This makes now even less sense. Why would the game be beloved because it's technologically "ancient"? In general, early 3D is the most despised period in video gaming from a technological point of view. OK, Morrowind got already rid of much of the worst aspects of stuff like in M&M VI-VIII, but anyway.
And I'm certain you are wrong. Some of these older games still hold up today. You can see that the developers put much more effort into actual gameplay than it's done in many modern games. (I guess we have a theme here: many modern games look nice but lack in the gameplay department). I have no problem playing the BG's today (ok, with BG1, I like a mod, but BG II is fine as is). It was also only last year that I played Arcanum for the first time. I never played it because it looked so drab, but some people urged me to try it because it's a good game, and they were right. I had an absolute blast. So no nostalgia glasses here.
Well, I guess my phrasing was somewhat off here. What I meant is that most games have stories that resemble bad soap operas, with lots of nonsensical setups. In Morrowind, there was lots to discover, it was interesting, and it made sense.