Nine in the Afternoon" isn't -quite- long enough for the lead guitarist). Ever wondered why rock bands have a long guitar solo and a long drum solo in almost every live set? Well, now you know.
    • The achievement was probably thrown in there in response to people pausing in Rock Band 1's endless setlist, despite a couple ideal spots to actually use the restroom without pausing (most notably in The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" - the game actually tells you how long the break is in one of the loading messages and mentions that it might be a good spot to use said facilities. Unfortunately, this information is useless if you're playing vocals by yourself, because the game will shorten the length of the keyboard solo, making the break significantly shorter.)
    • Some individual songs can even be this if your group isn't prepared. Never say "I'll go after the next song" when someone has just picked, say, "Camera Eye" or "2112"note  by Rush.
    • Averted in Rock Band 3. While several challenges require you to play through 40+ song sets, the game pauses to show you scores between each song, giving you the opportunity to take a necessary break for as long as needed.
    • Also Averted in both The Beatles: Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band. Each has a challenge to finish the game's career mode within 24 hours, but this need not be over consecutive play-sessions.
  • Stepmania songs, whether made for keyboard or pad players, for the most part follow the 1:30-2:30 standard set by DanceDanceRevolution and In the Groove or run a few minutes longer than that. However, within the stamina community, 4-10 minutes is the standard length of a song and hour-long mixes are by no means rare. But there still are some feats of endurance - and bladder control - even other stamina players consider absurd...
    • Two hours of 140bpm 16th stream. That's 9.33 steps every second or 560 every minute. This was done all the way back in 2009 when barely anyone played songs longer than 10 minutes!
    • Pure Madness. An aptly named three-hour psytrance mix with no chance to take even a quick whiz. Starting off at 160bpm and speeding up all the way to 212bpm, it averages a little over 700 steps per minute.
    • Partially Averted by XS Project Full Collection, a seven-hour (yes, you read that right) hardbass mix featured in Stamina RPG 3. It has two completely empty 80-second long breaks, just long enough for a quick trip to the bathroom, and one clocking in at over two and a half minutes... But the first one of these is halfway through the mix, so the player's bladder still has to make it through three and a half hours!
  • The DanceDanceRevolution Endless Modes don't let you pause, but at least you get a break every few songs.
  • Some secret achievements in osu!! involve playing songs over 7 minutes long without pausing.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Because of their particular multiplayer mechanics, FromSoftware's Souls Like RPGs do not pause the game unless you exit to the main menu (except Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which has no competitive multiplayer). Accessing inventory? Sorry, game's still rolling. Need a break during a particularly long and insanely hard boss fight? Nope, tough luck. Checking PSN trophies? Still completely vulnerable to enemy attacks. Also, thanks to the online PVP system, even parking your avatar in a corner can quickly and easily lead to a bloody end. Keep in mind, this is in games that are already difficult enough to make grown men cry. However, the game saves your exact position when you quit (and if you are in the middle of a boss fight, quitting and reloading allows you to flee from virtually any boss), so, pretty much any time you aren't in combat you can stop playing without consequence just fine. This also became much less of a problem when the series went to PS4, since you can simply go into rest mode. It is technically possible to pause the game in Elden Ring when not in a world shared by other player, but the method is so bizarre and obscureHow? , it was probably included by accident.
  • There is a trophy for finishing NieR in under 15 hours. The timer for this keeps ticking while the game is paused. Although it's forgiving enough that bathroom breaks won't hurt, if you need to step away for something longer, like a meal, you're out of luck.
  • Two of Nippon Ichi Software's spin-off titles, Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman and Cladun: This is an RPG try to force a surprising level of commitment from you. Unlosing Ranger uses the Rogue Like / Mystery Dungeon model, but doesn't allow you to make a quicksave during dungeons except at a caravan stop. Cladun is an action-RPG where even though the main levels are all self-contained and can be played individually, you can't pause except by putting the PSP into sleep mode. This only becomes a serious hassle in the random dungeon, where you go through multiple floors continuously.
  • A complex modpack released for the In Name Only Pirates of the Caribbean game involved (among other things) a challenge where a monk would give the player a relic that doubles their life or their combat effectiveness but disables the main menu (no saving, no loading, no quitting the game). The only way to get rid of it was giving it to another monk. There was only one such monk on each island.
  • Monster Hunter (2004): Compared to all subsequent games in the Monster Hunter series, this one has no pause button. This is an inconvenient in a world where a second's hesitation can (and often will) result in you being brutally savaged by a giant fire-breathing wyvern. It also doesn't help that most of these bosses can take about half an hour to kill. Feel the call ten minutes into fighting Rathalos? Tough break - either run to a new zone and hope it doesn't follow you (and eat you), or stick it out for another 30. Thankfully, this was averted in the newer versions of the game (G and Freedom), as well as all sequels released ever since.
  • A thankfully minor example is the Dream World introduced in Pok√©mon Black and White. It's a web game that only allows you to play for an hour each day. note  Presumably this was intended to keep kids from playing too much, but the problem comes from the fact that the one hour isn't one hour of actually playing; exactly one hour after you first start the Dream World, you're locked out until the next day, even if you quit to go do something else intending to come back later. So you have to actually be playing for the whole hour in a row, or else you miss out on some of the advancement you might have had.
  • There is one cut-scene towards the end of Star Ocean: The Last Hope that seems to be competing for some sort of award in obnoxiousness. Not only is it right after a fairly tough boss fight, but it's also unpauseable, chock-full of plot-critical info and somewhere in the region of 25 minutes long.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The Genesis/Mega Drive port of Grind Stormer/V-V allows you to disable pausing in the options menu.
    • As does Super Smash Bros. (starting with Melee) to prevent anyone from abusing the pause button to break their opponents' concentration and screw up their timing during a multiplayer match.
  • An interesting semi-aversion: there is an old Space Invaders clone for DOS called Space Intruders that would not let you pause. If you hit the pause button, the words "Pause Requested" would appear at the bottom of the screen; this means the game will pause for you after you finish the current wave. The intent was to keep the game frantic without fully succumbing to this trope.
  • Pretty much every game made by cactus. Clean Asia is the especially egregious case.
    • Forgetting to add a pause button is common in indie games.
  • "Caravan" modes in Star Soldier games keep the timer going even if the game is paused. This serves two purposes: First, Hudson ran a series of score attack events and keeping the timer running even during pause prevented one single player from hoarding the game. Second, this prevents Pause Scumming, punishing players who try to pause the game to take their time. Then again, these modes are only 2 or 5 minutes long, subverting this trope.
  • In Recca, there's a timer that keeps counting down even during the pause screen, and if it reaches zero it's an instant Game Over regardless of lives. This isn't a problem in Normal Mode, but it is in Hard Mode, which is much longer. Like Star Soldier, it's justified as it was made for an event.
  • 1942 is one of the longest arcade games that does have an ending, taking over an hour to complete its 32 stages.

    Simulation Game 
  • ATC, a text-based air traffic control game available on many open-source operating systemsnote , runs in real time, and with no pause. The main page says something to the effect of: "Deal with it, Real Life air traffic controllers can't pause the airplanes either".note 
  • Steel Battalion has missions that range from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, none of which can be paused (unless you unplug the controller, in which case it will wait for you to replug it in and hit the Start button), or even reset. Once the mission begins, you accept full responsibility for the loss of your mech, or death. If you fail too much and no longer have enough supply points for a new VT, you must start the game over. If you die, same deal.
  • Elite Dangerous cannot be paused which is particularly annoying because the "Pause" control doesn't actually pause the game. However, it does have a "Save and Quit" function which works as a (very slow) pause button.note 

    Stealth Based Game 
  • The Metal Gear series is infamous for its long cutscenes that can either invoke this trope if you insist on not missing out on the story, or serve as a good sandwich and bathroom break if you don't care or if you've seen it before. One of the most notorious stretches of non-gameplay occurs right at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, with a solid 30 minutes of cutscenes and codec chatter between the Metal Gear RAY boss fight and the final boss fight. And some of the cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots can run even longer than that, but thankfully MGS4 finally allows you to pause them by pressing the menu button.
    • But watch out! That Sons of Liberty half-hour cutscene includes a Press X to Not Die scene where Raiden is being suffocated, requiring the player to hammer Triangle to keep his oxygen bar full.
    • The top ranking for Guns of the Patriots can only be earned by completing the game within a certain time limit. Unfortunately, the time limit is fairly tight and any time spent in the pause screen is included. You can still save and quit the game, but habitually leaving it running while using the bathroom or answering the phone will result in rage once you are denied the ranking at the end. Of course the game never gives you any hints that pause time counts towards your total...

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Gears of War 2 and 3 feature Horde Mode, where a team of up to five humans fight 50 increasingly powerful waves of enemies. There is no safe time to pause, the rare exception being when a wave is failed—the game then waits until the host elects to either restart the wave or throw in the towel, assuming the other players don't also quit during that time (and comebacks are difficult, especially in 3, since fortifications are cleared and everyone reverts to their spawn weapons).

    Table Top Games 

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Comic Books 
  • Viz uses the character Sid The Sexist to send up old-time machismo, somewhat neanderthal attitudes, held by men in the north-east of England. One strip has Sid and his mates gannin' doon the pub to neck a few pints o' Broon. The lads are seen in the pub chugging down pints of beer - eoght or nine each, by the end - and getting visibly more uncomfortable as their bladders fill. But the Code of the Lad dictates that you hold it in and that the first man to crack and run to the bog under the pressure of a very full bladder is, by inexorable logic, a poof and a lassie who cannae hold it in. All four are seen playing a desperate game of Bladder Roulette, each praying that one of the others cracks first, so he can take all the censure, allowing the rest to go for a piss with their honour intact. And all the time they are trying to put on poker faces and shrug off painfully full bladders as if this is nothing...

  • While going out to see a movie (or theater, too) is wonderful fun, there's a feeling that you paid money to see it and you want to watch the whole thing - and there is no pause feature at the movies. Then they sell you a large soda and expect you to sit through the Ending Fatigue of a three-hour movie as if Nobody Poops was real and not just a fiction trope. "Intermission" in films was largely due to the need to change reels and has been phased out in the west.
  • Alfred Hitchcock famously tried to avert this by believing that the length of movies should be dependent on the size of the human bladder.

    Live Action TV 
  • If your favorite team is one of those playing in the Super Bowl, vying for the Vince Lombardi trophy, AND you're interested in watching the commercials, your bathroom break opportunities will be limited. If you want to see the halftime show, you're screwed.
    • Unless the power goes out at the stadium.
    • Or there are TVs in the bathroom, as sports bars are inclined to have.
  • Americans have their Super Bowl, Canada has Hockey in general. In fact, during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, with the Canadians and Americans vying for the Gold Medal, someone in Edmonton noticed interesting variations of water usage during the game. Canada won 3-2.

    Western Animation 
  • On August 21, 2014, the Fox Now (FXX) channel aired a marathon of all 552 episodes (at the time) of The Simpsons. All 25 seasons. A 12 day non-stop marathon. The commercials that advertised the marathon play off this trope by saying "We're all gonna die" while showing the fall of civilization because nobody is doing anything besides watching The Simpsons.
  • In Jumanji: The Animated Series, succumbing to this trope (or at least the food variation) is the reason Alan is trapped in Jumanji for the entire series. He was called away for dinner right as the game board showed the clue he had to solve to get out, so because he missed the clue, he couldn't solve his riddle and ended up trapped in the game for years.

Quit your bellyaching! It's 10 more miles til the next rest stop!


Video Example(s):


Bart's... unusual prayer

Bart references this trope by saying that he will have to wear a diaper for a gaming marathon.

How well does it match the trope?

2.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BladderOfSteel

Media sources: