Reading a book, watching a movie, playing a video game; I do these things because I am seeking engagement and involvement, of various colours, shapes and flavours. I am not desperately fleeing, screaming and wailing, from the unbearable horrors of my life (and I'm exaggerating here for the sake of making a point, of course). I am not necessarily looking to 'escape' as a means to avoid ever having to face up the responsibilities of maturity and the challenging complexities of modernity, but to better deal with them.
I'm a person; hence, my brain is in love with abstraction and artefaction. I'm looking to let my mind and body tumble in a bunch of fresh directions for a certain while, is all. To let my psyche and perceptions to become fully engrossed in something, for catharsis, variety, novelty, play: the thrill of the unexpected, or the lullaby or the predictable, or whatever. I do this many times a day, in many ways, and video games are just one example of it.
This isn't to say that all relationships that people forge with games are necessarily healthy, far from it. I'll never be an evangelist for games, and am glad of the fact. I know from my own bitter experiences that intimacy with abstraction is always ultimately an ambivalent thing, and it's exactly this tension that I find so compelling about the way that I relate to games.
Gaming should not be pathologised by default. I'm not suggesting that 'escapism' be replaced with 'returnism', but I that both should be considered in tandem. Returnism is certainly part of a stable relationship with games: Breathe in deeply, to breathe out deeply. The things you bring back with you are just as powerful and important as the things that drive you into that 'escape' in the first place. But, there never really seems to be much dialogue on this matter; as with so much, we focus on the objects rather than the relationships, so that what becomes common perception is only a fraction of any actual story that develops between people and games.