GameSpy did a nice interview with Stephen Colbert back in 2004 on his experiences with gaming—Dungeons and Dragons, specifically. Here’s the full interview, but I particularly liked this first segment:
No board — just dice, just probabilities. It allowed me to enter the world of the books I was reading. I put more effort into that game than I ever did into my schoolwork.
We were all complete outcasts in school — beyond the fringe, beyond nerds. We were our own sub-dimensional bubble of the school. I’m not even sure we were on the rolls of any of the classes; that’s how outcast we were.
D&D made quite a little explosion when it first came out. We were close to the Bible Belt, and ministers were preaching on TV against it, saying that it was a cult, telling stories about kids going too far, playing in the sewers and getting swept away when it rained or getting carried away and believing that the games were real and hurting each other with swords or trying to do incantations, demon worship. I remember thinking, “Who’d be stupid enough to believe this was real?” And, while I certainly wished it was real at times, I was sure these were boogyman stories made up by preachers who didn’t like the implications of stories like Tolkein’s, and by what they believed to be dabbling in the occult.
Added bonus: simple, but (I hope), honest, video of Colbert’s tribute sign-off to Gygax