...to a time when games were contests. How many decks is the blackjack dealer using? How many spare hours does the prince have to train with his foil?
People once played Tetris. Now, you can play Tetris on Facebook, but only be remotely competitive by buying--with money from the real world--special abilities unavailable through skill alone. In Everquest, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, et cetera, the rules of the game are all subject to change by formally bribing the gamemasters.
Long before that, it had begun. You could play table-top or collectible card games, but only be remotely competitive by paying real-world money to purchase items that would give you an advantage over other players. No more Go or Risk or Stratego beginning with two evenly-matched players, determined only by skill. Instead, the rich are able to buy success ahead of time in even fantastical environments. By making your blocks swivel faster, your lines clear 0.4 of a second more swiftly, or your Lvl. 1 Warrior equipped with the Sword of Godly Destruction, you can win with lesser, or no, skill.
Even the stupidest of freebie games have been turned into vindications of the illusory economies that created them. The rich no longer have to fear losing at hopscotch.
Why not? George W. Bush, who can barely read English, bought a Yale Bachelor's degree and a Harvard Master's. Michael Bay makes movies. Nicholas Cage acts in them. Why shouldn't you be able to buy anything?
The rich can buy liposuction. They can buy smooth faces and muscular biceps. They can buy longer lives. There's a certain horror in the acquisition of an end result without having gained the knowledge that created it.
The ends justify the means. The result proves that the process was the best it could've been.
Not far away, they will buy new bodies. New computers to load onto. In time, there will be no one left alive here who remembers what it was to earn anything. Nothing but a spreadsheet of "Highest Score!" initials will mark their passage.