I only played AD&D, but I still remember going over to my friend's house to play -- with his entire family. It was remarkable; he, his father, mother, brother, step-brother and his wife all played D&D.
Granted, a bad DM could make the experience a two hour affair that ended with cursing and spilled Mountain Dew -- the great ones created campaigns that could span over days, weeks, and even months.
I always played a Paladin, which I suspect a "defender of the light" like Stephen Colbert would have also chosen. I didn't get a chance to ask him during the pre-taping Q&A portion of last night's Colbert Report (more on that later), but as an avid D&D fan, he did express his dismay about the recent death of creator Gary Gygax.
Oh geez, now I sound like that old guy at the Wizards of the Coast store (since shut down)...