There's a conversation going on at G+ about someone observing teenagers playing a roleplaying game together. Looking at them, the observer is profoundly moved by the depth of emotional engagement going on. Yeah, the game doesn't *sound* like it would be that much fun, from an outside perspective, but those kids are in it 110%.
I have some amazing memories of early roleplaying experiences - the willingness to suspend disbelief was just so strong.
Paul Czege commented, and said that aside from a first few experiences, he's never felt that gaming was really an "escapist" pastime. Rather, for him, it's a creative outlet.
I've always thought that was one of the "unspoken" reasons people drop out of the hobby as they get older. It's not just social pressure and lack of time, etc - it's also a different attitude to the game itself which makes it less fun.
When you live a relatively controlled life, and the game is your only way to experience agency and have adventure, it packs a very different punch.
To a kid, playing an RPG gives you control of your fate and puts important decisions into your hands. To many adults, the level of freedom and responsibility might be far less than in real life. Why, then, play an RPG?
I think that, for me - and probably many others - gaming can be part creative outlet and part a quest to recapture some of that early wonder, that immersive magic.
I suppose I have a similar relationship to books, as well.
What has your experience been like?