It was a simple image that really captured the core of the game. Go exploring, fight the monsters,
come home with the riches. When I was in the recruitment phase of gaming in college and explaining the game to those really unfamiliar with RPGs this image was the one that I would often show to potential games as I explained the game as a playing in an interactive story.
The real game changer for RPGs was the LOTR movies. That opened up the cool aspects of gaming and adventuring to the general public. For me, it was a wonderful time to pass on my love of the hobby to many other people. I still have not lead that many other people into hosting games as a GM, but many more know the joys of character creation, shared story telling, the fellowship & shenanigans of the gaming table, and talking about complete fictional events as if they were real.