Playing video games
is a great escape from reality, but sometimes reality seeps into your fantasy. Spouses or significant-others needing your attention, pets or kids requiring your parental guidance, or parents demanding your filial service—whether you're a kid, adult, or elder, it's likely enough that you're going to be interrupted while gaming occasionally.
That can be a frustration in Japanese developer FromSoftware
's recent games, because classically, the Souls
titles have never had any ability to "pause" the game. While tapping a button to put a gap in the action has been a staple feature of home video game systems since the early 1980s, FromSoftware's dark fantasy titles haven't implemented the function largely due to their nature as online games. If you can pause, you can't be invaded by another player seeking to add your skull to their pile.
FromSoftware's latest release
is called Elden Ring
, and even though it doesn't bear the moniker, it follows the tradition of the Souls
games quite closely. Except, as it happens, there is a way to pause the game in Elden Ring
—even if it isn't strictly intended. You see, unlike previous Souls
titles, Elden Ring
includes a more traditional tutorial area, complete with pop-up messages explaining game mechanics for new and returning players. During the display of these messages, the game is paused.
"So what," you might ask. Well, as demonstrated in this Twitter video by popular Souls
-series YouTuber IronPineapple
, you can force the popup of a tutorial message anytime by going to your inventory screen and requesting an explanation of that menu. It'll pop up some information on the menu that you're in, and while it's showing you this, the game is paused.
Note that the reason this works is because Elden Ring
does not allow invasions when playing solo, which means there's no risk of unapproved or unannounced multiplayer activity. This change has been somewhat controversial, with a few veteran players decrying Elden Ring
as being for "casuals" since the game's famous player-vs-player combat is now entirely opt-in.
As should probably be obvious, this trick will not work while you're engaged in multiplayer, so unfortunately, you're back to trying to explain to mom or the missus that you can't pause a multiplayer game.