I have a problem with this essay.
One of my least favorite authors of all time is Aldo Leopold. We had to read Axe-in-hand in 10th grade, which is supposedly an environmental parable illustrating the necessity of conservation. Okay, yeah, maybe, but it also argues that shovels are inherently good and axes are inherently evil. As if one couldn't perform evil with a shovel or good with an axe! It reflects a simplistic worldview with a manichean bent and I have little patience for it.
This essay makes the same mistake, in my opinion - it argues there are "good" achievements and "bad" achievements. A "good" achievement is one of intrinsic worth while a "bad" achievement is one that requires no skill, apparently.
PROBLEM 1) Animals play games. It's a Skinner Box experiment outlined at length in Dan Ariely's "The Upside of Irrationality." Take a critter. Put it in a box. Give it a task to get to its food, let it get used to it. Then, give it two sources of food - one with the task, one without. The only critter that doesn't is the house cat. It starts on pp 61 if you're interested. So given our druthers, we'll waste time on pointless tasks because that's what vertebrates do.
PROBLEM 2) Value judgements are transitory. Someone looking at Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1977 might argue they were wasting their time with those foolish computers. Someone looking at David Bowie in 1968 would argue he was wasting his time lollygagging around with all those musicians. Ray Manzarek "mashed a bunch of buttons", too - so the fact that he was the keyboardist for The Doors somehow makes his mashing more valuable than those guys that go career at Starcraft?
PROBLEM 3) There are compelling arguments to be made that "gamifying" our lives actually improves them, rather than detracting from them. So adding entirely meaningless "points" to mundane tasks like "taking out the trash" improves our enjoyment of them and increases our likelihood of doing them, at least in the near term (things get hazy past the halo effect). Jane McGonigal's book "Reality is Broken" covers this pretty well. Did you know there was a NYT bestselling author whose book was about his months-long quest to beat Pong?
I once argued with a friend of mine that video games were a "fake" achievement, and isolating compared to movies and television. He argued back that video games are immersive and quite possibly our next art form.
Meanwhile, I've yet to sell a screenplay and he's the head of the video game division at a major agency.
If it's fun, it isn't a waste. Don't let someone else's value judgements rule your life.