Edit to add, when robo-trucks take over that sector, what are all those former truck drivers going to do? Play Euro-truck simulator 2020?
Obviously not, nobody likes a game-version of their job. I feel like there are a bunch of different ideas and assumptions being thrown around here. We started with
1. job-like games are banal / bad / disheartening
which I mostly disagree with. All games have the disheartening issue KB describes, which is that they provide a sense of achievement to those who don't achieve much in real life. Still, I don't think simulator games are played solely because of that, nor are they the worst at that. They're relaxing games, explorative games, niche games. An MMO that has found the formula to keep you addicted for as long as possible by tricking the achievement part of your brain is a much more disheartening and harmful piece of software than a banal, mildly entertaining drive through the digital countryside.
2. people playing games could be working instead
Isn't that the entire premise of the terrible article? Is that really how it works? I doubt it. It's quite obvious that working life isn't what it's used to be for adolescent U.S. men, which is a structural economic problem, not a problem with the mild entertainment that games provide.
3. how dare people have fun with banal things
Okay, that's phrased a bit flippantly, but it's not like people have been escaping to banal tasks in their free time before. The amount of dumb television my parents have been watching over the years (and the amount of Netflix they watch now) is, to me, just as much if not more disheartening to see. But that doesn't mean they aren't allowed to do that, or that it's inherently a bad thing.