For those of you wondering what a Role Playing Game is, let's say "a blend of literature, movies and theater." Of course, that's a rather simplistic and reducing definition, especially for such a difficult thing to define as RPG's. But if you have some free time and the patience to go through it, I'd advise you to read this page for a longer and more detailed description of what Role-Playing Games are all about.
As for me, the first time I heard of Role Playing Games (or RPG's for the sake of brievety) was in the early 80's. I was about 12 or 13. But I didn't start playing until a few years later, in 1985, with some American friends. In those days, we'd only play Dungeons & Dragons, several times a week, and I didn't even know other RPG's existed.
I then moved and it was years before I got to play again - mostly because I didn't know any role player around me. I did stay in touch with the RPG world, though, by regularly reading 2 popular French RPG magazines, Casus Belli and Chroniques d'Outre Monde (Chronicles of Another World). And that's how I learned that other games existed. I even started creating a game of my own.
In 1989, I moved to Nice, on the French Riviera, and discovered the existence of an RPG club - Alliance & Rébellion. I became a member and thus started playing again. I made many friends there, and became vice-president of the club the following year. As such, I helped organize two RPG tournaments, in 91 and 92.
Summer 92 : I left France for a year. When I returned, I discovered that the club didn't exist anymore (I turn my back 2 seconds, and see what happens ! ;-). But I kept on playing anyway with some of the friends I'd made at the club. We'd take turns playing at each other's house... but more often at my own place !
But as time went by, I became more and more involved with the French SF fandom. Add to that my first steps on the Internet, and all of a sudden I had less time to play. The last time I played was in early 96. Sometimes, I miss RPG's... but, when I think of it, what I miss the most isn't the gaming in itself, but rather the friends and the ambiance of those long nocturnal game sessions... ah, nostalgia...