ROTK changed my life!
my grandmother used to take us to those big traveling museum exhibits when i was a kid, often in memphis - one year, i was probably about 11 or 12, she took us to see an exhibit on Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire. i was amazed and became a huge Genghis Khan fan, and still am. this transferred to me wanting to read anything i could about the Khan, the mongols - and since there wasn't actually much for me to find, and since he did have a grandson who was a Chinese emperor, China got lumped into "Genghis Khan stuff" for me, and i also started to learn about China.
so then, I'm looking to rent video games - this is about 1991 or so, 6th or 7th grade - and i see RTK II for SNES, and look at the package, and think, "this looks like China/Mongolia battle empire stuff wow!", so i rent it. then i buy it. then i get the library to order me a copy of the book, once i somehow discover it's based on a BOOK (i think the manual probably said so), and i read it, along with a couple of other books on Chinese history that my grandmother gets for me. so then I'm hooked. i order for myself another copy of the book, a different translation (the one i still have today), which gets me wondering about why the names are all spelled differently every time (the first copy the names and places were all Wade-Giles, the second one was Pinyin), so I get curious about the language. so i start trying to learn chinese.
i go to college and graduate school, and it's only in graduate school that i start to meet actual chinese people for the first time, fellow graduate students. i make a point of going to meet the chinese students in my department, i tell them "I know the Three Kingdoms", and I show them that I can count and say some sentences, and of course they're very nice and impressed.
couple of years go by, then, a particular new chinese student arrives - same story, i introduce myself as the 3k aficionado, etc.etc.
long story short, 5 years later, and we're married. so, ROTK introduced me to my wife, go figure.