Curses Ain't All Bad

I was very bad at the video game Curse of the Dead Gods at first because "curses" were, in my mind, something to be avoided at all costs. I thought of them as punishments for doing poorly, and I didn't want to be punished.

The main character of Curse of the Dead Gods getting a curse

You can't avoid them, though, and once you've played a few times, you realize curses aren't all that bad. In fact, the rewards you get by making blood offerings generally outweigh the problems the curses introduce. The curses usually even have a tiny upside.

Corruption (or lack of corruption really), a meter that grows as you play and ultimately leads to being cursed, is just another currency, not that much different from the game's money. When you spend the money, the downside is just an opportunity cost: you can no longer spend the money you just spent on anything else you might want to spend it on. When you make a blood offering, increasing your corruption and inching closer to a curse in exchange for some reward, it's a little bit different. Yes, there's an opportunity cost – the corruption you're incurring now can only be incurred once – but the real cost is that you're creeping toward obtaining a curse, which will have some adverse affect on your character, making the game more difficult. So, four aspects of "spending" corruption that make it different from the game's money:

For me, this had the effect of discouraging me from using this valuable resource for a while.

Real life has stigmatized currencies too. Some of them are stigmatized for good reason, like your health so that you can live a long happy life. We could all be drugging ourselves 24/7 in exchange for feeling euphoric all the time, but it would decrease the overall satisfaction of our lives by shortening them and eroding our relationships. Others are stigmatized for reasons that may or may not be justified.

Back in the game world, once I embraced curses and started making blood offerings, I was able to build my character's strength much more effectively. I went from dying early and often to clearing tombs and reaping those sweet digital rewards.

There's a lesson for life in there too: don't be afraid to use the resources you have, in some cases, even if using them is stigmatized. Look at those stigmas through a critical lens and try to figure out if that stigma is making it harder for you to fail or harder for you to succeed.