What Hades (the game) Taught Me

The impact of the internet on our lives is incredibly daunting. Social media bombards us with many beautiful lives of others, and we assume everyone lives in prosperity while we're suffering every day. On my side, although my life is not full of the most extraordinary things, I'm not miserable; I'm happy. However, I also have struggles every day, every week, like everyone else I know. One of these struggles led me to play video games again.

I stopped playing games during the last couple of years to focus on learning, books, and self-improvements. I saw the games as a waste of time. I couldn't imagine myself playing them for hours and hours. Then, I had burnout 😅 . In my sick leave, I looked for things to distract myself, and games are the perfect companion for it. It's not like watching TV series or movies. There is constant interaction, micro muscle movements, and the focus helps distract the mind from unpleasant thoughts. In these times, I met a game called Hades.

Since I have a 2014 Macbook Pro as a personal computer, I didn't have various options to choose games, but Hades worked perfectly. All game content is based on Greek mythology. In Hades, you're playing Hades' son, Zagreus. Zagreus is trying to escape from the Underworld while Hades stops him by putting foes on his way. Zagreus kills the opponents to run, but if he dies, he goes back to the beginning, the Underworld. Since Zagreus is immortal as a god and cannot die again in the Underworld, there is no actual death but only going back.

The most exceptional part of the game, also one of the most significant learnings I have, is that Zagreus collects gems while fighting foes and uses them to improve his skills. When he starts over, he is a little stronger than before. To be able to escape, Zagreus needs many attempts to sharpen his skills. That's the factual reality. Zagreus tries, fails, and starts from the beginning, but a little more powerful every time.

Zagreus had taught me, even before reading James Clear's Atomic Habits, to stay in the game. Playing the game of life is more interesting than winning big-but-not-so-significant goals. I think it is more complicated and fun. What sacrifices do we need to make? Can we really get up and do something every single day for the rest of our lives without pausing a day? Can we consciously accept this suffering?
Happiness without suffering is a big lie. I'm not saying that if you do something every day and you will get something more extraordinary. I'm saying that it's okay not to get back anything more significant. I've made my peace with this suffering, and that makes me happy. But similar to Zagreus, I choose what to suffer from. For example, I deleted my Instagram and Facebook accounts while acknowledging the pain of not knowing what my friends and family do (or show off, ahem) every day. Does this decision cause me to have fewer connections with my friends? Yes. Does it contribute to my relationship quality by having more profound and more high-quality conversations? Hell, yeah.

What I've learned by playing games was unimaginable to me. I always thought of games as a waste of time. I was wrong (and my dear friends, please accept my sincere apologies for being a jackass and undermining your thoughts on gaming). One game made me realize many essential things that real life couldn't. Hades threw the reality on my face that I couldn't see even when my friends, family, and the therapist were explicating to me.

Now, I write every day. Of course, it's full of pain to wake up at 6 a.m. every single day (yes, Sundays and holidays too). But I feel fulfilled because I choose this, not because somebody told me.

You might think that I'm suggesting you suffer or do one thing every day. I don't. But I do have one suggestion: play games, especially Hades.

P.S.: I still couldn't escape from the Underworld. I'm curious what will happen.

Short Form Last Updated: Jul 6, 2021