The term first appeared in Tom Clancy novels in the 1980s and 1990s. This simply implies that if you willingly and consciously do something stupid, unlawful, or against the rules, you must be willing to suffer the consequences.
“He deserves what he received,” to paraphrase.
‘Play stupid games, win stupid prizes’ truly indicates that if you are going to do anything stupid, unlawful, or against ethics or rules on purpose and after knowing everything, you must be prepared to face the consequences.
‘Play stupid games, win awkward rewards’ says that if you are going to do anything foolish, illegal, or against the rules, you should be prepared to accept the consequences.
As an example, consider a killer burying his victim in the woods. A neighboring hunter misidentifies the killer as a deer and kills him. Play stupid games, and you’ll win silly rewards.
However, that sounds very much like a gamer’s invitation. I’m not going to pay to play a game beyond the cost of the program. Every now and again, I come across a competition with a really stupid reward. Even worse is when there is only one award. There is no guarantee that you will win more significant prizes.
He eventually becomes tired of her demands and walks on. She ends up sleeping with her closest friend. She becomes pregnant with him, whom she unwillingly marries and lives unhappily with. When you decide to regard something as a waste of time, it typically is.
This method is used as a metaphor to suggest that playing cruel mind games with a loved one would only provide quick gratification, which is insignificant compared to genuinely maintaining a good connection with them.
It’s a play on a previous adage that “sometimes the game isn’t worth the prize.” In essence, there is no gold at the end of the rainbow. The most basic example is someone who invests (OK, spends) a lot of money in a skill-based arcade game to acquire what is effectively a piece of fuzzy rubbish.