In another thread, the discussion derived on the subject, and I think it would interesting to collect general informations about roleplaying experiences from different part of the world, and the place D&D have in them.
From what I understand, D&D wasn't the first RPG even in the USA, it was just the first with devs having the will and the means to publish TTRPGs rules. Wargamers were already actively playing RPGs and tinkering with the concept before D&D, and even after, D&D wasn't a clear concept, most players using frankenstein versions using elements from different RPGs, sometimes without even knowing it.
Here is my experience starting in the 80s:
In France, I played homemade RPGs and Strombringer before using the AD&D 1st ed books we had.
Our interest about D&D was that each edition was bringing some innovations.
My experience with D&D 1st and 2nd was full of houserules, hundreds of alternatives to vancian spellcasting, and thousands of homemade classes and races, (including medium golems and playable dopplegangers).
2nd edition lasted too long, deprived of characters options (opposed to class options), ending with the player's options suicide, so we then played White Wolf and homemade fantasy games until 3rd edition.
We started RPGs at 13-15 years old. Most players weren't fluent enough (or not at all) in english to understand even 75% of the rules (no internet to help), and imperial measures didn't help, so we had to wait translated editions for the books used by players. So we never bought a single adventure supplement at this time, and then never developed the need or interest in buying any adventure thereafter.
In France at this time (80's), there wasn't : internet, easy access to foreign languages dictionaries (none of them included familiar or cultural expressions), easy access to non mainstream foreign cultural goods.
Translation and publication were taking longer, and the concept of RPG was totally absent from medias. People were either discovering the RPG concept in the rare game stores, or even more rare specialized game stores, or were discovering RPG from a friend. (For me, it was a friend)
The first time RPG was brought to the attention of the public was through a mad player backstabbing a teacher. So RPG directly upgraded to an unknown concept to a dangerous sect.
So RPG is very transgressive in my mind, not something to be conservative about. So it seems there's already a big cultural difference with american players here.
French RPGs players around me were not discarded as being weak and disconnected, but more like more educated than average intriguing animals, potentially dangerous. The current roleplayer profile around me in 80s and 90s was a male listening alternative musics (mostly hard-rock/metal), interested in fantasy and science fiction media, reading BD and comics, often a drunkard, and often aggressively proud to be different.
A RPG wasn't a family game for most players I known until recently, with the the first players becoming parents and the geeks rising in power around the world with internet.
Now, you know how someone can be completly surprised when reading aggressive posts about defending concepts like tradition or comfort zones. These concept are totally against how I lived RPG in my little corner of the world in my youth. For me RPG is a fight in constant need of adaptation, progressive and never conservative in any way. In my head, "RPG" is one of the synonyms of "new".
I hope this gave you a better idea of my personal gaming culture.
Now, I want to read about yours !