I think the fundamentalists turned against RPGs mainly because of the whole “magic” thing – same reason why people don’t like Harry Potter books. Also, in some of them (pen and paper RPGs mainly I think) your characters choose gods to worship in the game (D&D originals had the Deities & Demi-gods Book as one of the rule books – I never used that book when I played, nor would I now if I still played as that does make me feel a bit uncomfortable.) I think those are the two biggest problems.
Funny story in that: I was not always Catholic myself (came back in 2005 after being only baptized as an infant before) but I was going to a fundamentalists type church with friends in Junior High school for a while and talked about our D&D games with one of the youth ministers there and he told us to “burn the books” but to also watch out because he had heard of stories of people trying to burn D&D books only to have the books jump out of the fire and leap towards their owners…yea, well, needless to say it was statements like that that really eroded my faith in Christianity for some time before I discovered the “thinking” church that is the catholic church and its rich history of writers and thinkers.
But I don’t see it that way really. I see it as a game separate from the real world. For example, there is magic in the Lord of the Rings series and those are by a Catholic author and fully endorsed by most Catholics (see the thread right on this page.) Now some may split hairs about the type of magic in LOTR vs other fantasy but really to me, as long as the game does not cause you to start adopting fantastical magic practices or turn to Wicca then I don’t have a problem with it. And some do turn to Wicca inspired by games, movies or books so it is something to be aware of – however, this doesn’t mean it is bad for everyone – anyone who turns that easily must not have been very strong in their faith, and THAT is what you need to measure.
The other thing to watch for is that many people let these games (especially WoW) take up too much of their lives - it needs to be in the same time slot allotment as any other entertainment. One shouldn’t sit and watch 12 hours of TV in a day, so one should probably not sit and play WoW for that long, ESPECIALLY if you have family and other responsibilities. Now if I were single that could be a real temptation for me but when I played WoW I really only started after my kids were in bed and my wife was in the room with me – she’d watch TV then go to sleep shortly thereafter and I would play. (Of course though, this made it tough to join with others in my guild for raids that started earlier in the evening and that is part of why I stopped playing, but that’s another story.) In fact I have heard of many couples and families that actually all play together – that wont happen for me as my wife is not a gamer, but I will keep trying!
I myself played quite a bit of World of Warcraft – -I quit (the third time) because I got burned out and I just did not see myself having the inclination and drive to level from 60 to 70 when the expansion came out (i installed it and everything but the progress was just too slow for me – I know since then they changed the rate of leveling but I am still burned out…)
I think as long as you don’t let it cross into your real life in any way (either by believing in the magic, letting it take away from family time, etc) I see it as entertainment like any other.
Oh, also, there of course have been a few mentally unstable people who thought they WERE their character and that of course leads to all sorts of problems, but I am sure this is very rare.