My fond memories of RPG-ing lie mostly IRL. Star Wars role-playing on a cold winter's day with friends (and a very sadistic but fair GM). I got to be a wacky tech-savvy, kick-butt Ewok to boot! One time school was canceled because of a sudden severe blizzard. What did I do on snow day? Stay indoors where it was nice and safe? Hell no, I trekked over to the GM's dorm.
When I play RPG's by myself (e.g. on computer/console), there's always a feeling of disconnectedness with the outside world. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on how deeply immersed one wants to be in the game, but for me the best part of role-playing is the dynamic interactions between other players. Rapid-fire jokes, laughter, that kind of thing that can't be experienced in single-player games (and I would argue, not totally reproduced by the new online RPG's).
Stuff like having the GM, barely suppressing his laughter, tell an inept member of the party (in his attempt to be the ever-so cliched Han Solo character by upping his piloting and gunnery skills, he had almost no dexterity, arguably the most important stat to the game), "you take a step towards the door as you try to escape from the squad of stormtroopers, only to trip on your feet, fall flat on your face, and get knocked
And then having the wookie, who's already carrying yours truly (the incapacitated ewok), roll to try and save said tripper.
And then, after a miraculously good roll, hearing the GM say, "as you fire at the stormtroopers and run, you kick your fallen comrade's body. It flies across the room and bounces through the doorway. You reach the door and blow the circuits to lock the stormtroopers out."
I just spent about two hours playing the Sailor Moon RPG for the SNES. Mostly because my two roomates had both played it before, and we all got a bit of enjoyment out of cracking up while I played it for the first time.
This is not to say I don't enjoy RPG's where there is no human interaction, but I don't see paper and pencil going away any time soon, as long as people out there have irreplaceably fond memories. It would be a shame if some generation from now, everyone is playing online RPG's, never having experienced meatspace role-playing.
"[An] infinite number of monkeys typing into GNU emacs would never make
a good program."