Fun Pause Effects, Menus, and Loading Screens

This post was inspired by a very fun phenomenon being pointed out in this random video I got algorithm'd into watching about some guy (with pretty good commentary, idk who this guy is but I think I will smash that Like and Subscribe button) who Played Every RPG on the 3DO.

The 3DO game in question is **_Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: DeathKeep_ (1995)** for, as aforementioned, the 3DO. And the phenomenon is **pause functions and/or menu screens with their own special music track.** Specifically, ones that interrupt ongoing gameplay, not just ones where [almost half the game is sitting in the dedicated menu listening to the relaxing music. ](

The same videosmith also mentioned another prime example of special menu music, which is the Literally Legendary 7/10 banger **_The Legend of Dragoon_ (1999)** for the PlayStation.

I'll get the most obvious example out of the way and shout out the iconic pause menu lofi hiphop beat to study/relax to of **_GoldenEye 007_ (1997)** for the 64th Nintendo.

I'm trying to think of any sort of fun almost like internal pseudoattract mode animations or little fun details that have been added to pause functionalities or menus, but I'm kind of coming up blank. For some reason I feel like a _Kirby_ game out there has had something like that? But it's not my treasured _Kirby Super Star_ I don't think (or if it is I can't recall that it is because when I go to play _Kirby Super Star,_ there is no time to pause). But, surely, those are out there, I just can't think of any.

Another fun subtopic to that is what can happen to the currently playing music track when paused. Do you like a short little sound effect and then a sudden shift to total silence? Do you want the music to not be interrupted at all? How about a tasteful little bump down of the soundtrack in the mix that syncs with the fade to black?

Fun loading screens are pretty few and far between, and are perhaps even going to be a dying art as even consoles adopt SSDs and loading times become shorter and less common. But there is certainly still an art to it.

What are some other fun/interesting/interactive liminal or functional parts of games?

this isn‘t nearly on the same level, but as a person who was raised by TV and worked in TV for a few years, I really liked the Sly Cooper "We’ll be right back…" message on the pause menu. They really pushed the Saturday Morning Cartoon vibes in that game and that's about all that stuck with me from them.


@“Gaagaagiins”#p110372 Do you want the music to not be interrupted at all?

Only if what I was hearing already was really good!! I feel this way most strongly about battle themes in games that transition between exploration and combat. Sometimes those battle tracks just aren't very good. Okami did this and it just made me want to avoid combat altogether. BOTW on the other hand has a legit [banger]( of a combat theme that, ok I admit on a minimalist OST like that isn't interrupting much, but it also shocked me how polarizing it was and how attached to tradition people got that they couldn't appreciate the glitchy piano-heavy excitement that track delivers—I especially like where it goes at the halfway point with the strings and castanets. But anyway!!

I like when the pause menu screws up the frame you paused the game on, like when RDR2 throws up that collodion plate filter (*not* a daguerreotype; those were only popular for a couple of decades in the mid-19th century):


Or how in the Katamaris you get a readout of how big your katamari currently is in terms of some random object, with a slot machine to see it compared to something else.

I have this vague image of a game I've played where, when the game is paused, the image left on screen gradually fades or drains of its colour but I can't remember it by name at the moment…

One thing I enjoy in a pause menu is when it attempts to canonize itself by tying in with a device the protagonist carries around. Obviously the new Zelda‘s do that, but that’s honestly a pretty weak example compared to some others IMO. BOTW for example has menus that aesthetically match the Shieka Slate and sometimes they show link pull it out, but none of the stuff in the menu really tries to act like an app Link might have on his ancient fantasy Iphone.

One series that I think does that kind of thing in a more fun way are the Danganronpa games, particularly the 2nd one. The menu has a lot of simplistic cute art that reminds me a bit of LCD games, and does a good job at canonizing not only the pause menu existing at all, but also all the individual menu items. Seeing the status of your relationships with characters for example is framed as your "Report Card" which I really like because you can kinda roll with it within the context of the games school trip setting. The pause menu in Danganronpa 2 even has a digital pet that you can check up on, which is a completely unnecessary detail that doesn't impact too much, but I wholeheartedly love the fact that its there.


As for the question about preference for whether or not the music continues to play: I am definitely in the "keep playing the music" boat. Come to think of it, I've actually got a relevant anecdote that could subconsciously be influencing my opinion on this matter. I remember when Ocarina of Time 3D came out I was completely obsessed with it for a few months. I have a vivid memory of playing it all day once when I was home sick from school, and eventually falling asleep with the game paused while inside of the windmill listening to the Song of Storms. I remember doing the same thing in Super Smash Bros Brawl with that [amazing remix of Snowman from Earthbound](

I guess I like my pause menus to play my favorite game music on a loop so I can use it as a white noise machine for bedtime. Weird... Oh shoot- oh shoot! I just remembered something!!! Okay okay, take back what I said about Danganronpa 2 having my favorite pause menu. The best pause menu is Battletoads dude!!! Have you heard that gosh darn music!?!?

That's a joke.