Gaming has tradititionally been a double-edged hobby. On the one hand you rarely, if ever, meet a weekend gamer, someone who isn't really into the hobby but just does it a bit. If you and another person share the hobby chances are you'll be able to sit down and have some sort of a basis for conversation.
You want to see an example of a hobby where being into it doesn't guarantee social connection look at music. Even if you manage to get two people who claim to love the same sort of music, or even the same band, you can't guarantee that they'd necessarily have much to say to one another. In the field of music people can like the same thing for entirely separate and even mutually incompatible reasons.
Likewise a lot of the really popular pastimes. I think this could explain why people are so slavishly addicted to watching sports. And what are sports and Monday Morning Quarterbacks but gamers by another stripe?
To return to role playing, it has never occurred to most gamers to ask why gaming isn't more popular, even though it inspires such passion from those involved. It stands to reason that if someone is so deeply into something that it owns a portion of their life there must be something to generally recommend it.
Well, I think that happens to be true. I don't know many people who wouldn't get a kick out of some form of role playing. Maybe you don't like a violent martial arts spectacular but a visit to a fairy-tale seaside town sounds awesome, maybe you're not really into slasher movies but a police procedural game would suit you down to the ground. I don't think there's any doubt that there's a role playing experience out there for everyone.
So where is everyone?
Well. This is the double edged part about it. As we get older we gamers realise that there is more to life than being relegated to a trestle table in the corner of some draughty town hall or community centre. There's more to the hobby than "stop having fun, it's time to role play" (yeah, I actually still hear this from time to time *sigh*).
Time to a working guy with a couple of week's holiday and a forty hour a week contract is precious. If a game's going to be uncomfortable then it's just not worth the time.
The final tweaks are hitting No Dice, I'm hoping to finish off the text typesetting at the weekend I also want to add in a couple of notes on this. Role playing is being held back because it's such an effort to make it convenient. Traditionally players have had to fit round the game. Hopefully with No Dice we can start to make people see that it should be the other way round.