Why do we play? For me, it was born out of competition. There were the early days of head to head competition with Pong, seeing who could set the best time in Pole Position. Challenging a 'computer' began with Electronic Football on the handheld, and it grew from there.
What interests me now is the story, which is why I'm always looking for the next great campaign. The sense of adventure, immersion in a world that is well developed, and character arcs that are meaningful. Absurdity can be meaningful if done well (see Saints Row), and it has to be fun. That's where LA Noire broke for me--I intend to get back to it to finish, but it was interesting, not fun. The story must be engaging, and it must be mine to some extent. Why I play games parallels why I read (for entertainment)--what is the story, and what is it to me?