Can't Pause or Save

The game does not allow you to stop playing whenever you want.

Many games have "save points" that you must reach before you can safely save your progress and stop playing. If these "save points" are too far apart, this dark pattern can appear. Forcing players to continue playing longer than they want to, just so they can save their progress, is a waste of the player's time.

It should be noted that many classic games, such as Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros, could not be saved because the technology to do so had not been invented yet, so it's not fair to label these games with this dark pattern. Modern games that have the ability to save should not unreasonably prevent you from doing so. By preventing you from pausing gameplay they are forcing players to stay in the game longer than they would have otherwise, resulting in a negative experience for the player.

Most online multiplayer games can't be paused because it would affect the other players. This is understandable. However, these types of games should provide frequent opportunities for players to step out safely without causing negative repercussions. This is often accomplished by having timed matches, so you know what you are committing to when you enter the game.

Sometimes games combine this pattern with social pressure to keep playing so you don't let down your teammates. This combination can create a unhealthy powerful drive to keep playing without breaks for long periods of time.


Fishdom Fishdom
"you have to have finished your minigame - if you exit before the end of your goes you lose that life"

IdleOn - Idle MMO IdleOn - Idle MMO

The Sims™ FreePlay The Sims™ FreePlay
"this isn't entirely relevant, but its important to consider. this is a real time life simulator, in which a main gameplay aspect is managing the needs of your sims. their motives continue to decrease even if you aren't actively playing the game. whether you want to or not, you're always playing the game."

Stardew Valley Stardew Valley
"the only way to save your progress in this game is by going to sleep at any time and progressing to the next day. 6am-12am in game lasts about 12 minutes, so you can only really save your progress every 12 minutes"

Chuzzle 2 Chuzzle 2
"i don't believe this is intentional, but there is no manual save feature or autosave indicator and if you close or leave the game suddenly it tends to lose level progress, which encourages you to finish minigames and click around for a bit to guarantee your progress isn't lost"

Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game
"No pause but the food items are timed"

Cat Game - The Cats Collector! Cat Game - The Cats Collector!
"The game will keep moving forward whether you take part or not. There’s always artificial scarcity in that time."

Mini Mini Farm Mini Mini Farm
"the order board refreshes every two minutes, so if you’re working on an urgent order you might not want to stop until it’s cleared"

Mystic Messenger Mystic Messenger
"I don't remember if you can suspend a game in progress if you know you're not going to be able to interact with it that day, but I don't think you can."

"Since matches are online versus other players you cannot pause the game while you are in a match (which is fair though)."