Someone at my games club is doing a Msc in Applied Science, particularly around 3d printer and asked what makes and made us tabletop gamers. I thought I'd overshare...
I had learning difficulties when I was a child around reading, and my parents were desperate to find me something I might be interested in enough to push myself to learn to read. That came in the form of Tunnels & Trolls and the art of +Liz Danforth
in particular. It became an escape from the unmagical and sometimes violent world of Seven Sisters in the late 70's and early 80's. T&T led to D&D and to people I could finally relate to, who are now lifelong friends. So it brought me escape and comradeship, which it turned out I needed as an adult as it's also been a bit unmagical and violent too, but that's usually been my own fault :) It's also a great place to explore ideas about the future, the past and indulge in safety net nihilism, all of which interest me intensely.
I have to admit I do sometimes think it's addiction, and at times quite unhealthy as it's my go to place when the shit is hitting the fan in the real world, and rather than dealing with it I'll dream about the machinations of Tharizdun. I'm also someone who needs a fairly tight sandbox to be creative in, which they definitely give. I don't always know what to do with a blank piece of paper, but give me one with squares on it and I'll design a mythical ecosystem quicker than an Ork can shout Waaagh!