Life Lessons from Dungeon Keeper 2

This year has been both difficult and amazing. On the good side I was engaged to my best friend and I have had the great opportunity to publish and write. On the other hand, stable employment has been slow to come and the recent unease has made a pretty significant dent in my confidence.

Which is to say I’ve been depressed. Very depressed. I don’t feel bad admitting it, as I know I’m in good company right now. I am also very good at beating myself up about it. After all it could be worse, and why was I whining? I didn’t even deserve all these nice things.

Unsurprisingly, this didn’t make me feel better.

So this evening I found myself playing a favorite game, Dungeon Keeper 2 at about 2 am. This 14 year old game is a resource management game in which you play an evil overlord trying to take over the world. You have a set amount of money, time, and space to manage to complete your goal. It is very, very addicting.

Anyway, this evening I was playing a level in which you rescue Black Knights from an enemy dungeon. I had successfully rescued 3 and they proceeded to sulk around my dungeon.

I didn’t get it. They had food and a training room and a bedroom. I had completely provided for their needs and yet they were still unhappy! I was so angry with them! Just be happy!

Then I laughed out loud.

It’s a funny thing when your video game becomes a metaphor for your life. So, I reasoned, what did I need? No, not what I deserved. What did I need? I needed a break. I needed to be easier on myself. I needed to give my mind a break from the constant writing/submitting/job applications. In short, I needed to be nice to myself.

So I built them a casino. It seemed to do the trick.

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