Pause

Pause is one of those N64 homebrew games that seems almost lost to the annals of history. There’s not really much information about it, even after going through the rabbit hole of possible leads.

It was released in July 1997 by RedboX, who was a user on Dextrose that made a few other demos around that time. RedboX is mentioned in the ROM’s good name, but nowhere in the files. You’d assume that they’d want to be credited more, but instead all we get are some ads for The Trap.

You can get the ROM for Pause from this page, using the password “pausebyredbox”.

Text files

Pause Demo by RedboX (PD)

Zip file description:

               This File Passed through

   __________________________   ______________
   \__           .     o/  __) (____         .)         T1!FTP
    __) : .            /   |     |:         //   N64/PSX/SNES/CLASSIC
    \     .      :    /o   |_____|         '/         CONFERENCES!
     \\          .   /|          ~)     ___/
      \.  .        // |:       :  |:      ~:         BLACKBAG/SNK WHQ!
       \          o/  |.       :  |;   ____:__       MSFTUG IHQ!
        \ |      |/   |.    ___|  |   ~      o)      ICEAGE dISTRO!
         \|      |    |`   ~\  | o|         //       SERIOUS CODERs
          :______|    :______: |___)________/        & TRADERs ONLY!

   ______________________________   ____________
   \__           .     o/       o) / __);      .)
    __) : .            /   .   ./ /; \|       //    SiteOp: Stumble
    \     .      :    /   :.;  / /o  /|   :;  /
     \\          .   /        / (___/ |      /   Now accepting apps
      \.  .        //|       /  ____  |     /    Contact: Stumble
       \          o/ |o      \ /o   \ |  | /
        \ |      |/  |:  _   \\ ;   .\|: |/!st    or Email:
         \|      |   |.  \    .\     \\o |_         [email protected]
          :______|   :____)____/_______)___)

THETRIP.TAG

        This file rode a mean ass wave of electrons during its stay at:
           __________     ______        _______ _______ ___ _______
          /__     |  )   |   _. |      /__     i   __  |___)   __  )
           __)    | /____|    __|       __)    |. /__) :___:  ____/
          |:      |      |.   _)__     |:      |:     _|  .|.  |!st
          |.     o|o :   |:    o |     |.     o|o  :   i  o|o  |
          |_______|___:__|_______|     |_______|___:___|___|___|

       Serious Traders and Coders O.N.L.Y. -  T1 FTP - SiTEOP: Stumble

        - B L A C K B A G   W H Q -    /   - S N E A K E R S   W H Q - 
	- M S F T U G  Inet W H Q -    /    - I C E A G E   D I S T -
          Now taking apps!      Email: [email protected] for info

The demo is fairly straightforward. it’s a wavy rainbow pattern that flows. It’s fairly mesmerizing, kind of like a lava lamp. There is no music, and no input. It’s a bit strange, but I have no idea why this could be called ‘Pause’ as there is no way to pause the game.

The funny thing though is that the ROM file is extremely small. At first, I thought that it was strange that the .zip file was only 17 kB for a 2MB ROM. But then after looking at the binary for the ROM, you can clearly see that it’s all 0’s after 25,703 bytes. Clearly someone found use of the Makemask tool. It was probably padded that big so that it could be run by a Doctor V64 or something.

This means that 1.2% of the file is actual code, the rest is just padding. I just find this very impressive because something as simple as Nu0 is several times larger at 129 kB.

An attempt to find out more about Pause

I couldn’t find much about this homebrew ROM, so I tried to do some digging. I tried to look it up in various search engines, couldn’t find much about that. Even the places that usually host these demos are blank.

That’s when I noticed that both the zip file and thetrap.tag mention an email address [email protected] The email (and domain) are no longer active, and the domain is owned by a domain re-seller so there’s nothing left of the site.

However, back in 1997 the site was run by a company called Pulsar Communications, a company based in New Jersey that provides what appears to be internet services to people in Vineland, Bridgeton and Millville.

I looked through the pages on the site and most of it is personal pages that people set up, whether it is to cover sports, advertise a tutoring service in the area… There isn’t anything related to Pause, RedboX or a ‘tbn’ user.

The only other thing I could find is that sometime in March 1999, the domain expired and was bought by an adult website which lasted for several years. Much longer than the Pulsar Communications website ever did.

This is not the kind of homebrew site I was looking for.

Articles across the web

Pause by RedboX is a ROM that shows a shifting rainbow glow, similar to a lava lamp. It has no music and no description to it so information is sparse.
Article published on N64 Squid

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