Describing a Post-Apocalyptic RPG to a Non-Gamer

After one of Kotaku's editors explained why she's "let video games down" because she was unable to effectively convey the appeal of a game like Fallout 3 to her parents, some other guy felt it necessary to point out why it's the video game's fault and not the gamer. From the former:
"It's post-apocalyptic Washington," I told her. "It's really cool."

She scrunched her nose a little. "It doesn't look like Washington," she said. "It just looks like. I don't know what." She was unimpressed, and I was frustrated she was unimpressed. I was even more frustrated because, when I looked around at the wasteland, it didn't really look like Washington to me, either. I told her it's really just the beginning of the game and she'd get it in a minute, but inwardly I knew it'd be much more than "a minute" from that point until I'd reach a spot with recognizable landmarks. And when she asked me who I'm supposed to be, I don't really have a good answer besides "a guy."

And a bit from the latter:
But maybe Alexander has a point. Maybe it "isn't a generation gap either." I would partially agree and add, it isn't just a generation gap. Non-gamers are usually non-gamers for a reason, much like non-classical music listeners may not want to hear piano keys being pounced upon for minutes on end. Trying to explain the core concept of BioShock to a non-gamer could be just as difficult as explaining Chopin's relevance to classical music. It has taken years and plenty of hard working pianists to convince me that classical music isn't just a bunch of hoity-toity douche bags punching a keyboard and calling it beautiful. It will take years of refinement of the media and subsequent years of writing about said media, for a game of any genre to attract the average non-gamer's eye.

My parents have never even expected me to explain my passion for role-playing games. Even when I was very young and I'd ask my mother to order Tales of the Unknown: Volume I: The Bard's Tale from the J&R Music catalog for my birthday, she was simply happy to be buying something that I truly wanted and cared about. And back then, it also meant that I'd be using a computer and actually learning a thing or two in the process.