I have a similar gaming timeline, having played the first four Wizardry games on the Apple II platform, Sierra adventure games, etc. I don’t particularly care about game story these days either, which shocks me that I am saying that, but on reflection it might be due to the way that story presentation detracts from core gameplay.
In the case of the good early graphical adventure game, the core gameplay/mechanic WAS the control of a branching story presentation. There’s a tight feedback loop between your core gameplay elements (the point-and-click interface, movement) and what unfolds on the screen (story) to build the experience developing in your head (which is where the game experience lives). In non adventure games, you have more of a eye-hand coordination mechanic as the core game experience, and story provides supporting context so you understand that those fuzzy blobs of pixels are spaceships, tanks, princesses, etc.
I think that computer games (or interactive media in the broader sense) have a tremendous capacity for new forms of storytelling as literature, but this is a different form of storytelling than the kind that is needed for an eye-hand coordination game, where the focus is more on the enjoyment of meeting and overcoming the challenge. That’s not to say that story isn’t important, but it doesn’t have to provide more context than, “I’m the assassin! I sneak behind people and snuff 'em out!” or “I’m an F-14 pilot shooting down Russian jets” to anchor the experience. Good mechanics and a good-enough story (or maybe “plot” is a better term) will still allow a story to develop in one’s head.
However, that isn’t where a lot of game storytelling goes. There’s the aspiring filmmaker/writer version of storytelling that tends to be an injection of exposition, and oftentimes it gets in the way of the enjoyment of the core gameplay experience. If I’m playing a game about being a sniper, I want to be sniping. The story elements that matter to me are (1) how do I snipe better (2) what challenges will I face as a sniper and (3) what are the secondary actions I can take that support my sniping. Any story elements that support those key experiences will immerse me in the game IF AND ONLY IF there is an actual gameplay mechanic supported by each element. Otherwise, it is extraneous. If the control mechanics are also stupidly outside the core mechanics that let me snip and feel sniperness, then it’s an unpleasant distraction. The non-skippable cut scene, the impossibly-long JRPG text exposition, stuff like that drives me up the wall.
That’s not to say that story in games is bad, but I dislike the use of story as filler to extend a tired game mechanic, or as a separate experience that is not presented in context to the action, or uses a mechanic that really isn’t interactive or immersive. Stories can unfold by stumbling upon interesting sets in a 3D environment, or be told through snippets of story delivered just-in-time. The story I am talking about is the one that helps you understand the game environment, its rules, and your relation to it. If it can deliver interesting characters and plot, that’s a nice bonus.