There is a Sutta (SN42.2) where the Buddha is approached by the head of an acting troupe and asked, “I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”
After twice refusing to reply, the Buddha said, “Any beings who are not devoid of passion / aversion / delusion to begin with focus with even more passion / aversion / delusion on things inspiring passion / aversion / delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”
2500 years ago, just as today, actors make people laugh and give them delight with their imitation of reality. With today’s technology, we have new ways of making ourselves “intoxicated and heedless” (such as computer games) but the effect on the mind (and our spiritual development) is the same.
According to AN 8.40 (and elsewhere) “idle chatter” leads to rebirth in a woeful state. In many Suttas (such as AN 10.69), the Buddha defined “idle chatter” as “conversation about kings, robbers, ministers of state, armies, alarms, battles, food and drink, clothing, furniture, garlands, scents, relatives, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, the countryside, women and heroes, the gossip of the street and the well, tales of the dead, tales of diversity, the creation of the world and of the sea, talk of whether things exist or not.”
With today’s technology (newspapers, Facebook, etc.) we have new ways of indulging in “idle chatter” but the effect on the mind (and our spiritual development) is the same.
You will notice that the five precepts (the moral code for laypeople) do not mention giving up wrong view or idle chatter. This is because the five precepts are ethical in nature. Only once there is a strong foundation of ethics can one consider spiritual development (taking on eight or more precepts). So playing computer games is not an ethically unwholesome activity, but the mental states that playing computer games engenders are not conducive to spiritual development.