I was sitting down with my ever beautiful wife the other night and we started a discussion of what was more engaging. A video game, or a book. Each on their own they both are fairly engaging. For a book, if you really get into it, you invest the time to pour over pages of details on the characters, their settings, you learn about them in ways no other media can provide you with. A game, on the other hand, carries you into places visually that no book can do. It presents it's characters in a visual sense, with less dependency on your imagination, but in some games, need your imagination to help the story along. (My ever present favorite, Mass Effect 2, is a great example of this).
Steph has it fully decided that books are more engaging. Being a reader, I would assume she would feel this way. She says she feels a greater connection to the characters she reads about as opposed to the ones she plays. (Granted, she's a Mario player. If he were a real person he'd be in a special needs school. It'sa me... Mario. Sheesh) She feels that where a book allows you to read how someone is feeling, what they are thinking, even right down to how well they breath, then she feels she has that greater connection.
I personally feel that they are both the same, and just present information to the reader or player in different ways. Any game with a very deep story presents the information in a media rich sense. You see how a character reacts, you don't imagine it. You see what they do as you command them to do it. They interact right on screen with their peers, just the same as they would in a book, just you see it visually, instead of in your imagination. You are just as engaged with a game as you are with a book, just the senses used are different.
Part 2 tomorrow when I get a bit more time!