Creator Spotlight

Creator Spotlight | Pause My Game Interview – @pausemygame

Creator Spotlight | Pause My Game Interview – @pausemygame

We caught up with the awesome Gina (@pausemygame) on an incredible gaming journey, passion for geeky adventures and Gina’s creative crafts!

1. Hey Gina! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your gaming journey so far!

Hello friends! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m a 35-year-old gamer and “mother” to three cats (Sonic, Kiki and Nimbus), an algae eater (Al) and a bunch of nameless fish.

In 2024, my husband, Todd, and I will celebrate 18 years of being each others’ Player 2. We got married on the 10th anniversary of our first date, so October 15 is an extra special day for us! (Plus, we had a very geeky wedding if you keep reading…)

Image of Pause My Game's gaming themed wedding

I currently have an unhealthy obsession with learning about maritime disasters. (You thought Titanic was a crazy story? Just you wait.)

Like any good adult, I have a massive backlog of games I’ll never get to and feel guilty about when buying new games. Because of that, I am not an achievement-goer. If I can make it through the main story of a game, I consider it complete and I move along to the next poor soul who has been in their case for too long.

My favourite game series are the classics – Pokémon, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Kirby. I also enjoy a good hack-and-slash game like the Diablo series on the PC.

I have two gaming tattoos: a pokéball on my leg (because I couldn’t decide on a single Pokémon) and two bob-ombs on my arm.


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A post shared by Gina Wilkolak (@pausemygame)

I’m a lifelong Clevelander (that’s in Ohio in the States) but my home away from home is Japan! We’re currently planning our third trip to Japan and my list of places to visit just keeps growing.

I’m also a big cheerleader of TeeChu and J’s art. How wonderful is it that we get to help pick the designs?! (My TeeChu photos are also a little time capsule in my changing hairstyle’s history LOL.)

2. What’s your earliest memory of playing video games for the first time?

I’m giving away my age here (just kidding, I mentioned it above), but “edutainment” games are my earliest gaming memories. Back when we had a Commodore 64 computer, once a day my mom would log on to some very early form of a Sesame Street “website” for me to play a minigame. Once you completed the minigame, that was it. Come back tomorrow for a new one. I was so excited each day to see what the game would be!

After that, I got into the Putt-Putt computer game series. (Putt-Putt is a cute little purple car who goes on point-and-click adventures with you and his dog, Pep.) Putt-Putt Joins the Parade (from 1992 on a FLOPPY DISK) was my first Putt-Putt game. The game series is still available, and I always suggest it to my friends who have young kids.

@pausemygame wearing the Gotta Go Fast sonic shirt!

3. Love following your gaming adventures! What made you start taking photos and blogging about your geeky journey?

In 2016, my soon-to-be husband and I were planning our video game-themed wedding. I was surprised at how difficult it was to find gamer wedding ideas. Everything was all over the place. One blog post would only mention wedding invites. Another was only about geeky cakes. Why wasn’t there a post showing a couple’s entire plan? And don’t even get me started on Pinterest wanting me to create an account just to see a board. (Oh no, have I become a millennial boomer?)


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A post shared by Gina Wilkolak (@pausemygame)

After our wedding was over, I decided to start a blog highlighting all the video game aspects of our wedding. I divided my main post into seven ways we incorporated video games into our wedding.

The blog, and my internet presence, began in 2018 and continues strong today!

4. Loved seeing your Japan trips, too! What’s your most memorable moments from visiting the land of Nintendo?

Oh my gosh, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan was the highlight of Japan! We visited in April 2023 and spent more than six hours in that area of the park alone and still felt like we needed more time to take it all in.

@pausemygame visits Nintendo World in Japan

We ate Mario-inspired food, soaked in all the music, met Mario and Luigi, played tons of mini-games with the power-up bands and rode both rides. We’re currently looking at a 2025 Japan trip once the Nintendo Museum in Kyoto is open.

My other favourite memory from Japan was seeing Chef Pikachu at the Pokémon Café. My husband took video of me losing it when Pikachu came out to dance. It was SO cute, I couldn’t stop laughing. Listen, I woke up months in advance in the middle of the night to snag these café reservations. Let me obsess over Chef Pikachu.

Image of Pikachu in the Pokemon Cafe, Japan

I also really loved that both of these experiences gave me a chance to practice my Japanese without being too embarrassed. I’ve been taking Japanese lessons since 2021 (for any other students, I just passed N5 of the JLPT) and speaking Japanese IN Japan is kind of terrifying. My “Many Faces of Boo” TeeChu shirt was such a conversation starter because the staff would immediately point it out and I’d be able to share with them that we call テレサ “Boo” in English!

5. Love your passion for all things Nintendo! What do you think is so appealing about Pokemon, Mario, Zelda and co?

It’s amazing to see some of Nintendo’s series decades old and still thriving. I love that any age group can find something fun in a Nintendo game. Whether it’s Mario Golf or Smash Bros., there are so many Nintendo games that can be picked up and played for the first time or the hundredth time. I love how much Nintendo games change and stay the same. Clearly, other people do as well.

My friends at TeeChu have been so great at bridging the gap between retro and new when it comes to my favourite Nintendo designs! (I’m really loving the Game Boy-inspired design these days.)

6. In your collection, what would you say is your most memorable geeky item you couldn’t ever part with?

It goes without saying, but my most treasured items are my Zelda engagement and wedding ring bands. My husband secretly had them custom-made and I had no idea. When we looked for a wedding band for him, we ended up choosing a Zelda design as well!

Image of @pausemygame's incredible Zelda wedding ring

Other than that, I am proud as heck of my Pikachu plush collection. I have dragged my husband to more Pokémon Centers than he’d care to admit for special edition Pikachu plush. (Haha, more are on the list for our 2025 Japan trip.) I look around the house with fondness as I think of the time, money and tears that went into collecting every plush.

7. What franchise, sequel or remake are you hoping Nintendo will release on the Switch or Switch successor one day?

I’ve been thrilled with the games we’ve been given over the years so I can’t complain. But I am still hoping we might see Pokémon Gold and Silver get the Let’s Go remake treatment.

The only other game I’d love to see in a modern capacity one day is Banjo-Kazooie. Wouldn’t that be a fun remake on the Switch or Switch successor?

8. Love seeing all your incredible hand-painted crafts, too – such stunning pieces! What made you start crafting?

I wanted a collection of geeky earrings but what I was looking for just didn’t exist. So, I thought why not make them myself?

I had a little money saved up, so I bought a laser machine, created an LLC and my small business was born! My favourite earrings I’ve made from scratch are the Insert Coin designs you’d see on old arcade machines. I sell a lot of earrings, gaming and non-gaming, online and in stores in Northeast Ohio. It warms my heart to see friends, family and strangers(!) buy my earrings.

Retro themed earrings from @pausemygame

I also work on some other laser items inspired by Mario Kart and Pokémon that you can find in person at local conventions.

@pausemygame This earring designs has been in my head for months! I’m happy to finally get it out into the world. — These earrings will debut in September at the @Cleveland Gaming Classic show and will be online by October. — #arcadeearrings #glowforge #glowforgemade #lasercut #videogameearrings #videogamejewelry #insertcoin #videogamearcade #smallbusiness #smallbusinessowner #womanowned #womanownedbusiness #ohiosmallbusiness #videogamelifestyle #80searrings #clevelandgamingclassic ♬ Video Games – N O S T a L G I C

9. It must be super therapeutic to work on, though how do you work on your crafts with your army of kitty fur babies running around!

Well, it took me three different sittings to finish this interview because of our cats LOL.

The kitties attack @pausemygame whilst working!

If I’m in the middle of a craft (or anything, really) when it’s 30 seconds beyond their designated food time, they will shout from the rooftops and begin to form a union. They really are an army, aren’t they?!

10. Is there a particular piece in your collection that’s your favourite to make?

My favourite craft I’ve ever made is my ghost Pokémon Halloween wreath. I am SO proud of that baby, and I keep wanting to make more for other seasons but worry I’ll never make a wreath as good as the ghosties.

A spooky Halloween wreath created by @pausemygame

11. Where can fans find your crafts?

I share my home crafting projects on the Pause My Game blog. Some projects are great, and others turn into a giant mess!

My gaming (and non-gaming) earrings are available on my online store (U.S.-only) or Etsy shop (international shipping available).

@pausemygame's craft room!

12. What games are you currently playing?

I’m actually playing Pokémon Sleep as my daily game right now! It’s very similar to Pokémon GO but is less intensive. You only need to log in a couple of times a day to make progress as opposed to when I played Pokémon GO and my phone battery would quickly drain.

I also recently restarted my Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island. I’m attempting to play the game only in Japanese. It’s a tad too advanced for my current language skills, but since I played the game before, and can pick out words if a sentence is too confusing, I have been able to get by. I hope to be able to play a Pokémon game one day entirely in Japanese!

13. Where can fellow Nintendo gamers find your work

Please hop over to my social channels and say hello!

Big thank you to Gina for an incredible interview into one awesome gaming & crafting journey! Be sure to follow @pausemygame on socials above – plus if you’d like some fresh tees, use the coupon code pausemygame for 15% off the TeeChu website!


About J

J is TeeChu's founder and resident artist, a big Sonic and Zelda fan. Born and raised on hedgehogs and forest adventures!

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