It seems like you believe stories don’t matter in games. If this is true then, do you think they matter in films and books? If so then why do they matter there and not in games?
Does your favorite song have a great story? It might, but probably not. Does most of the music you listen to have nice stories, or even stories at all? Does most of the static visual artwork you enjoy tell a complete story? Does it tell any story? Many people consider cooking an art. I personally would consider it one, I’ll leave that up to you. Do great chefs tell a story with their meal?
Some of these mediums can support stories. Some of them can be bundled with stories as a hybrid medium. Does that necessarily make these mediums suited for storytelling? Is storytelling necessarily the most important part of every medium? Is it necessarily an important part at all for a given medium? Is it something a medium should be judged on?
The core of my philosophy is, “Gameplay is the most important thing in a game.” A lot of the rest is all the necessary ideas to make that core philosophy work and make sense; iteration off that core idea.
We’ve had a ton of games without stories that are considered universal classics. We’ve never had a film that lacked story but was a universal classic. Narrative is almost irrevocably tied to certain mediums and there’s no indication that games are one of them.
Of course the mediums of interactive software or simulations of space can support stories, possibly even good ones, it’s just games that are at odds with stories. Entertainment software lacking good stories is a lack of good authors, not a fault in the medium.
I don’t think a game should be judged for its story any more than for the quality of the visual symbols representing the game constructs (aka. the graphics, which some people (icyclams) will tell you are more important than the story and just as important as gameplay). I don’t think it makes sense to judge a song based on the content of the lyrics (not proposing we ignore the vocals or rhyme scheme, just the meaning). I don’t think it makes sense to judge a painting by anything other than its visual composition, coloring, rendering, construction of forms, and so on.
Many people offer a token, “of course gameplay is what’s most important.” I want to offer you the genuine thing and take that to the absolute limit. It’s a perspective that needs to exist.