"Geek Chic" is everywhere these days. From t-shirts to movies, "geeky" stuff has taken the world by storm. From zombies to comics to swords and sorcery, it's what people are talking about...and most, if not all, of it has either a direct root in gaming or has been turned into a popular game of its own.
Take a look at "Game of Thrones". Here's a wildly popular TV show, based on some award-winning books written by George R.R. Martin. One of his early books in 1977 contained the inspiration for the classic D&D monster known as the githyanki. Now, Game of Thrones has a Living Card Game, a board game (now in its second edition), two different roleplaying games, and a video game of its very own.
As he relates in this podcast interview, Martin got his start in the 50's playing chess and monopoly. After he got out of college, he made his living as a chess tournament director. In the 80's, he started playing Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, the Morrow Project, and other RPGs...and then he ran Superworld, a superhero RPG. He'd play with them 'til 4AM, getting hugely addicted to the game--and then, with the people he played with, he went on to write the Wild Cards superhero series of novels based on the characters and stories in his game.
So, the next time you run into someone who looks down on gamers, let them know that without them, we wouldn't have a Game of Thrones. Do you know any other famous folks who are gamers? Let us know!