I think I kind of agree. Well, except for the semicolon bit because, really, some authors just know exactly where to place a semicolon to really get your bread broadly buttered, if you know what I mean.
I do remember a time when being good at playing the video games that I had was important to me. Interestingly, this view point corresponds to when I played a lot of games with my brother and friends. Once my brother stopped playing games with me, and my friends stopped all together, I noticed that I just had no drive to hit top scores or to perfect sequences or tactics or whatever. I don't feel any competitive need to prove myself to complete strangers on the internet, in general, especially when there's such a low chance of really getting noticed for it.
I guess that's when it started feeling less like "improvement" (although, hey, can always take advantage of better hand-eye coordination, especially as the years march on, haha) and more like "waste of time". And once I started playing video games exclusively for myself, I realized that I really wasn't into them for their gameplay from the beginning, anyway.
I never really liked saving cardboard princesses, or going from Point A to Point B just for the sake of moving really fast, or stacking blocks endlessly. They all seemed pretty small and boring. Heck! I remember my brother and I trying to make up stories for why everyone was getting together in Melee! (Something something, Link and Captain Falcon were best friends? and Ness was the true villain all along and Yoshi kept trying to move into Hyrule castle even though he obviously lived at Yoshi's Island but that had been recently flooded by Kirbys...?)
But now that there's a large onslaught of games that seemingly try to tackle bigger issues, like wars spanning across worlds, and... well, okay, I guess at a base level that explains a lot of the current games I like, haha; but still, it's where they start adding details that flesh things out, like: why you're there, why these characters are important, why the bad stuff happened, why this princess deserves to be saved, etc, etc. It just feels an awful lot like games have recently matured, and I suppose I've just matured along with them.
Although getting back to what you were initially talking about, I still feel as though the main reason I've lost interest in the gaming aspect of video games and appreciate the stories and characters more is because of the lack of friends to really compare and compete with. Especially since (while he doesn't play with me, sadness) my brother managed to keep some of his gaming friends and is still very much into the sake of being good at video games just so that he CAN be good at them.