If you consider virtual reality - aka Second Life - to be a game, on par with MMORPGs and shootemups? Just unfriend me right now.
Virtual Reality is an Internet platform, not much different than, say, Facebook, Yahoo, or Skype - but in 3 dimensions. It allows us to create a 3-dimensional avatar that can interact directly with other avatars made by real people. On this platform, we can collaborate to create, roleplay, date, build, and many other things.
There are games IN virtual reality that we can play, such as Bloodlines, zombie shoots, roleplay constructs, etc.
Our minds and emotions are the same, no matter where we are interacting, and that includes every single interactive platform the Internet has to offer. The mechanics of interaction do not lessen our worth or our reality as human beings. They supplant us and allow us to go to places and dimensions previously closed.
Yes, your mind and spirit are anchored to your body - but are not dependent on that body to interact. Not anymore. Not since the invention of the telephone and the Internet. Both allow us to reach beyond the physical confines and restrictions of our bodies to interact with other human beings - whether they be next door or across the planet.
The next time you are tempted to shrug off responsibility for having a negative effect on someone, just because their point-of-contact is represented by pixels rather than flesh - just remember, you are just as real as they are. Just as capable of feeling emotions from an interaction represented, at its very core, by 0s and 1s. Just as capable of feeling hurt or heartbroken. Just as capable of feeling the physical effects that come with such feelings.
No one can use "It's not real" as an excuse. Not anymore. Face it. We are treading new ground, especially when the pixel world goes 3-D. We are accessing yet another dimension, one where others can also access and interact. The mode does not make us any less real as human beings. Anyone who says otherwise is using that as an excuse to stomp on people's emotions. Just because the individuals involved cannot reach out and physically slap their bullies doesn't make it hurt less.