By Thorsten J. Pattberg for the Saker Blog

Three terrifying tales that teach us we must never lead with our wallets to advance in a game. Ever! Just don’t. Don’t do it!

“Upgrade Your Princess Tower”

What is an F2P? It stands for ‘Free-to-Play’, and everybody in the industry is making those. It means something costs nothing. It is free to use. Download it. Use it. Play it. It is good!

But if you want to reach higher levels in this free version, it will take you a minimum of eight years or 10,000 hours of active life time – we call it “in-game time,” but it is really just you aging. Or, you could pay us $499 and level-up right NOW, instantly, just like that. Welcome to the real game of ‘Pay-to-Play’!

Roland, 24, from rural Michigan, had graduated with a degree in software engineering and was now in a paid internship in Paolo Alto, California, at SuperFraud™, America’s biggest, most profitable computer game designer.

What do they want us to do this time? he asked his manager.

They worked together on the summer update of ‘Cash-Titan-Clash’, an addictive multiplayer battle game with 55 million active players.

“Well, we gotta reduce the gold-per-chest to 800 coins,” replied the manager.

So little… It takes 250,000 gold just to update the Princess Archer! It will take forever to upgrade any of those units to level 19!

“Yeah, gotta keep them playing, son. But we also give them 20 more hit points to their Princess Tower. That’ll make them feel stronger. It’s a real booster!”

Roland never imagined the gaming industry was like this. He thought it was different from the music and movie industries. You know… less evil.

How wrong he was. The gaming industry looks like free entertainment and immersive experiences, but it really is just this: the evolution of GAMBLING.

It is a great irony that Roland was brought up by hard-working artisans who taught him to believe that we all should be good at something and work hard at our craft… so that we are getting recognized and paid to do it!

Roland applied for a scholarship and got into the public Michigan Technological University at Houghton. With his generous stipend and his side hustles in the gig industry he was able to graduate debt-free and even starched some money aside for later.

Universities are all about hierarchies. Sure, he could be completely self-taught. It didn’t really matter what he learned back in school or in college, because new software was invented every year. But employers like SuperFraud™ are all about hierarchies too, and they prefer to see proof that Roland was able to study hard and work diligently for years, and show up on time and keep his mouth shut.

In gambling, the industry preys on addictive personalities. Which is potentially everybody. We all have our weak moments and yearn for a quick satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. Like winning in a game!

Lotteries always work, but are boring. Casinos are too extravagant. People have to dress, own a car and drive all the way to Vegas. Also, kids are off-limits. But with online gaming, everybody can gamble everywhere, on the toilet seat, in bed, in school. And kids, kids are now open season.

Better even, rewards are ethereal and unreal. Nobody wins any real stuff. We award players with imaginary tokens, loot boxes, challengers and gold coins. We lure them in by offering something for free. Like you were free to walk into a Shopping Mall. But if you really wanted to get something there, you had to pay, right? Same with our Pay-to-Play SuperFraud™ games.

Our programs are so advanced, we are able to regulate our users’ daily behavior by telling them what time to earn less or more crowns. We can withhold progress… until they tip us, you know, micro-transactions of $2 here and $3 there, upon which we smile and upgrade their shitty Princess Tower.

We offer $9.99 Daily Deals, $6.99 Special Offers, and if those addicts pay our monthly $4.99 Pass Royal, they join our VIP lounge where we let them earn twice as many rewards as those losers who don’t give us money. We even invented a $14.99 Seasonal Ticket that unlocks even more rewards and perks, as if holidays meant anything.

Roland was working on code. Him and his manager could alter the metagame, meaning fiddling with the ultimate win conditions, and he could alter the ladder, meaning regulating our progress throughout the game. There was no end to this ‘Cash-Titan-Clash’. The game started six years ago with 6 arenas and 56 units with 13 levels each. Now it has 12 arenas and 128 units with 19 levels each. Without paying to advance, it takes 24 million years to upgrade all units to all levels.

By 2021, the company generated $3 billion in revenue and monitored 507 million game addicts in 152 countries.

When Roland’s internship at SuperFraud™ ended, he was to see the manager. The last 12 months were a strange fore-telling. Roland’s job had been to program games that trick innocent people into Pay-to-Play games that were designed to be unwinnable.

“That would be $20k,” the manager said.


“You have to pay ME for giving you this great experience, son!”

For a moment, Roland stood there as if frozen in place.

But… but… I thought…

“Nah, I am just messing with you!” the manager laughed and handed him his $18k paycheck.

“You’ve earned it. But really, there are imbeciles coming in and offering me bribes to give them free internships, haha!”

And just when Roland was about to leave:

“Seriously though, people in the future are going to pay us for giving them work. It‘s going to happen, son.”

“Master of Business Asswhoring

Dan Danube Schlitzer from New York City paid a lot of money for his Bachelor Degree in Asswhoring Consulting. He took on a student loan with the William D Ford Federal Direct Loan, just shy of $30k annually, to support his living expenses as a future eminent scholar.

Everyone goes into debt for education, duh! Also, Dan’s parents had just divorced, struggled with the mortgage and… just out of spite for each other, each lived above their means. Dan was a born crybaby and sniveller. He was probably bright, but too idle, and consequently too inane for any sort of craft, and he certainly had not mastered a single useful skill during his first 18 years on earth.

Dan was eager to finally proceed to college where, so he suspected, they would level him vertically into one of those highly-paid professions.

The Institute for Advanced Asswhoring of Massachusetts, short IAAM, was willing to accept Dan Danube Schlitzer’s application, because he looked the kvetch that would pay $100 upfront application fee, and certainly pays the $46k annual student fees.

Four years later… and Dan was only half-educated. It didn’t really make sense to look for a job with just a Bachelor degree. Instead, he paid the upfront $150 application fee and advanced towards the next stage in Higher Education – an MBA or Master of Business Asswhoring™.

An MBA is limited only to the most promising scholars. It saves you a lot of time to get ahead with your career, because it is just a one-year programme, and it is also unbelievably economical, coming at just $56k in school fees.

Sure, that first meant more student debt. But what a future investment! Think about it: This MBA was almost $17k cheaper than an MBA at Harvard or MIT, and a whopping $44k cheaper than Dan’s original first choice of the ‘1+1 MBA of Oxford University’ in England.

Dan had to find over-prized accommodation in the Hudson metro area, where poverty levels had risen by 80% in just two years in 2014. There were a lot of East-Asians and Orientals everywhere in low-paying jobs. Behind every door there were half a dozen illegals and subtenants, and Dan shared his flat with four other stinking poor future leaders.

As a top-tier future consultant, Dan was too intelligent to do manual labor. He once paid $25 for a ticket to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan, and got hung up for hours at Vincent Van Gogh‘s Potato Eaters. Poverty is a universal disease, he knew that. He bought an overpriced print at the museum shop and pinned it to the wall above his lodge. Upon graduation, Dan would help people to cure poverty.

Emboldened by his own suffering, he felt his delusions were just temporal. A spiritual journey. Besides, all geniuses were social recluses. In reality, and this is what he truly believed, his BA degree was now worth at least $300k – adjusted to inflation and scarcity of talent. And according to his Institute’s own website, MBA grads could expect an average future salary of $100k – no problem.

Dan Danube Schlitzer borrowed more money from his father, who first suspected that Dan might have gone into gambling, but no, his son really just wanted to pay for higher education. That was worthwhile. So, his father offered him his life savings, $30k, which, due to the increasingly demanding luxurious life-style of an MBA Asswhoring scholar, Dan burned through in as little as 9 months.

Master Schlitzer by now had a view on life and of himself that was beyond contorted and delirious. He had published some nonsensical papers and, at one point, he announced the self-publication of a book of fiction.

He sucked his IAAM professor’s ass extra hard, and so was up-graded to a double-degree with the IAAM Partner Institute in Singapore, a 4-weeks business school trip really, shipping tickets and hotel costs all-inclusive, at the special rate of just $14k. Now Dan was an Asian expert too. These programs really exist. The names are changed.

When the time had come for Dan to open his own Asswhoring consulting firm, he was shocked to learn that neither Cambridge Trust nor The Bank of New England or Boston Private would pay a loan without securities. They said his degrees are worthless, and Dan shrugged.

Despite his atrocious academic performance, his old IAAM supervisor called him back to the Institute for Advanced Asswhoring™ to work as a Senior Research Assistant, voluntarily of course – that is: for free. This job title is invaluable, Dan! And the experience… priceless!

Dan did not know researchers who got paid. He never met real earners, or if he had met them, they did not signal him or give him any hint that, really Danny… What are you doing!?

Three years later… and Dan still worked for free. He was too ashamed to ask for pay and compensation. At the age of 26, he was trapped in Raskolnikov-levels of deprecating poverty.

Since there was no way of coming back from this, why not give it his all? He still wanted to cure poverty and become the best Asswhoring consultant of all time.

“Knowledge is the only thing I have left in this world!” he sobbed. So he enrolled in a $180k 5-years ‘Doctorate of Asswhoring’ at the unpretentious Hudson Institute for Pay-to-Play™ or short HIPP.

But how to live and pay for it, you ask? What a question! All great philosophers lived in barrels. All great artists starved. Dan was hollow and lacked sophistication, but, luckily, his father died on insurance terms, and Dan could borrow from the Bank of Fairy Trust at high interest rates against his decaying family home. He was ready to pay for his ultimate education.

Dan ended up homeless in 2021 and hung himself from Boston University Bridge. He died from unbearable shame. His BA and MBA, his PhD and Research fellowships worth $750k of Asswhoring education still dangled from his pockets. With them, he’d managed to wipe out himself and his family.

This is a true story. America’s top universities are offering hundreds of thousands of fake degrees and programs.

“Mickey Money Wong”

Alec Wong, born Wang Dongfan in the icy northern Chinese province of Liaoning, came to Boston in New England in 2003. He was the only son of a soon-to-be retired foreman of a garment factory. Alec was bright, had an impeccable work ethic and superior education from Shenyang No 2 High School. From his 8th year, he’d played the piano, and from his 12th year onwards, he won team titles in the national Math Olympiad.

His widowed father had never dreamed of such a prodigy. Alec had the intelligent eyes of his mother, but otherwise was shy, pork-faced and practically ill throughout his early childhood, ridden with asthma and allergic diseases.

The tiancia [genius] – was soon enrolled in the ‘National Endowment Trust for the Gifted’, and awarded a full governmental scholarship at a university of his choice in Liaoning. So, Alec graduated at the top 5% of his class in computer engineering from Liaoning University of Technology in Shenyang.

His professors consulted with his father, and, since Alec was a glutton for work, they recommended “foreign experiences” before his returning to a position of higher significance in China.

For high caliber Chinese IT guys to America, visa procedures run extra smoothly if you pay an expensive visa agency. Also, the Wangs had a distant auntie living in Cambridge. There were huge Chinese communities around Boston University, MIT and Harvard. There was so much networking going on, yet his father advised Alec to stay clear of the treacherous Chinese diaspora with their li (rituals) and guanxi (connections), and establish himself first among Americans.

Alec started at Boston China Smart Robotics with an annual salary of $150k plus bonus.

He had lots of money but little time. And it was about time to find a spouse. A Chinese spouse. In America. Preferably from Liaoning.

Two years later, at the age of 26, Alec was introduced to a Chinese woman with ancestry in Shenyang, 22 years of age, who had been born second generation Chinese in Boston and was therefore an American citizen. This meant that if Alec was to marry her, he could apply for permanent residency permit, and his children would get US passports.

They had a memorable first date weekend at Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. He objectively thought her exceptionally ignorant and simple-wired, with no knowledge of traditional China, world literature, music or science, and was even more dumbfounded to learn she briefly attended a prestigious (Boston) College. But what did he know, this was America. People learn different things.

He was overjoyed when she told him she was practically a virgin, and he told her he wanted a son and to raise him a genius. And he hastened and spent $4k in two days, and she found this cute and called him “her own Mickey Money Wong.”

Sure, she agreed to marry. There was just one strange condition. One unusual demand that shocked Alec and his father. The Chinese-American side demanded a key-money before the marriage of $50k, a $50k wedding party, and a down-payment for buying a house, worth $250k.

Dowries were common in mainland China, but were usually paid by the bride’s family. But this was America, and the Chinese-American diaspora thought high about themselves, and thus they demanded all this money from Alec.

And Alec paid to enter the marriage. He paid the dowry, he paid the house, he paid for private health insurance. He paid in cash for a Ford SUV Hybrid and soon, a Daimler Smart car as an anniversary gift for his bride, who was herself enrolled at the Hudson Business School for Chinese Wives.

Alec wished he had more time to travel with his newlywed laopo, but because he was ambitious and worked hard for the money, he gave her a $20k allowance, which she spent socializing with friends in the Midwest over the winter. When she returned, she came with her sister, who had just gotten away from the Soka Cult, escaped her cultist boyfriend and looked for shelter. His wife’s sister moved in with them, and six months later Alec was asked to pay another $18k to help her rent a new place down the road and start a new life with… a new boyfriend.

A month passed, and a second “sister” turned up at the house. Alec could have shown them the door, but he dared not to upset his wife. Alec was the breadwinner, that was true. But it was she who flashed the credit cards, had the house in her name and made all decisions. It was apparent to everyone who knew them that he did not have much power in this caustic marriage other than his wallet.

His wife was loud, extremely vapid he thought, and unforgiving. She was attractive, that was good. He, on the other hand, battled chronic illness and asthma again. If he fell ill now, she would abandon him.

His wife, her two sisters and his in-laws constantly obligated him to pay for travel and dinners, and even silkwood golden furniture and a pair of gaudy miniature pugs. Oh they were shameless! This marriage was dripping with poison, and he had better handed all matters of income to his housekeeping wife.

It was quiet for a while, and sexless, so he was mortified she could be planning on having an affair. In a last attempt of xiao (piety), he bought his in-laws a large $80k jade sculpture of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Fertility. But that only bought him sympathy for a month or two.

The next year, Alec tried to lay with his wife, but she found all kinds of excuses, insults and, when he had had the idea of forcing himself on her, slapped him soundly.

If he wanted his son, she said, it was only gonna happen through a fertilization clinic (IVF). This is America! So Alec paid $15k a month, for 6 months, with no results.

One Friday, the clinic called him over “an infectious agent in his semen,” and he knew for a fact that he did not hand them anything that week. When he confronted his wife, she smacked him over the head again. In Chinese families, there is a lot of fighting and slapping, and women regularly beat their husbands and kids. But Americans typically look the other way because the Chinese make this country a lot of money.

Alec never fought back. He got his promotion to TechLead, and his salaries increased to $250k, with a hefty bonus paid out in company shares. He bought a bigger home. Birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas parties. These were all strange customs to Alec, but what did he know, to them he was just “a communist.” And when one evening on the occasion of Chinese New Year he sobbed and played the Kreutzer Sonata on a friend‘s piano, she felt the most violent contempt for his erudite learnedness.

She soon demanded he paid for her marriage counselor and therapist, $14k. When she recovered, she confessed to Alec that her family owed $120k to moneylenders over some failed ponzi scheme involving fake dietary and health supplements. So in a final attempt to please them, Alec now paid their creditors as well.

Six years passed, and hard-working Alec had no kids but got an offer to relocate to Mountain View in California, because he was headhunted by Google, the future’s world’s leading search engine. The salary was agreed on $410k.

This is a true story, and Alec, then 34, never turned up at 1600 Amphitheater Parkway in 2008. His father had died of sorrow back in Shenyang, Liaoning, and when his wife disrespected him again, Alec walked out of the door, boarded a plane and went back to China.

His wife reported him to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a wife beater and foreign agent, misleading her with false information to have sex with her, and now seeking $2.8 million as compensation for unbearable emotional stress. Lawyers filed for divorce and seizure of all his assets, bank accounts and possessions. He was trialed in absentia over rape charges, visa fraud and running a fake dietary supplement scam. And to this day, fugitive Alec Dongfan Wang [not his real name] remains on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

The author is a German writer and cultural critic.

“#3, Alec the killer. He killed his wife. Her sisters filed the motion.“ –MIRcleHomocide

[…] and – hopefully not too many – more horrifying tales of madness and insanity to come.

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA