I think that’s why there’s been such an emergence of “casual gamers” lately… everyone wants a mental break every now and then, but don’t want to invest a bunch of time in an engrossing online experience or RPG. Most casual games you can pick up and put down without a heavy time investment. Those that really get hooked can “move up” to other games like platformers (which require more time, but not as involved).
It can be the story that gets people really involved in video games. As Wil Wheaton said in his keynote address, video games are now a legitimate art form and should be treated as such. You can become just as emotionally attached to video game characters as you can with characters from any novel, movie, tv show, or any other form of pop media. I’ve heard from several people that their wives (or girlfriends) watched the “good” ending of Bioshock and started crying… and my eyes got all watery, too.
Games do not make people anti-social… they have the exact opposite effect. Most people on MMOs spend more time chatting with online friends than they do actually playing the game. There are so many types of gamers, just like there are so many types of Christians, Muslims, politicians, etc.
If there is a “stereotype” then its one portrayed by the media. More people play video games today than ever before, so if you’re not a gamer, then you know somebody who does… and do you see them (or yourself) as a stereotype?
Gamers are people, and games stimulate your mind and bring people closer together… except for SpongeBob and other TV-tie-ins games… they can suck my ass.